The Polana Serena, Maputo’s grande dame of hotels, is class and elegance personified, and its fine dining restaurant, Delagoa, offers the city’s most refined eating experience — with the price tag to match.
This is not the place for a casual bite to eat – the restaurant requires formal attire, asking men to wear suit jackets. Harking back to the Polana’s heyday in the 1920s and 30s, Delagoa features live piano music from Thursday to Saturday, bygone-era décor with dark thick carpets, heavy furniture and green Art Deco-inspired wallpaper that could do with a touch of contemporary style. If the weather’s warm, opt instead for the less starched semi-enclosed balcony area, which looks out onto the Polana’s manicured gardens and the Indian Ocean.
In terms of food, Delagoa comes with a prestigious pedigree – its chefs have been coached by two Michelin star French chef Edouard Loubat. As such, the menu is expectedly high-class gourmet, with a focus on French cuisine. Seafood is the highlight here – from barracuda with cabbage and cumin, lobster tail in a pumpkin veloute to crab ravioli with black truffle sauce. Mozambican ingredients make their way into dishes such as flambéed crab with cashew nuts in a crab bisque (a personal highlight), which is light as air and full of flavour – a level above your ordinary seafood dish, and caramelized pineapple mousse.
Delagoa is eye-wateringly expensive, even by Maputo’s standards, so it’s understandably mainly frequented by business people (spot the VIP ones heading into the private dining room) on company expense accounts.