Sunday, 21 February 2010

It's okay, even better this way. That's what they'll tell you. That's what they'll say

Just down the Hill from Mille Collines - in what I think used to be the American club - the Royal Garden is knocking out a mix of Chinese and Indian food, and minestrone soup.

The main thrust of the menu is the sort of vaguely Indian cuisine served at Khazana, although with the addition a whole page of ever reliable egg curries on the menu.

A few years back there used to be an Indian Restaurant in Kigali called the Minar, and I wonder if the chef at Royal Garden used to work there. Like the Minar, Royal Garden's curries are quite rich and creamy, and very heavy on the ghee. Fresh herbs are in evidence, but these fail to make much an impression against the heavy sauces.

Tandoori roti's are OK, a little over-cooked around the edges, and rices fine. Our paneer sizzler is delayed, and arrives only after one of our table ("the Atilla the Hun of restaurant feedback") wrestles a waiter to the ground and sets about him with a tightly rolled chapathi. What arrives is kind of weird, and involves cabbage, chicken, and cheese.

But lo - the manager takes it off the bill, and demands feedback. OK then, here is my feedback:
Lighten up the food and tighten up the service. Skim off some of that ghee and have more faith in your spices and fresh herbs. Keep the breads moving quick in the tandoori - they need to come straight to the table before they start cooling and going hard. Tighten up on service - it is very friendly and polite but the wait on the sizzler dish was a bit silly.
And take the tinned soups off the menu.

It is Valentine's night, and the place is packed with people wearing red. Our table are the only wazungu present, so it is sort of the inverse of Khazana in that respect. I reckon that could be a very good thing indeed. Once the restaurant settles in a bit, I'd say the food might easily match up to Khazana (and no Khazana-style "morning after" problems were reported). So Royal Garden: good luck.

Royal Garden
Kiyovu, Opposite the Bank National of Rwanda
Tel:0788 500073


John T said...

Jiffler, if you haven't already spotted it (couldn't see a references in your restaurant guide), Mama Africa right down beside Cadillac is a nicely alternative and wonderously under-marketed place (e.g. no website last time I looked, and that was at least a month after I mentioned it to the staff).

It has a good length menu of Cameroonian-Senegalese food, at upper-mid level prices. It is new (3-4 months old), has a great open safari-lodge feel, has great clean bathrooms and an open kitchen (window onto all the culinary magic)...and, the 5-6 times I have been there, barely 10% of the seating taken.

The food is very good. Top favourite of everyone I've gone there with: Poulet D.G.. And the steak dishes are reliably good. Service is attentive and fairly enthusiastic (mind you - having no customers helps with that), despite the staff being sometimes a little distracted by the (muted) TV which seems to be there for their benefit only...

Worth a look. Apparently Eugene Cobra the musician owns it.

Disclosure: my sole interest in the place is to not see it go bust - it is good!unini

Jiffler said...

Thanks John - I'll take a look soon.

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