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Created on 26 August 2013 Written by Sandra Idossou
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What a joy when I heard of the opening of a new French restaurant in Kigali. Finally a dedicated place to taste some real gourmet french cuisine.

The restaurant looks nice, the washrooms are super clean, the garden is beautiful, the music was soft and the staff very professional and knowledgeable. They even have a room where kids can play while parents are eating.

Another positive element of this restaurant is the price. A whole 3 course menu costs 6.800 frw. This is probably the only place in Kigali where one can get such good food at this price. But will I call this place a gastronomic french restaurant? No. The food is good but doesnt have the finesse of the gourmet dishes I was expecting. The presentation of the food is just normal, nothing
extraordinary...nothing to wow. Its probably the name l'Epicurien that made me have too high expectations. I may probably need to go back in the evening and see if the perception changes. I also need to try other dishes on the menu instead of the set menu I had for lunch.
 
Will I recommend this place? Definately yes even if owners need to try to translate the menu in English. My Anglophone friends I went with could not understand the menu as all was in French. We had to ask for bread which came almost at the end of our starters. Thankfully, it came hot and real yummy.

Until a real gastronomic restaurant opens up in Kigali, I will continue to consider The Select as the best fine dining restaurant in
town based on my personal and probably subjective opinion.


Written by Sandra Idossou - Editor TSM
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Created on 26 August 2013 Written by Simon Corden
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Kimihuhura is fast becoming the Kigali’s new restaurant hotspot and its latest venue is the Lebanese Restaurant, recently moved from Gikondo. It’s a mid-range restaurant, recently relocated adjacent to Sundowner and on the same dirt road as Papyrus and Flamingo. Easy to spot. TSM has visited twice over a couple of days to check out the lunchtime and evening experiences. And we found a difference between the two.

Lunchtime we came early, around midday. First impression, surprise! Despite being a converted dwelling, the driveway lined with Hookahs leads the eye to the extensive, ‘eye-candy-for-drinkers’ bar. The dining area is tented, feels and looks ‘cool’; it’s open and airy with plenty of light. You’ll find a range of seating to cater for formal and informal occasions, including a couple of sofas. Mindful this was once a house, the bar and restaurant  occupy the previously grassed area and so is dirty and not very stiletto heel friendly.

Not the warmest welcome from the bar staff sadly, but maybe as we were the only diners, staff were still setting up? Tables and chairs are comfortable, if a little on the small side, so four people at a table feels cramped. The menus show a range of Lebanese fare and a page of drinks reflecting a wide range of stock. The place is still being refurbished and despite having Pizza on the menu, the oven is under construction so they’re not available – but why would you want a pizza in a Lebanese restaurant? Standard Lebanese, savoury dishes are available including Falafel, Shawarma, Tabouleh and of course, Hummus. It took a while to get the food, but the Falafel with pitta and hummus was delicious; a nice change to the overly popular pizza, pasta and brochette offerings found elsewhere. But this comes at a price. Most food items are relatively expensive and alcoholic drinks more than you would expect to pay in regular bars.


 

 

Nightime is the right-time for this place. The owners have put effort into creating a really nice ambiance with rope-lights along the counter, up columns and a back-lit bar. Unfortunately, the music is far from Lebanese or Middle-Eastern. When asked, the Lebanese management said that they play what the customers like – some customer education is required! The restaurant is trying to cater for Kigali nightlife. The Salon is now a small nightclub (I mean small), soundproofed doors, blacked out windows, loud music and laser lights. You’ll find out, as this is the route to the toilets that could benefit from some modernisation, from bathrooms to public conveniences.

A food order for fifteen took a while, which is a challenge for any establishment. Yet despite taking a written order, one meal was incorrect and two others arrived very late, so late most diners had finished their main course. The menu has some inaccuracies, for example the absence of pizza as mentioned, and some found the fact that large beer bottles were not available and smaller ones are offered instead. The price differential is unfair to customers that have to pay extra for the same quantity. However, when brought to the manager’s attention, he quickly agreed to charge the big bottle price for two smaller ones. A good example of customer service and complaints handling.

 

 



Overall, I would recommend the Lebanese Restaurant and will go back for all the positives it delivers. With time and well-presented, fair and honest feedback this will be a delicious addition to Kigali’s food scene.

