The Sunday Mail
CHEZ Zandi Bistro & Wine Bar might not be a familiar name to many, but this eatery has slowly claimed its place on the capital’s restaurant hierarchy.
The four-year-old establishment, which is located at Alliance Francaise, has become the ultimate spot for people that prefer having their food and drinks in a laid back, cosy garden atmosphere. With an array of cuisines to choose from and excellent service from the friendly staff, it is no surprise that this place has been gaining popularity by the day.
While entertainment might not be its forte, it is definitely the other reason why the joint has become more appealing. Chez Zandi has simply become the home of Jazz music as it plays host to “Back2Jazzics”, a weekly event that is presented by the Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust.
The event, which has been held every Sunday at the venue for the past two years is playing a significant role in keeping the local jazz culture alive. Over 50 acts including Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Tanga wekwa Sando, Vee Mukarati, Rute, Buhle, Alexio Kawara, Bob Nyabinde, Mbare Trio, Raven, Masa and Hope Masike to name a few, have graced this stage.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Society Chez Zandi owner, Zandile Mubi, said their Sundays had grown in popularity because of the jazz event.
“Fridays and Saturdays have always been popular days but the ‘Back2Jazziacs’ event has definitely given life to our Sundays. We have been doing this for about two-and-a-half years now and while it took time to pick up, the numbers have grown significantly. During the first days we had to push really hard to market the gigs, with the artistes sending out flyers to their fans but now people know that there is Jazz here every Sunday so it has become easier,” said Mubi.
While the initiative took shape at Theatre in the Park, it is at the current venue that it has blossomed into a success story.
“The Jazz event used to be held at Theatre in the Park but then there was a time when it was being closed for renovations or something and that is when Tinashe Mukarati came and asked if they could use this venue and I agreed. The Zimbabwe Jazz Community is the one that chooses the bands that play here every Sunday.”
Mubi shed more light on the joint, highlighting that at first she had wanted to focus on live shows but later decided to focus on the food aspect.
“I wanted it to be a home for artistes but we ended up cutting back on that aspect drastically after considering that we are in a residential area and did not want to constantly disturb our neighbours.
“Being a bistro and wine bar we try to focus more on food considering that I am a chef by profession. We focus on three different types of cuisines that is traditional, western and French food. A lot of people choose this place because you can come as a whole group and anyone can choose whatever cuisine they fancy since we have a wide variety.”
The inspiration to open her own restaurant came from her parents who have been in the hospitality industry for years.
“My mom owns Londoners, so I was working there helping out before I went to university. The family has been in the hospitality industry for years having run places like Londoners, Circus, Croc Croc in Vic Falls and Cape to Cairo in Bulawayo.
“I have a passion for cooking so I decided to go and study that in Australia and when I came back I started a catering company called Zandi Loves Food while I was trying to get this place. When I finally landed this joint, it was a bit difficult to get the name out there but today I am proud to say we have managed to significantly grow our clientele.”