Café Nush at Village Walk Borrowdale

THE fabulous Café Nush is situated just below the North tower of the Village Walk Mall. It’s the sister cafe of the iconic Cafe Nush in Avondale – the trendiest place for people watching and to see and be seen. Like the Avondale Nush the Village Walk branch is perfect for socialising and enjoying great food in a cool, relaxed atmosphere. It’s the ideal place to meet up with friends for a coffee and a decadent slice of cake – or a fresh juice for the more health conscious. There’s a range of pizzas and light meals, as well as a more substantial menu for supper, and its family friendly too with a selection for kids.

The kitchen and the pizza oven are visible from the restaurant so you can watch your food being expertly prepared. It’s the brain child of the very talented Abed Khalatbari who has extensive experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Abed has designed a number of residential projects in Cape Town, before designing Cafe Nush Avondale and later expanding its pizzeria, Sandalwood Lodge (especially the interiors) hand to hand with local designer Celso Ribeiro and Cafe Nush at the Village Walk. Mirko Tucakov is a locally based >architect, trained in Venice, who helped Khalatbari to make his design ideas take on a concrete form. Tucakov says, “The collaboration between us was a fun and exciting one. His confident belief in the vision of the new branch helped me model his ideas into a reality.”

Some ideas were carried over from the Avondale branch and further developed and adapted for the Village Walk cafe. There’s a kind of edgy, urban, industrial chic look that is common to both cafes, using straight forward materials like steel and wood and keeping fussy design details to a minimum. At Village Walk structural steel columns, which are an integral part of the way the mall itself is built, help to define the facade. In the interior of the cafe the steel beams have been clad in ebonised timber which makes the rough steel feel a bit warmer, though still strong. The rest of the exterior look is made up of glass set in black aluminium frames which form windows or stacking folding doors, as well as a series of blinds – clear plastic on the two sides facing onto the pavement with additional sun blinds on the west side.

These almost transparent exterior walls give diners a sense of being connected to the outside while still being contained within a small piazza or square. It’s a very European look reminiscent of street cafes across the Continent which often extend out to the pavement. The abundance of natural light also helps to keep the interior feeling less formal, unlike older, more traditional restaurants which tend to be rather gloomy and stuffy. The interior is mostly open plan but subtly divided into four distinct areas each with a different ambiance. There’s the forecourt, the raised deck, the raised balcony, and the verandah area on the west side.

The forecourt is on the same level as the outside walkway and although it’s quite busy with the staff moving around the seating tends to feel more intimate than the other areas. The forecourt has glass fronted display cabinets full of mouth-watering cakes and delicacies, and it’s also the closest to the pizza oven, the coffee corner and the open kitchen visible beyond. The counter between the forecourt and the kitchen is clad in vertical pale wood strips which add a touch of warmth and softness. There’s a small bar counter with simple steel and wood stools on the west side which separates the forecourt from the pavement or verandah area.

The floor is made up of pale terracotta-coloured ceramic tiles and industrial light fittings hang overhead. Above the counter big black metal half spheres form the lampshades and small unobtrusive spot lights illuminate the menu boards, while above the seating area hangs an industrial looking fitting with exposed cables and uncovered Edison type bulbs. The floor of the verandah section is an extension of the pavements in the mall complex and simple small downlighters are set into the concrete slab ceiling. This section has the most informal furniture with small tables and polypropylene italian outdoor furniture.

The raised balcony floor of composite wooden decking and the clear plastic blinds make this section feel the most closely connected to the outside. A sturdy brushed steel banister separates the interior from the exterior making the balcony feel more secure, while still relating to the contemporary design of the complex. The heart of the cafe is the raised central deck which is perfect for people watching. Wooden laminate strip floors and wooden furniture in a simple Danish style make this the section with the warmest, softest look. Simple banisters of teak uprights with steel cables between them define this area and give an almost nautical impression. Rough pine beams form a grid overhead just below concrete slab ceiling. This is a clever solution which conceals air-conditioning ducting and wiring without making the ceiling feel too low. To get every detail just right developing the design took almost as long as the construction process. The result is a stylish, ultra-modern appearance that successfully combines a number of different materials and textures into a coherent, welcoming, trendy look.

What makes Belgian chocolate unique, is the quality of the ingredients and an almost fanatical adherence to ‘Old World’ manufacturing techniques. Even in today’s world of automation and mass production, Veldemeers chocolates are still made by hand using original equipment from our factory at Doon Estate in Msasa. Our chocolates are made from pure, imported Belgian chocolate, and fresh local ingredients, and do not contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives. The Veldemeers chocolate range includes a wide variety of milk, dark and white filled Belgian pralines, and you can select your favourites from the chocolates on display in our air-conditioned shops.

We also produce a range of sugar-free chocolates for diabetics and Banters. Different sized boxes are available to be filled with your selection, and our well-trained staff then finish off your box with a ribbon of your choice and a quality guarantee label. Our chocolates are very popular with hotels and lodges across Zimbabwe. Veldemeers has been the chocolate supplier to The Victoria Falls Hotel and several other upmarket venues for more than a decade. We also offer personalised chocolates perfect for corporate gifts, wedding favours and parties/functions. In addition to our fine Belgian chocolates, Veldemeers also specialises in the production of authentic continental pastries, cakes & specialty breads. Every morning our shops are stocked with fresh baked croissants, pain au chocolat, cakes and other bakery items.

We can also supply coffee shops, restaurants, B&B’s and home bakers with frozen, unbaked all-butter croissants which can be baked on your premises for the ultimate fresh croissant comparable to that of a Parisienne cafe. We pride ourselves on offering a personalised service. Very little is pre-packed so you can drop in, look around, have a taste, make your selection and let the staff guide you through our chocolate paradise. Chocolates, pastries, breads and other bakery items are sold through our outlets at Arundel Village in Mount Pleasant, Sam Levy’s Village and Village Walk in Borrowdale. Our factory in Doon Estate also stocks the full range of products, plus has a small coffee shop selling fresh coffees, croissants, breads, pastries and sandwiches.

Doon Estate, Msasa: 0242 486 169 Arundel Village: 04 301 989 Sam Levy’s Village: 04 850 393 Village Walk: 042 850 063

text: Michael Nott

photography: Michele Fortmann

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