Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon

A shade before seven in the morning you'll find me trotting through Remera, shoes combed, hair polished, bracing myself for another ten hours of toil. Most days I'm the only muzungu around, weaving through the crowds waiting for the bus, smiling at familiar faces, and saluting the guards as they arrive for the shift changeover at the Lando.

It's the Tuesday morning walk to work I enjoy the most. On Tuesdays there is often another unfamiliar foreign face in the crowd. A young muzungu, sometimes male, sometimes female, dressed in last night's sparkly top/best jeans, blinking owlishly in the early morning sun. The girls are often accompanied by a retinue of curious schoolchildren. The Tuesday morning walk of shame.

Monday night is quiz night at the SoleLuna Italian restaurant. It's a peculiar sight. Look across the restaurant at 8pm and you'll witness a sea of bobbing pink faces, grinning nervously and wondering where their pizzas have got to. It's the place for the new arrival to meet new people, for the certified muzungus to pick-up a new arrival, and for the veterans to avoid like the plague. Occasionally you'll spot one or two bewildered Rwandans in the crowd, unable to assist their teammates with questions about baseball/basketball/NFL/facts about American presidents. They have to wait for the token wikipedia-researched question about the Great Lakes region.

So unless this kind of choppy-choppy colonial club-house crassness floats your boat you should avoid SoleLuna on a Monday night. You should definitely go Tuesday to Sunday though. I'll even stick my hairy neck out and say that this is the best restaurant in Kigali.

"But Jiffler", I hear you ask, "isn't it you job to cut down the tall poppies? To sneer at their success and criticise the bruschetta with a crude simile and a pop-culture reference?" Perhaps it is, but I'm getting old and nostalgic. It may be time to take me behind the barn and put me out of my misery.

The pizzas are the best in town by a mile. There are over 80 on the menu, and I have to confess to having tried at least a slice of every single one of them over the last few years - I've rarely been disappointed (my favourite is the 'Corrado2'). I'd probably pass on the seafood pizzas - we are a long way from the coast - but the rest of them are fair game. You can't go wrong with their generous steaks and salads either. Pasta dishes are consistently good, although a friend (an expert in pastology) reckons the carbonara comes a close second to the one currently being served "off-menu" at Chez Lando.

The lunchtime buffet is pricey, but the owner has recently taken the wise step of hiring in a consultant chef who has introduced some clever new riffs to a daily changing buffet. A perfect lunchtime treat.

SoleLuna has been around for years and will still be here in years to come. Dionigi and Beatrice's passion and commitment to their business is evident in the steady improvements they've made over the years. They're not afraid of innovation, of asking for advice, or of investing in the best materials. Other Johnny-come-lately restaurants in Kigali usually start off with a bang and slowly deteriorate with complacency. Over the years I've watched with a warm respect as SoleLuna gets bigger, smarter and better.

So what makes SoleLuna the best restaurant in Kigali? Love. Apparently it's all you need.

Boulevard de L’AĆ©roport
Tel.   +252583062
Mob. +250788859593


Anonymous said...

Haha! Thoroughly enjoyed your blog, please write more! I'd love to hear your Mr. Chips, African Bagel Company, Lalibela, etc. stories!

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that more often than not, those teams that are made up of a bunch of bewildered Rwandans end up leaving with the prize.

one has to wonder,how many wikipedia researched questions are being asked?

Anonymous said...

1. I am shocked by your less than fair description of Rwandan quiz participants. As a regular quiz participant, I've witnessed on many occasions teams made up of entirely Rwandans/East Africans winning the competition.. I doubt that would fit your "Token East African wikipedia researched question" categorisation. I have also been on teams with Americans whose knowledge of American trivia is far below that of their Rwandan/East African teammates.

2. Yes! The food is totally some of the best in Kigali.

Jiffler said...

I wouldn't normally comment below the line, but it seems somebody has missed the point. I'll address the two most recent Anonymous comments together.

Anonymous pissed me off. Here is why.

First of all I wrote:

"token wikipedia-researched question about the Great Lakes region"

Anonymous quoted me as writing:

"Token East African wikipedia researched question"

Those two sentences mean something very different. The first sentence insults the question and does not specify the ethnic background of the person setting the question (though the implication is that it is not a person of East African origin). Anonymous' sentence directs the insult at an unspecified "East African". Anonymous misquoted me in a manner which makes what I wrote look bad.

This blog does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their nationality, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender. It does mock the people fortunate enough to be able to eat at expensive restaurants in Kigali and read blogs online. It mocks them for their decisions and their behaviour. These are privileged people who can handle it. Some of them can even laugh at themselves.

So to make it absolutely clear, in my blog post I gently and equally mocked everyone who participates in the Monday night quizzes. I also mocked myself.

Peace and love.