Tuesday, 16 March 2010

'Cause, this is where the one who knows / Meets the one who does not care

Located behind the Union Trade Centre, Blues Cafe is a knock off of Bourbon Cafe only with a much lower population density of 21 year old white girls.

Oh yeah - that reminds me - have a look at this if you fancy a giggle.

Blues Cafe seems like a good spot to grab something quick on a Sunday afternoon. The menu is again familiar from Bourbon Cafe, with addition of a few burgers, and one of my favourite guilty pleasures - the Rolex (an omelette rolled up inside a chapathi. It was the clandestine consumption of these during extensive fieldwork in Kenya in the late 90's that kept me from strangling several of my colleagues and throwing them into the latrine. Anyhow, we'll leave that for the memoirs).

Eschewing the Rolex I opt for a Tramezzini, more to annoy myself than anything because:
a/ Tramezzini is the plural. How annoying. Not as annoying as 'Expresso', but getting there
b/ Tramezzino basically means 'sandwich' in Italian. It's a club sandwich for god's sake. Sure enough a pizza is a pizza and pasta is pasta, but a sandwich is a sandwich in English. You wouldn't order fagioli su pane tostato oustide of Italy. Actually you wouldn't order it inside Italy either. Can you imagine the mess they'd make of it there? There would be all manner of garlic and parmesan nonsense.

My companion, The Philosopher orders a chicken burger. We order large glasses of slightly sweetened fresh fruit cocktail, and settle in for a discussion of Kenyan constitutional reform. Settle in for an hour and fifteen minutes before we see our food. Add to this another 5 minutes for knives and forks to arrive, the request for which proves difficult to understand, despite being made clearly and slowly in six different languages (not Italian though maybe that's the problem).

So the tramezzino is alright. Chicken pieces are slightly curried and covered in a sort of pink approximation of marie-rose sauce (Yeah, me neither). There are bits of avocado. I like avocado.

What is the plural of avocado? Avocadi or avocados? Answers on the back of a voting slip please.

The philosopher seems more puzzled by his burger. It's foundation is a not insubstantial breast of poulet-bicyclette, but it is the fried egg sitting atop that is causing consternation.

"I'm not sure I should be eating chicken and egg at the same time" remarks the philosopher, frowning.

I see where he's going with this and ask: "Would you eat beef and milk at the same time?".

"No. That would be ridiculous".


"I mean, you have to leave a little bit of something don't you? Something for the chicken".

Like I say. The Philosopher.

Blues Cafe
Behind the Union Trade Centre
Tel: 078832366

Monday, 8 March 2010

So spill your breakfast and drip your wine, just wear that dress when you dine.

Despite once drunkenly claiming it to be 'the best restaurant in Kigali', I don't go to New Cactus often enough. I think this is mainly because I can never find it in the dark.

The view here rivals the best of Kigali views, so it is a shame that it is hidden from most of the tables. A quick natter with Christophe - a charming waiter/front of house - secures us a decent view on the lawn, and boozy refreshments are delivered swiftly.

Shared Triangles of deep fried pastry-wrapped goats cheese and bacon dipped in honey are something of a taste sensation here, and disappear quickly. Massive avocado halves are let down slightly by a too heavy hand with the vinaigrette. Mushrooms on toast are from a tin, so avoid these.

Veal Cordon Bleu comes fist-sized (that's big - my hands are somewhat agricultural) and swimming in a rich cheese sauce which invites the dipping of perfect chips. Veg is that usual peculiar melange of frozen peas&brocolli&carrot a la Chez Lando.

After an initial confusion of orders, a steak arrives at our table shrunken and practically burnt rather than rare as requested. The Atilla the Hun of Restaurant feedback sends it back, and sure enough a properly cooked version swiftly appears along with an offer of extra chips.

So a screw-up then, but one quickly rectified and accompanied by all sorts of apologetic genuflection. How often do you find that in a Kigali restaurant? Complaints are usually met with an indifferent Sarkozy-esque shrug and a partial admission of responsibility...

New Cactus
Kayuku Street, Kiyovu I think...
Tel: +250252572572