Monday, 25 August 2008

It's a small town

I've been continuing my quest to see what the man on the street thinks about eating out in Kigali, and stumbled across an interesting little coincidence...

Check out the reviews of the Heaven Restaurant in Kigali on Tripadvisor.

Lots of positive reviews. I concur - its a good place to eat. Now look a little closer:
  • Note the language used. Each of the reviews reads like a press release.
  • Check out the reviewer profiles. 4 out of 5 joined within a couple of days of each other, and immediately gave Heaven glowing reviews. They haven't reviewed any other places.
  • Where are the reviewers located? NYC, Boston, San Francisco... Next time you go into Heaven, ask the owners for a little potted history.
  • Google the names of the reviewers with the names of the owners. Hello there!
What an extraordinary coincidence.

Mixed but mostly very positive reviews of Heaven have already appeared on Kigali Restaurant Reviews and Jifflings. The reviews still stand (its still a great place to eat), but they are not due to another extraordinary coincidence.

By the nature of my eating habits, I have developed good relationships with restaurant owners and staff in Kigali and elsewhere, and yes - I sometimes get special treatment at some places due to my repeat custom, and maybe even because of this blog. However, the reviews are always impartial and not driven by any special service or favours I receive.

News of the best places always comes from genuine reviews and, more importantly, genuine word of mouth.


Linda said...

Hey just back from Gatsibo and saw you'd responded to my comment! I brought my peanut butter back to the states unopened which is a good sign.... though I think the best food/drink discovery of the trip was the Ugandan Waragi + agasha (?) (maracuja juice) combo.

The work was great. Rwanda too -one of the best places I've been, and I've been to a lot of places. Gatsibo was fine, we stayed in a hotel in Kiramuruzi which was OK once we got them used to feeding 12 people on an early morning schedule. I had my french press with me so only had to ask for boiling water for some coffee. Most mornings were egg bread and african tea. Lunches were made by a local woman in the 'muslim' district -- lots of starch! Manioc, plantains, rice, chips and meat. But I grew to look forward to it. Dinner was more of the same but I didn't get sick and that is the most important, right?

Hope you enjoy Ninzi Hill if you end up there! Can't really give you any Eastern Province reviews except for the Kiramuruzi hotel and Jambo Beach (decent rice /veggies /chips).... but again, the best was the waragi and the company!

take care,

Anonymous said...

amen! i thought the exact same thing about heaven's entries, and for that matter who advertises their restaurant based on websites that collect anonymous reviews.

kinda lame (and transparent)