Monday, 16 December 2013

Lie down on the couch / what does that mean?

It's been a while.

So long in fact that I have left Rwanda.

Probably for good.


Any sensible blogger would have closed the shop by now. Said a final sad goodbye. I might need a little time to work it out though.

"I like your blog, but I don't understand it sometimes"

Some of the commentariat (damn, I thought I'd invented that word, but Google proves me wrong.) would agree. It's OK though - the enigma is deliberate: contained within each of my posts is a series of hidden messages for specific people around the world. One day, the correct written combination of words will trigger a global uprising of jaded zombie restaurant goers who will take action against the evils of vegetarianism. Seriously, we're a right-click-paste away from Armageddon.

L'il Vegas

Awful name isn't it? What is that apostrophe even for? Surely if L'il is a shortened version of 'little' then it should be Li'l.(1)

Anyway, it has gambling machines, so is like a smaller (little) version of Vegas; where I've heard they also have gambling machines.(2)

We're here for a burger, described on this very good website (3) as "the best burger in Kigali" The gang from Living in Kigali seem to eat a lot of burgers, so I guess they know what they're talking about (4). Now, I'm not one of those hipster bumwipes who thinks a burger is only good if it is made from 21 day aged Aberdeen Angus beef and served with an overpriced mojito mixed with owl tears in an old Vimto bottle (5); it's just that it isn't hard to make a decent burger - it's hardly cordon bleu. If I can make a decent burger at home (6), then surely somebody who is paid to work in the kitchen of a restaurant might be able to manage it.

The Young Ambassador orders something called the "monster massive cockandballs burger"(7), which looks like the hideous aftermath of a matatu accident but tastes reassuringly herby.
It comes with an untidy avalanche of chips which threaten to bury the table. Sadly, he reports a case of the thruppeny bits (8) the following morning. My chicken burger is surprisingly good with pieces of actual factual chicken, rather than the usual mechanically recovered chicken ears and noses (9). Onion rings are coated with what appear to be flakes of brioche bread: something I'm still not convinced is a good idea. I haven't yet encountered a portion of onion rings anywhere in the world good enough to serve as my benchmark onion rings (10), which makes me wonder whether onion rings might just be a bit rubbish whichever way you cook them.

The best bit is the floor show, a strange lottery involving numbered tickets and a rotating box. A security guard looms over with his stick, gently twatting anyone who gets too close to the numbered tickets. This is the reason why you should go to L'il Vegas - where else in Kigali can you enjoy a burger and a beer while watching a man being hit in the face with a stick?


What I've done there is a little playful introduction. I don't really care what the name of the restaurant is, and the apostrophe doesn't really bother me, I'm just adopting a curmudgeonly character which sets the tone of voice for the rest of the review. I'm actually quite a cheerful bloke.

(2) Obviously I know they have gambling machines in Vegas, and so do you. This is very gentle sarcasm, and implies that L'il Vegas is nothing like Vegas. It also establishes a little cheeky rapport with the reader.

(3) It is a good website. I really do think this.

(4) I don't think this.

(5) This is a bit of knowing humour for people who have eaten at such establishments that are currently popular in parts of Europe and America, or at least read about them. I figure if you're reading this website you might have a passing interest in such things. If you haven't, then you might prefer the website mentioned in (3)

(6) Of course I bloody can. I don't eat out every night. Why have a burger though when you can stuff a whole chicken with an excessive amount of garlic and eat it with greasy fingers?

(7) It isn't really called this, but you get the picture.

(8) Rhyming slang. Google it.

(9) Contrary to what you might think, chickens do have ears. They're not pointy like owl ears though. They have nostrils too, although it's not clear whether this constitutes a nose. I suppose you could count the Parson's nose. If you don't know what the Parson's nose is then you're probably on the wrong blog.

I have benchmarks for all foods except: onion rings, tofu, candy floss and - until recently - cottage cheese (the only cottage cheese worth eating is Ethiopian Ayib, preferably really fresh stuff from the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples region).

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