Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Good Chips / Bad Chips

Restaurant Emeraude (Emerald Restaurant), Boulevard de l’Umuganda, behind FAO and UNHCR.
Being so close to the FAO offices they do a brisk lunchtime trade here. Staff seem ultra-friendly and helpful and there is a sense of pride in the establishment. A well priced menu is mostly the usual Franco-International stuff, but has one or two surprises from what looks like a Javanese cookbook, along with healthier options. Ignore the healthy stuff though - the chips are thick cut and full of flavour.

Recommendations:
  • Friendly atmosphere and swift service
  • Good chips, acceptable fish
  • Plenty of parking space
  • Buffet lunch during the week
Avoid:
  • The chicken is like chewing an old slightly singed rope,

Passadena, Gikondo Nyenyeri
Done up like some sort of log cabin saloon, this out of the way venue has a funny sort of appeal. Its the kind of place where you might find someone miming to Celine Dion on stage, or doing bad breakdancing. For a real laugh roll up on Thursday night to check out the salsa classes. The last time I went the students enjoyed themselves oblivious to the bad jokes of their over-earnest British teacher. Like an awkward English sitcom. It might even be fun to join in...

Recommended:
  • Come for the weird entertainment, not the food.
Avoid:
  • Its a bit out of the way, hard to find a taxi or a moto home at night
  • Crinkle cut oven chips. Oh dear.
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A request for info:
Does anyone know the name of the hotel/bar/grill place on the airport road, on the hill opposite the Texaco garage? They do decent brochettes, but I've lost my notes.

Monday, 29 September 2008

As featured on the Guardian website!

Marvellous news this morning. An article on the Guardian food website included a link to Kigali Restaurant Reviews. One of my favourite food writers, Jay Rayner, included the link in his blog-article about ethnically incongruous restaurants.

My hit counter has gone through the roof! Hopefully this means the blog will reach a wider audience than the current ex-pat crowd, and perhaps help to encourage a few people to visit Rwanda, see for themselves, and spend a few quid.

Its been a good week for publicity. A few days ago I discovered that a link to KRR had been included in Kigali's 'Loose lips' newsletter. 'Loose Lips' has the makings of a good listings and classifieds magazine for Kigali. You can subscribe to the electronic mailing list by writing to: Kigalinewsletter@gmail.com

A few more reviews coming soon, and I'm hearing good things about 'Torrero' and a new Turkish place opening up. Meanwhile, have a look at my other site: experimental jifflings for some foodie notes from my recent trip to Asia.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Another two:

Two more reviews, and I'm not even in Kigali. Magic.

Le Banjo, Remera, on the road to the stadium
Some sort of safari saloon vibes going on here, but the welcome is friendly. Rwandese and East African menu, and there is a popular buffet at lunchtime.

Recommended:
  • Lunchtime buffet (carbs, carbs, beans and carbs) is good value at RwF1,500
  • Decent range of snacks - omelettes and so on.
Avoid:
  • Its not the most inspiring place. Alright for a quick lunchtime pit-stop.
  • The boulettes. Dense.

Freddy's Horizon Garden Restaurant, Kiyovu
Tucked just underneath Heaven, this place has a massive projector screen upon which they are promising to show films. Its a nice little spot to watch olympic gymnastics while partaking of a Mutzig pression or three. Buffet at lunchtime, slightly below-par snacks and brochettes in the evening.

Recommended:
  • It might be good for films, if they get the films right. Please: nothing starring Nicholas Cage.
  • Cheap. Cheerful
Avoid:
  • The goat brochettes have an unusual sweet marinade, but are as tough as tyres. Trying to extract a piece of meat with my fork resulted in it flying some eight feet across the patio, nearly striking a Dutch researcher
  • If you're on a date. Nobody looks good under UV lighting

Saturday, 13 September 2008

KIGALI KRAWL

Did you see what I did there?

Its the final weekend in Kigali. It could very well be the last weekend ever in Kigali. Why do I sense that this isn't over though? The sense that I'll be back here in the new year getting my back slapped by the waiters in Chez Lando.

So a pub crawl is in order. The Kigali Krawl. A gaggle of us, consultants, Australians, and other heavy drinkers. One day we'll publish an official route guide to the Kigali Krawl, they'll sell it in the ORPTN office at a hugely inflated price to amorphously-shaped American tourists. Grown men wearing baseball caps. Supposedly the most advanced nation on earth.

The Kigali Krawl

(Based on field notes, and inspired by the cheap wine lady)

Karibu
The Kigali Krawl Kicks off at Karibu.

Yes.

Every taxi driver, moto-rider, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, knows where Karibu is. An ideal, low key, place to start a krawl through town.

The waiter brings hot nuts. Good thinking Mr Waiter.

We're lingering a bit, need to get the momentum up.

Belvedere
Last time I was in here they were showing the A-Team dubbed into French: "Je plains l'imb├ęcile". There are middle class eaters comprised mostly of tall women with a haughty camelid demeanour and men in bad suits. They stare disapprovingly at our noisy group. We eat our bad food and toddle off.

The voices in my head are singing:
You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can't remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,la,la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,la,la

Don't know why. Good song though.

Fine Dine.
Packed with Anglophile Rwandese. They don't stare, but the wazungu in the corner do. Architecturally it has a post-colonial Asmara coffee shop vibe. I haven't been to Asmara. Thats the vibe though. I like it. There is a band. LIVE MUSIC WITH REAL LIVE MUSICIANS PLAYING AND SINGING AND PEOPLE SMILING AND DANCING. In Kigali. Thats not right. Has this been sanctioned by the correct authorities? I'll come here again next week. Ah. Too late.

Passion
Skip the Mille Collines, lets shoot some pool. Two shots to you. Two shots to you. Two shots to you. One shot on the black.

Nice potato wedges. I should've eaten more.

Informers make the smokers go outside. Funny. It doesn't seem like the sort of place that informers would drink.

Torrero
New. Look at this. Coffee tables, illegal gay waiters, and copies of wallpaper* magazine scattered around. We could be in New York.

US troops? what are they doing here? Stop staring at us. No, sorry, stop staring at the girls.

This is a Krawl - coffee is for cheats!

Those two South African idiots again. Lets move on.

Carwash.
Yeah.
Wot no ribs. Bring on the pork and chips. And more beer. Here's Boniface. Forgot to call him, but he found us anyway. Good.

Pork and chips. Drunkeness, perhaps if I just keep talking no one will notice I'm drunk

Lets walk to One Love. Who is this guy following us. Does he know kung fu?

"Do you know Kung Fu?"

"Eh?"

"Do you know Kung Fu?"

"Eh?"

One Love / Orion
Orion: No, rubbish.
One Love: Yes, good.
Open air reggae dancing. I am the only one dancing. Coca-cola to keep me sober.

"Do you know Kung fu?"

Taxi. Hotel. Bed.