Walking into Chapter One is like walking into the first miracle Jesus performed according to the bible. Was that in Canaan? Oh yes. There is a bountifulness about this place that does not necessarily have to do with food and drink.
In a way, it is like the chaps behind it are trying to give you the life Jesus gave at the Canaan wedding. Okay, you won’t buy a big Primus and the waiter miraculously turns it into a dozen bottles, but they do serve some complimentary pop corn and you don’t really need face value to partake of it. The pop corn is brought to you almost clandestinely by a waiter draped in black all the way.
As you turn your focus back from the plasma TV screen, a bowl of pop corn materialises at your table.
Friday night saw the bar’s launch party at which journalists decided to take leave of all their senses to wallow in the free cocktails and nibbles that did the rounds for the better part of the evening. The DJ spins a long catalogue of urban East African tunes and the usual club bangers. Talking of bangers, the DJ just might need to be banged a little on the skull to jolt him into life. In some of his uninspired moments, he conspires, alone in his DJ booth to kill the flow.
Remember the former Le Sablon bar in Kimihurura that was owned by a bevy of Congolese? Chapter One comes in its place. Remember too, that Le Sablon was a private, members only bar? Le Sablon was upper class and almost strictly that. To gain admission to it, you had to endure a similar process that one goes through to join a decent golf club; at the very least, you had to know someone who knew someone who knew someone…
Chapter One brims with promise. Of course they do brochette, but careful, lest the brochette does you as well. It ‘did’ my lady guest, and don’t ask me how. No, her condiments of finely cubed green pepper and onion came heavily peppered, and no sooner had she attacked her salad than it retaliated. It opened hell’s flames in her mouth, and the only way to deal with it was take generous gallops of her beer till the fire on her raging tongue subsided and we said our Amens.
The beers are fairly priced, with Heineken and Carlsberg at Rwf2,000, while a big Primus and a Coke each go for Rwf1,000. There is a small terrace bar immediately to your left as you walk past the gate. It overlooks the leafy gardens that are strewn with garden chairs and wooden bar stools rooted in the ground. It attracts shisha smokers and loud drinkers like light does moths. Did I just say shisha? It is a flavoured molasses tobacco typically smoked using a long tube called a hookah. Most people confuse shisha with marijuana, but no, it isn’t. Smoking a whole tonne of it can make you feel light-headed, even sick to your stomach, but it does not get you high. (But that’s a different story.)
Brochette is priced between Rwf 1,500 and 2,500, and they do pizza too.
The unwritten code of Chapter One is something that goes along these lines; “Free style, but while at it, behave yourself.”