THE WAITER WHO laid our table for lunch at Urban Boutique Hotel was a lanky lad named Safi. Last time I checked, Safi was a fruit drink produced by an Asian industrialist in Uganda, so I made this known to Safi the waiter.
And we were pleasantly surprised, shocked even, when he just took it all in stride, explaining calmly that Safi has got something to do with ‘niceness’ or ‘goodness’, and that he believed himself to be just as nice a person. He did not act defensive and clueless as I had started to grow accustomed to waiters elsewhere.
And that way, the mood had been set. As another plus, Safi was impeccably clean in his well-pressed white long sleeved shirt and black pants. He did not reek of sweat from the previous week and his breath was fresh, as the writer and foul breath from waiters’ mouths do not particularly mix!
And Safi did not take to us like a falcon to its prey as we stepped out of the lift compartment into the restaurant on the fourth floor. He simply sneaked up under our feet, and before we knew it, he was guiding us through the extensive menu.
I was dying for pork chops, but the frown on Cherie, the manager’s face no sooner had I let rip of the order made me drop the idea at once. Later, I was to learn that the owner, an Asian, is Muslim, and duly apologised for the slander!
With my akabenzi hopes dashed, I decided to settle for the sizzling steak on the manager, Cherie’s recommendation. The steak is marinated in salt and pepper sauce with veggies-and served steaming hot on an iron plate. If you are the kind that considers every meal a story, try this steak, as you will be entertained just seeing the thick and hot plumes of steam do their heaven-bound circus.
You won’t regret the 6,800 Rw f price tag, which I must admit is a bit on the upper side for a journalist’s wallet.
One of my guests settled for the Chicken Gordon Blue, which goes for the same price. Though she gave rave reviews for the Chicken and cheese combination, she had a bone to pick with the rice. Basmati rice would have done the trick, she whined. We did not hear a complaint from the person who tried the fish fillet with garlic lemon sauce, served with mashed Irish, so we took it to mean silent approval.
The food, in short, is simple, elegant, tasty and fresh. Good for that blind date or for those who want to impress.
After lunch, I hiked the wooden stairs to the rooftop for a puff, and was pleasantly surprised to walk into a nice cozy VIP lounge with a clear panoramic view of the entire city. Good for the solitary drinker, the heavy smoker or the lovey-dovey romantic dinner date couple.
I peeped into the toilets and they were clean enough for one to puff at a cigarette while doing what people do when they lock themselves in toilets. The corridors are wide and well ventilated, while the suites, seventeen in total, can each accommodate a family of four.
Urban Boutique Hotel is located on Akagera Road in Kiyovo, next to the Gorilla Hotel. On its launch night (December 7, 2012), the Holy Family Band, a local reggae outfit played to a packed house, and I’m told it will soon be having its own theme night here. Watch this space!