Friday, March 24, 2023

Culinary enchantment at Rhapsody’s Restaurant

What better way to kick off a stressful day and spice-up the evening than with good food accompanied with good service.

Rhapsody’s restaurant is an inviting set with rich, earthy colours and contemporary artwork adorning the walls and ceiling.

This dining spot is located at the exquisite Airport Junction Mall and is new in Gaborone but is already taking the city by storm.

Upon arrival, my dining companion and I were ushered in by the Door Lady and she took us to the bar area as the tables were fully booked. This gave us some time to taste some of their delectable cocktails. Food and wine pairing is a key focus at Rhapsody’s. You have the bar area, the indoor dining area and the outside dining area with outdoor patio heaters for winter.

It is all neat and the ceiling at the bar is decorated with disco ball lights that reflect blue lights behind bottles of liqueur on the wall. I was in a mood for something sweet with a bit of alcohol, enough to get me tipsy but not drunk, so I asked the bartender to surprise me. He brought me a mojito at P45 – mojito syrup, lime, new grove rum, served with a lot of ice and mint leaves.

The cocktail tasted great, a bit sweet and with a mint aroma. It made my throat dry though. You also had to finish it quickly because it was becoming weak as the ice melted.

My companion chose to go all sassy with an Amarula Pedro: vanilla ice cream and a shot of Amarula served in a wine glass with two straws trimmed to a quarter of the usual straw length to float on top of the creamy Pedro, making sucking the thing rather difficult as the twin straws kept falling below the glass rim.

But lo and behold! The wine can be expensive: P3, 200 is what you pay per bottle if you desire the delightful Dom Perignon; it cannot be bought per glass though. Else you have your Four Cousins for P108 per bottle or P36 per glass.

I got to chat with Chez Loots, the co-owner of the restaurant, who said Rhapsody’s is a restaurant that serves alcohol but is suitable for any person of any age, though those under 23 are not allowed to sit at the bar (it’s a temple but with alcohol).She said they now open at 11 am and do not serve breakfast due to minimal customers in the mornings.

Sitting by the bar area, one spots a large silver fountain at the entrance to the mint clean bathrooms for washing hands; at the pull of a little lever it spews out water in the sink. It also has a soap dispenser. Kids love this fountain; it’s their favourite spot in the restaurant, a waitress said.

Later, we were escorted to our table by a waiter and advised to call and reserve a table the next time we come so as to avoid waiting.

From the menu, we started with a mixed sushi platter for P62. It had three pieces of salmon roses, four salmon rainbow rolls served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. Colourful and aromatic it was, quite tasty – nothing like raw fish. What’s sushi without some Japanese wasabi though? The wasabi, green in colour, was a bit acerbic in taste and sends a burning sensation down your mouth and gets your eyes all watery as it smokes through your nostrils.

The sushi platter was quite filling but I still ordered Grilled sweet chilli salmon for my main course at P159 (salmon fillet served with creamy mashed potatoes and sweet chilli sauce. It can also be served with roasted vegetables). I suggested that you pair it with cap classique/champagne.

The mashed potatoes were luscious and tasted a bit like cream, the salmon fillet was delicious, and if you are looking for a fish that is not fishy, I will recommend this salmon fillet.

My companion tried the spinach mushroom rump at P145 (300g Rump steak, creamed spinach, black mushroom, garlic and gorgonzola leek sauce). The rump steak was well done but still rather hard to cut with a steak knife, and the cottage cheese tasted a little like it’s been spiced with ash.

Still, you have alternatives: if you’re in the chicken tradition they offer the Chicken Espetada at P79. Sounds fancy, yes, but it just is de-boned chicken thighs, spicy jalapenos, sweet chilli basting and garlic butter. It’s suggested you pair it with Chardonnay.

Fans of the Italian tradition of pasta will find an array of pasta, while those more on the sea food front will find more than just sushi.

A main dish goes with a complementary plate, which, in this case, was two small bread rolls with flora butter and a paste which the waiter explained they make themselves. It’s made from a blend of anchovies, sundried tomatoes, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We didn’t really like it – too oily, without aroma and a bit tasteless.

Online reviews from other people have been varied: “Everything (except the bread) was mouthwatering. I am a “foodie” and believe me this meal was superb”, “friendly staff nice decor and clean place always a pleasure to have such good quality food” and: “Been there 3 times of which twice we waited for our food for well over an hour and a half, the 3rd time the steak came in and was so tough we could not eat most of it at all. We were being rushed because they wanted to close shortly.” And that “the food wasn’t anything out of this world, it’s available in most restaurants in Gaborone so nothing special”.

This place is suitable for any formal occasion and it is also a favourite meeting spot for casual dining, sumptuous traditional afternoon tea or simply catching up with friends over cocktails.

Rating out of 10: 7


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