Don’t let the French name fool you.This place serves the most unpretentious, most delicious everyday dishes and their brochettes are the best in town.
I have had quite a number of people call me to ask for directions to this place. The lack of sufficient parking is probably the reason number one this gem does not have as much clientele as it deserves.
Situated in the heart of Kiyovu, La Corniche lies just before Karisimbi and Gorilla Hotel. The parking is enough for five vehicles – the rest generally have to park on the pavement and hope no speeding cars will ram into their cars.
The trick is to “half-park” – drive up the pavement in such a way that one side of the car is on the pavement and the other is on the road. It is important to explain the parking challenges – forewarned is forearmed.
The owner of La Corniche is a passionate gardener and has made it a business on its own – a perfect example of making money out of your hobbies.
His love for flowers and flower arrangement is clear as you enter the restaurant which is surrounded with healthy green plants. Often times, a beautiful bouquet lies on the bar counter.
You may choose to sit at one of the three cabanas that semi circle the restaurant or you may proceed further into the restaurant.
The décor is interesting and like nothing I have seen elsewhere in Kigali. This is probably how restaurants looked liked in the 70s; or maybe it was the 70s French music playing in the background that gave it the feeling.
Whatever it was, the décor is an intricate mélange of beautifully arranged cloth and nice colourful things hanging from the lampshades.
Orange must be the owner’s favorite colour. The tables are dressed in white and orange. So are the rapid waiters who quickly tend to you as soon as you are seated. Look closely, good customer service is taking shape in some places in Rwanda.
Our group of seven sat at the cabana as the plan was not to eat a full course meal. We ended up trying almost everything on the hors d’oeuvres menu – from the cheese and smoked sausage platter, then to the mini pizzas (they have a pizza oven and a full pizza menu) to the deliciously deep fried plantains.
The brochettes were served; not on white boring plates, but on a mini chopping board and placed on a bed of lettuce adorned with quartered deep red tomatoes and sliced raw onions.
My palette rejoiced at how tender and juicy the meat brochettes were. They were so delicious they made the accompaniment of the usually boring steamed ibitoke look and taste good too.
The owner, a majestically tall man assured us of his excellent hospitality skills. As the waiter brought our dishes, right behind him followed the owner who only went to take a seat when he was certain we appreciated the first bite of our dish.
Diversity doesn’t lack at La Corniche. The owner has improvised a mini dance floor separate from the restaurant and he personally DJs a selection of excellent assortment of music depending on the crowd – from salsa to rhumba to hip hop.
If you are looking for a relaxed Friday evening out with colleagues, Corniche is the place.
The hospitality guru that he demonstrated to us to be, shared with us a bottle of excellent Australian wine – a welcome break from Drostdy all Kigali restaurants serve.