It’s true what they say, everything looks better from the top. I thought this to myself as I sat down for a meal at the Garden Grille, the restaurant situated at Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel restaurant has three seating areas, two of them inside. However, I opted for the outside seating on their rooftop overlooking the outdoor swimming pool and the iconic Cairo Road. The rooftop seating provides a 180-degree view of Lusaka city and the calming blue waters of Hilton’s swimming pool, cultivating a relaxed and cosy vibe that made me stay late into the afternoon with a glass of wine in hand. Even though you’re in the middle of the bustling CBD, you can easily forget this, as the restaurant ambience is so tranquil.
During my meal, I learnt about the Hilton Big Five, a wine menu to support conservation and drive sustainable travel and tourism in Africa. Proceeds from selling several wines at the Garden Grille support the preservation of our natural habitats in Africa.
Kudzayi Nheweyembwa, Hilton Garden Inn general manager, shared, “The conservation wine list initiative started in 2021, and several wines on our wine list support a good cause. For example, proceeds from the Painted Wolf support the protection of the wolves (better known as the African wild dog).”
The producers of the wines on the conservation wine list are committed to making a positive impact. They support local community development initiatives and avoid farming practices that harm the environment. Kudzayi explained, “The Hilton Garden Inn hotel, through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) wing, annually channels its wine proceeds to identified schools lacking access to water, drilling a borehole, and providing them with clean and consistent water supply.”
Knowing that my wine choices were not just a momentary pleasure but also going towards a greater cause, I was ready to tuck in.
As an appetiser, Chef Mluleki recommended the honey-glazed Asian beef teriyaki. The thinly cut beef strips were tender and juicy. The wasabi mayonnaise was artfully spread on the plate, accompanied by vegetables, red peppers, bread, toasted sesame seeds and parmesan cheese. The teriyaki dressing complimented the beef exceptionally well, bringing the flavours to my palette. The freshness of the lettuce and baby marrow balanced the beef well. The meal was paired with a glass of Spier savanha sun merlot. Its plum and raspberry notes were a good match with the beef.
As an entrée, I ordered the grilled butterfly bream with vegetable rice, lemon sauce, and tomato gravy. The bream, sourced locally from Lake Kariba, is marinated in lemon and herb seasoning and served with baby marrow, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, and cucumber. Chef Mluleki added, “The hotel takes great pride in sourcing its fish from certified sustainable suppliers.” The bream was paired with a crisp glass of Spier savanna sun chardonnay. The fruity and citrus taste complimented the lemon and herby freshness of the fish.
As a sweet course, I had one of the restaurant’s best-selling desserts, malva pudding, which was pleasing to the eye and soft and spongy. It was layered on custard and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberry sauce. I’m generally not big on desserts, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my final course. The malva pudding was paired with a glass of painted wolf the den pinotage, whose spicy and fruity taste balanced the sweetness of the dessert.
The Garden Grille restaurant is located at Hilton Garden Inn, in the heart of Lusaka’s central business district along Cairo Road in the recently built Society Business Park. Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is 25 kilometers away and can be accessed in 40 minutes without traffic.
Society Business Park, which houses the Hilton Garden hotel, provides several floors of secure parking for free. The parking is accessed through an automated system.
The Hilton Travel with Purpose initiative is committed to ensuring its operations meet global best practices in sustainable travel and tourism. These practices include a water stewardship strategy through the light stay, recycling plastic materials, reducing water and food waste within the company’s operations and supply chain, and cutting their environmental footprint by half.
In addition, proceeds from the Hilton Big Five wine menu go towards conservation efforts.
Images by Tokozile N. Ngwenya and Hilton Garden Inn