As soon as I saw that a new spot had opened up in the city, I knew I had to get there before Xara – a.k.a. the blogging baddie who pretty much owns 90% of restaurant & location reviews real estate in Blantyre (seriously, check out her awesome lifestyle blog if you haven’t).
Besides that, I definitely needed to get out of the house. If I ever claimed social distancing would be easy for me due to my inherent introversion, please forgive me for a being a liar. To escape my home, my friend and I decided to go on a gal date to Maybe Mars. I even dressed up (my version, at least).
Location and First Impressions
Located on Mandala Road, Blantyre, Maybe Mars is easy to find (it’s after CFAO but just before Serenity Lodge and in the same compound as Elixir Wine and Whiskey Bar).
Let’s start with the good things:
Maybe Mars gets an immediate plus for having such a great atmosphere and location.
The cafe itself is a quaint, minimal space whose decor finds a good balance between quirky and simplicity. I liked how uncluttered it looks and feels especially being a fairly small space.
The immediate seating area outside the cafe has a cool, easy going vibe that’s perfect for working away from home, coffee dates and all the things you already do at cafes lol. They’ve also got board games so if you’re like me and your friends are into competing until it strains the friendship, then you’ll love it there. I saw Scrabble and Monopoly but I think there are more.
There’s a seating area in front of the boutique next to Maybe Mars that I thought was pretty cool.
When we got there, we were immediately greeted by one of the polite wait staff. (We also bumped into our friend Diana, who can be seen in the videos below)
My friend ordered a bacon sandwich and cranberry juice while I ordered the hummus & veg platter as well as chicken wings and Peach Iced Tea.
Then we moved to the garden which is also a wonderful space with a pool (which wasn’t filled while we were there so I have no idea if swimming is a thing or become one at some point)
The furniture/decor was odd to me since it mixed different styles. See those green chairs? Are they even outside chairs? Doesn’t really matter because it worked for me and it didn’t come off as trying too hard to be quirky.
Now, here’s where things started to get a bit disappointing.
Although I found the staff polite and even friendly, I had to wait ages (30-45 minutes) waiting for my food. My friend’s wasn’t late so I watched her eat while squirming with hunger. Not great. I believed that a table should get all their food together since the whole point of going together is to dine together.
When my food did arrive, a million years later, there was a fly on my hummus as the waitress set the food down but she – not me – caught this mistake and quickly had it corrected (though I have to admit, I’m inherently suspicious that they probably sent over the same dish – the waitress returned pretty quickly).
My Friend’s bacon and cheese sandwich was, I’m told, delicious. 5 out of 5 stars, she said, and they didn’t skimp on the bacon as most places do. That’s definitely a plus in my books.
I loved my meal(s). I haven’t had hummus in ages (probably as long as since I came back to Malawi in 2014). I wasn’t disappointed at all. I felt like the portions were great and as you can see above, the presentation was outstanding. I really like that they don’t skimp on the food. The wings were also really good. I’m not certain there’s anything truly special there and I would have personally wanted a bigger burst of flavour, but I’m definitely not complaining. They were very tasty.
Suffice it to say, the wait was worth it.
Honestly, my feeling is that the lateness can be forgiven since its a brand new restaurant and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt during their first week running.
They have a good menu that has a nice mix of light snacks and proper meals that will satisfy whatever mood you’re in. The scenery and ambiance is wonderful and staff is polite and helpful. PS: I had a glimpse of the owner’s twitter and she definitely seems keen to improve upon her services so I definitely feel like my optimisim for Maybe Mars is justified.
My experience warrants a 2.8 based on the lateness of the food and the damned fly. (If I were going on food alone, I’d rate them a solid 4).
Maybe Mars is a cosy, cute and cool spot for friend dates, working lunches, a quiet spot to hustle away and a good place for group meets that could rival Kwa Haraba.