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