Chop Chop has always been an innovative and exciting option for Harare residents to enjoy great food, good service and a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere – whether for a quick breakfast, coffee and cake with a friend, a delicious lunch, or a night out with dinner and drinks from their cocktail bar. It’s always been family friendly too, with special options on the menu just for kids. Chop Chop is a local Zimbabwean-Israeli enterprise – Arplan Investments – that’s continuing to grow from strength to strength and diversify into new ventures.
The first branch was the Chop Chop Brazilian Steakhouse which was opened in Fife Avenue back in 2017 (see S&D issue 4) in an old colonialstyle house that had been sensitively converted and extended by Kirsten Marx from KRM Space Design. It was a first for Zimbabweans to experience the delights of Brazilian style cooking – and, of course, the type of coffee that Brazil is famous for.
With the first restaurant Marx established a type of design identity for Chop Chop which has been adapted and repeated in their other branches. It’s a kind of pared back, New York loft, industrial look, with a restrained palette of materials and often with exposed brick work and ducting and simple but comfortable seating options. Pops of bright exotic colours contrast with plain interiors and together with attention to the lighting plan, murals and unusual tile details the overall ambiance is relaxed and welcoming The Fife Avenue restaurant is loosely divided into different sections – the front part is more informal and ideal for a quick breakfast or a light lunch. Then there’s the more formal section for a relaxed sit down dinner with family and friends, and there’s a fully stocked bar for drinks and cocktails created by their trained mixologists.
Following on from the success of the Fife Avenue restaurant Chop Chop opened a smaller venue in Angwa Street in 2019 within the new Manhattan Interiors outlet. (See S&D issue 22) The new, more modest venue serves breakfasts and lunches (and takeaways) in the informal front section. The front part also has stools and tables set out on the pavement outside, much like European styled street cafes – something we’re not so used to in the CBD. Here Marx has echoed the industrial look with exposed brick work and fun custom made seating.
The new venue also has a more elegant and sophisticated section – further back within Manhattan Interiors – where diners can enjoy a more formal lunch. In addition there’s a special emphasis on teas and coffees and on cakes and pastries which are baked fresh in-house every day. It’s a totally unique venue in the bustling City centre.Now Chop Chop has embarked an even more exciting and ambitious venture.
They’re taking their distinctive brand of food and recreation to the Zindoga Shopping Centre in Waterfalls, just off Simon Mazarodze Road, only this time it’s on a much bigger scale. There’s their usual restaurant and bar, an entertainment section for live music and events, a Chop Chop Bottle Store liquor outlet, a Chop Chop Butchery and Superette and Chop Chop’s own in-house meat factory for processing and packaging their superior products. And all of this is contained within a single complex.
The choice of venue is unusual to say the least – Zindoga Shopping Centre is a bit rough and ready, adjoining the gritty industrial sites of Workington and Southerton and the residential suburbs of Houghton Park, Highfield and Waterfalls. It’s not exactly the area most people would consider for anupmarket restaurant and entertainment centre but that’s exactly why it’s destined to succeed! There’s no other venue like it in the area so residents have – up to now – been forced to travel long distances into town for a decent meal or a night out. On the weekends there’s live music for patrons who want to get down and enjoy themselves in a safe and relaxing environment. As its kid friendly, like all the Chop Chop venues, it’s a good place to treat the family for a Sunday lunch or a birthday celebration. They have frequent Family Fun Days to keep the kids entertained and well fed while the adults can enjoy their meals.
It’s also perfect for executives and managers from the industrial areas to meet for a business lunch, a company event, or to entertain visiting colleagues and associates. And the front section can be cordoned off from the restaurant for church groups, weddings and other private events. Chop Chop can supply special meal deals and catering for bigger functions.
The central part of the complex, where the restaurant and bar is situated, has been converted from the old Munavu Spar supermarket.Although Marx drew up the initial design concepts for the new venue she sadly left Zimbabwe before the project was completed, but many of her design themes from the other two Chop Chop outlets can be seen here. There’s an overall industrial look with some exposed brickwork, the high roof from the supermarket with exposed steel trusses and ducting and custom made tables and chairs, as well as upholstered banquettes for more intimate seating. Tables and chairs and much of the shopfitting were supplied by Bervich, steel manufacturers and furniture makers, who have worked with Marx on previous projects including the two earlier Chop Chop venues and the Hungry Panda and Grill Shack. (Hungry Panda and Grill Shack appeared in S&D issue 18). There’s the same open plan kitchen and grill as the other two Chop Chop venues, as well as the usual custom built pizza oven.
There are also decorative painted murals by local artist Chengetai who also did work for the other two outlets. The hanging lampshades in the restaurant and the function area are from a woman’s basket weaving co-operative in Honde Valley in line with Marx’s fondness for supporting local rural arts and crafts.The bar section is similar to the bar at Fife Avenue with overhead racks for glasses and great, atmospheric lighting. Between the main restaurant and the function space there’s a VIP lounge set up on the first floor. Here patrons can enjoy their meals in relative privacy but still with a view of the entertainment area and the stage. There’s also a balcony/gallery that runs from inside to the outside overlooking the entrance so patrons can enjoy a breath of fresh air.
The large front entertainment section, built by Grid Transmission in a kind of industrial warehouse style, is open to the restaurant and bar, but it can be completely cordoned off for special events and it has its own entrance and exit gates. There’s a raised stage for performers at the end furthest from the restaurant and along one side there’s a dedicated bar for revellers set up in an industrial shipping container. The whole space is reminiscent of the old Book Café situated along Samora Machel Avenue.At the back of the complex is Chop Chop’s cold rooms and their meat processing department. Chop Chop buys their meat directly from the best abattoirs in Zimbabwe and they hang their meat before serving it in the restaurant to ensure diners get the tastiest and most tender steaks. They also cut and pack meat for their butchery and they manufacture their own brand of pastramis and salamis.
They whole complex – including the parking area – is totally safe and secure with guards patrolling full time and 32 CCTV cameras both inside and outside. When not restricted by the lockdown regulations Chop Chop Zindoga is open 7 days a week – during the week it usually closes when the last diner leaves and on weekends it’s open until around midnight. Chop Chop Zindoga opened in May this year and looks destined to become the prime venue for food and fun western suburbs.
Visit: Chop Chop, Tait Crescent, Zindoga
(off Simon Mazarodze Road), Waterfalls
Call: 0771 185 196