Sisha paraphernalia characterises the restaurant, Hookahs and Sisha packets and a myriad of colourful pipes are everywhere

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Created on 31 July 2013 Written by Melissa Lesage
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 A review of breakfasts at four of Kigali's top restaurants, by Melissa Lesage


Bourbon Coffee MTN Centre is located on the top floor of the MTN Centre in Nyarutarama. Open seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm and very popular for Sunday lunch. The café is clean, well decorated and  spacious.  You can either sit at a table or get comfortable on some puffy chairs or cozy sofas.
I was greeted by a smiling waitress who sat me down and gave me the menu offering a selection of eight breakfasts. Prices range from Rwf 2,800 for the Bourbon Fruit Chutney Waffles to Rwf 4,800 for the Bourbon Mix and Match Breakfast Touch. There are only two options for vegetarians which in my opinion is limited. I settled for the Special Breakfast of The Day at Rwf 4,200 comprising of grilled sausage, buttered spinach, mushroom, bacon, egg, roast potatoes, grilled tomato, baked beans and toasted white bread. The menu did not specify what sausages were offered; it would be good to add such information.

I ordered a cappuccino and was served after a couple of minutes. The cappuccino was so foamy and creamy, I would give it an A +. The food was served within 20 minutes which is a fairly reasonable waiting time for Kigali. I would have appreciated a little more effort being put in the presentation of the food on my plate. The mushrooms which were listed on the menu were not there so I asked a waitress to check with the chef. She came back after five minutes with a plate of fresh sautéed mushrooms with onions and parsley. The portion was satisfying.

Overall the food tasted good and was served warm. Some of the potato chunks were a bit undercooked and the bacon portion was too small and too crispy for my liking. I would have preferred my eggs fried and not boiled and it would be great if the option was given to the customers when ordering. The plain white toasts were a bit of a letdown and a small bread basket with warm bread rolls would make a nice addition. Butter and sauces could also be offered with the breakfast as I am sure that these are items that are always available.

Bourbon offers a good selection of breakfasts, a pleasant atmosphere and the service is attentive and friendly.  The prices are on the higher end though and plates should be checked before being served to the clients to ensure that all items listed are being served.


I remember hearing about Magda Café and looking for it a couple of times before I was finally able to find it. The café is located in Kacyiru in the same building where Bank of Kigali and Shokola Lite are located. The entrance is located behind the building next to the BK ATM.

At the time I was there on a Sunday morning the Café was not busy. I was greeted by a “welcome” when I entered and was quickly seated and given the menu. I like to sit on one of their cozy sofas, the big one facing the TV being my favorite spot but settled for one of the tables. The place was clean and the music was not too loud to allow for a conversation.

I ordered a small cappuccino before getting started with the exploration of their menu. The menu has a breakfast selection comprising of nine different dishes. Prices range between Rwf 2,000 for plain crêpes (the chocolate crêpes cost Rwf 2,500) and Rwf 4,000 for the chicken, spinach and cheese omelet. Vegetarians will have the choice between egg and cheese croissants (Rwf 3,000), condimental omelet (Rwf 3,500), fresh fruits topped with granola (Rwf 3,500), macedoine mixed fruits (Rwf 3,000) or the healthy choice mixed fruits salad with yoghurt and whipped cream (Rwf 3,500). Magda also offers a choice of blended drinks with prices ranging from Rwf 4,000 to Rwf 4,500 and fresh juices from Rwf 2,000 to Rwf 3,000 for cocktail juices.

The cappuccino came after 5 minutes and was not one of my favorites. The foam was not creamy enough and the coffee tasted a bit bitter.

I ordered the two fried eggs, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms served with two slices of bread at Rwf 3,500. I asked the waiter whether I could have an omelet instead of two fried eggs and was told that he would check with the chef. I was served after less than 20 minutes and the plate was warm. I noticed again that no particular effort had been put into the food presentation. The food tasted good, however. I did miss some butter to put on the bread though, but did not ask for it.

I found the breakfast good, it was filling and the highlight of my morning was the great service I got from the waiters. I would recommend Magda.

Magda is open seven days a week. Sunday to Thursday from 7 am to 10 pm. Friday 7 am to 5 pm. Saturday 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

Madga offers great customer service and the food is good value for money. The place can be difficult to find for newcomers however, since it is in the back of the building.



 
There is something about Shokola Lite that I really like. I am not sure whether it is the name or the coziness of the place but I generally feel good and comfortable whenever I spend some time there.

However this time I was disappointed by Shokola Lite for several reasons. I arrived there at around 11 am on a Sunday morning. Only one table was occupied. When I entered I was not greeted and not offered to be seated.

The waitresses stood near the till and watched me as I made my way to a table. The table I wanted to sit at was dirty so I had to ask one of the waitresses to wipe it first.
The menu does not have a breakfast section as such but offers a choice of small bites and bigger bites. Chocolate muffins at Rwf 1,200, buttermilk pancakes at Rwf 2,800, scrambled eggs burrito at Rwf 3,500. The full breakfast consisting of eggs, chicken sausages served with toast costs Rwf 3,900 which is pricey considering the limited choice of food items being offered. The menu also offers a choice of omelets at prices ranging from Rwf 3,000 to Rwf 3,500.

