Harambe Market: Chef Mwanga’s Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs

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We’re going to have a three-part review series covering the newly-opened Harambe Market. This first part is going to talk about the overall area, as well as Chef Mwanga’s Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs. We first knew the area would be opening at the end of May last month.

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I’m not going to get too formal with this. In fact, I’ll probably come off as being pretty blunt. The new space is well themed and flows with the rest of Harambe. Once you enter the space, Wanjohi Refreshments is immediately to your right. Following suit are Kitamu Grill and Famous Sausages. All the way at the back is Chef Mwanga’s.

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If you want the Spiced-rubbed Karubi Ribs, the building is its own entity and line. Matt and I started out waiting together here, but after several minutes of the line merely inching forward, we decided to divide and conquer.

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Kitamu Grill and Famous Sausages share a kitchen, so if you want items from either of these restaurants, hop into whichever line is shorter. The cast member reiterated the fact that you could order from these two menus on either side to guests, but they didn’t want to listen and thought they could also get the ribs. No. This is not the case.

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As you can see in one of the pictures above, the only station that didn’t have a line was Wanjohi Refreshments. I saw one person that ordered the $17.25 “Starr of Harambe.” They could have gotten an actual glass at Trader Sam’s for less. Also note that you can get Sparberry and Bibo DJ Kiwi Mango soda at all of these windows. Sparberry is from Zimbabwe and is a raspberry flavored cream soda launched in 1955. It is exclusively available in several countries in southeast Africa. Or Club Cool at Epcot. Bibo is a fruit flavored line of juice drinks popular in South Africa. The brand features characters such as Johnny Orange, Taka Strawberry and Paolo Peach. I had to dump this one out at Club Cool due to an unpleasant aftertaste.

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And oh, those lines. They do NOT move. I’m fairly confident it’s the longest I’ve ever waited for a quick service meal, and most of it in the sun. Matt and I kept in touch via text, and he got his food first. I was still about halfway through my line when this occurred. Then, the wait for him to find a table. It was another FIFTEEN minutes before a family took notice and let him know they were leaving so he could have their table, which was about the time I was just ordering. This whole time his food getting cold, his beverages getting warm, and his arms getting tired. There were so many guests without food holding tables, and NOBODY would share. At one point, he just set the tray down on a trash bin, but then someone started playing twenty questions about his food, so he went back to walking around.

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Oh yeah – we write about food here. So Matt ordered the Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs, which is topped with a Green Papaya-Carrot Slaw and served with a Chickpea, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad. Chef DeGeorge noted that this rib is “our version of the giant turkey legs served in the Disney theme parks.” On size, that is very true, but this is not something that is close to being portable.

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For the price, you certainly get a lot of meat. This could be a very substantial meal for one, but could easily feed two. Unfortunately for us, it really wasn’t hitting the spot. It was okay, but we didn’t get very far with it. The rub had a nice flavor, but didn’t really permeate the meat, which was on the verge of being too dry. That’s not to say that it’s not worth ordering again, but we ended up with another dish (which we’ll review shortly) that we enjoyed more. The slaw on top was okay as well, but didn’t seem to be the right pairing.

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The Chickpea, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad was underwhelming. As you can see, the tomatoes alone weren’t very vibrant. While it appears seasoned, the flavor didn’t really come out. It was really just a bland cup of vegetables and chickpeas that didn’t get more than a few bites taken.

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As I mentioned, we’ll review other items from the new Harambe Market over the next couple of days, but I felt it was important to get some of the overall experience information out there. While none of the food we ordered was necessarily bad, the wait time for food followed by the wait time to get a table did not justify it. I would have been just as happy – if not happier – with Samosas or Falafel just a few steps away. Hopefully, as the kitchens get into more of a rhythm, the lines won’t be so bad. And perhaps faster lines might affect table turnover. As of right now, I’m in no rush to go back.

Have you stopped by the new Harambe Market? What did you order? How was your experience?

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4 responses to “Harambe Market: Chef Mwanga’s Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs

  1. I like how you keep it real around here. An excellent, honest review. (Excited to hear about the curry sausage!)

  2. The time it took to order and receive food was ridiculous. Pair that with the heat and humidity, and the guest experience greatly suffers. And we’re not even in the worst of that heat and humidity! Either things need to speed up or they need to add more umbrellas and fans to those lines. One thing I didn’t mention was one of the guests ordering ahead of me had like 50 questions for the CM. All that was running through my mind (apart from screams) was, “YOU’VE BEEN STANDING HERE FOR A GOOD 30 MINUTES AND YOU DIDN’T THINK TO ASK THE CM THAT WAS WALKING AROUND CHECKING WITH GUESTS TO SEE IF THEY HAD ANY QUESTIONS OR I DON’T KNOW, GOOGLE WHAT SPARBERRY AND BIBO ARE?!”

  3. OMG! What a disappointment! Shame on Disney for not having their act together! You would think that they would have figured that out by now!!! Hopefully issues will be addressed and service in that area will improve!
    The ribs do NOT look good… I’ll be skipping those for sure! Like Jenn, I am looking forward to hearing about the curry corn dog!
    And $17+ for that drink/cup?? No, thanks!

  4. Any new restaurant is going to have growing pains when it first opens – I completely understand that. But this was above and beyond a normal “slow pace.” The menus are not that extensive that they shouldn’t be more streamlined. Time will tell, but I’m glad I ordered what I wanted to on this one visit so I don’t have to chance being subjected to the wait again. 🙂