I settled for a cheese and tomato omelet served with breakfast potatoes at Rwf 3,500. Among the eleven items which I considered as breakfast options on the menu, seven were vegetarian options so Shokola Lite is a veggie paradise and I am pretty sure that it would be difficult to find a restaurant offering such a wide choice of veggie dishes in Kigali. The list of smoothies (prices between 2,800 and 3,500) and fresh juices (between Rwf 1,500 and Rwf 2,500) is also extensive.

I ordered a cappuccino (1,500 Rwf) which was served within 10 minutes. I like the foam of my cappuccino creamy and it was too light for me but the coffee tasted good. After 30 minutes waiting for my omelet I enquired and was told that it was almost ready and waited five more minutes before it was served. Having waited 35 minutes for a cheese and tomato omelet, my expectations were quite high and I was disappointed when I was presented with a very simple plate. A cheese and tomato omelet with French fries scattered on the plate with a slice of tomato and a small lettuce leaf. No effort had been put into the presentation and the breakfast potatoes were plain fries. Very misleading as I was expecting sautéed potatoes in onions or the likes. Bread was not served with the dish and I was not offered any when I enquired. The omelet tasted good but the fries were not good and were too greasy.

Overall it was an expensive breakfast and I was still hungry when I left eyeing the plates of cookies and cakes on display on my way out. The service was average and the waiters looked tired and not motivated. I would normally recommend this place but will have to think twice before going there next time for breakfast.
Shokola Lite is located in Kacyiru and is open Mondays to Saturdays from 7 am to 10 pm and on Sundays from 7 am to 9 pm.

Shokola Lite offers a cozy environment to work, relax or meet some friends. The menu has a good selection for vegetarians. However the breakfast was not good value for money, the service was slow and the customer care could be improved.

The last place I reviewed was Camellia Tea House. It is located in town opposite KCB. It was my first time there so I did not really know what to expect. Upon my arrival I was greeted by two waiters with big smiles and seated on the terrace. Camellia does not look as big as it actually is and there is a choice between sitting inside, on the terrace or on the patio. They even have a VIP area inside that they charge extra with some nice sofas. The place looked clean and was quiet.

The menu is extensive and they do have a breakfast selection on the last page of the menu. You can choose from eight breakfasts. The Forest breakfast is the cheapest and costs Rwf 2,500. It consists of French toast served with honey and banana. The Camellia breakfast is quite fancy and consists of scrambled eggs, salmon, cream cheese on toast and pan fried mushrooms (Rwf 4,500).

The pancake breakfast consists of a small drink, three eggs, three buttermilk pancakes with homemade maple syrup and slices of fruits (I am not sure what they mean by homemade maple syrup). I had been on the lookout for yoghurt and cereals and their Continental breakfast offers a selection of cereals, yogurt, cold meat, milk, and cheese with crackers at Rwf 5,000.

They also have a big selection of fancy teas (vanilla tea, blueberry and apple tea, sweet fennel etc…) with prices ranging from Rwf 1,200 to Rwf 1,500.

I ordered the business breakfast consisting of beef sausage,  two fried eggs on a toast, breakfast potatoes, grilled cheese tomato, cream of mushroom and spinach and a small hot or cold drink. At Rwf 3,500 it really sounded like a good deal. For the small drink you can choose between a coffee or a maracuja juice. The maracuja juice was too sweet and I am not sure that it was fresh. The fried eggs turn out to be an omelet but all other items listed on the menu were on the plate. The breakfast tasted really nice apart from the beef sausage which looked like a dry sausage that had been fried a bit too long and was too hard. As usual and like all other places reviewed bread was a disappointment. I also ordered a small cappuccino and at Rwf 1,300 it is definitely a deal and comes in a big cup with a cute saucer. The cappuccino was creamy and delicious and brought me the comfort I needed.

Camellia was a great discovery and the winner in my quest to find the best breakfast in Kigali, with an  extensive menu, complimentary drink and good food. I was also impressed by the speed and quality of their customer service.

Camellia is open seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm.
Camellia offers great customer care, quick service and the breakfast was good value for money. The breakfast section is on the last page of a menu that is already quite extensive and customers might miss it.






 
 

Ranking:


1.    Camellia Tea House - 9/10
2.    Bourbon Coffee Shop  - 8/10
3.    Magda Café - 7.5 /10
4.    Shokola Lite - 5/10

Suggestions for improving breakfast offers:
1.    Add bread baskets with butter (add a small extra charge if necessary for butter and jam).
2.    It would also be great to have the option between white and brown bread.
3.    Put some extra effort into the presentation of the food on the plate.
4.    Ask the client how he would like the eggs to be cooked and specify what sausages you offer.
5.    Offer coffee or tea as part of the breakfast or at a reduced price.
6.    Add cereals and yoghurt as part of the breakfast menu.
7.    Smile! Show the clients that you care and want to serve them even on a Sunday morning.

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