Poivre Noir does not stand out from the crowd at first appearance. However, the timeless adage, never judge a book by its cover, truly applies here.
Poivre Noir is a simple restaurant. On this night, the upper dining was full. Not surprisingly, the patronage was dominated by Europeans. Perhaps this was just a coincidence.
The dining is made up of two place and four place settings consisting of simple wooden tables and chairs. At the far end, sit a couple of high cocktail tables with high stools.
The restaurant is aptly lit and also consists of an inner dining room that also houses the small bar which is well stocked.
The menu can be a tongue twister if you are non French speaking but is helpfully translated into English.
I chose Croquette au fromage as my entrée and chicken ballotine stuffed with mushrooms as my main course. Now we get to the reason I said looks can be deceptive. I did not venture much into the other dining areas and thus would be giving a false impression if I said the restaurant is small. But the food is incredible and I was blown away, so much so that I remained rooted to my seat for a while and was unable to go adventuring. This chef has no equals and I say that with admiration.
The croquettes simply melted in my mouth, the combination of cheese and potato that was lightly crumbed was the best croquette I’ve encountered. The crispy parsley added that little bit of extra savoury taste and the lemon juice counter balanced with sourness. For me this is a great combo.
The chicken was superb with a good hint of black pepper which is also the name of the restaurant, by the way, and the thin fries added to a pleasant presentation. If you are in the habit of picking at your fries with your fingers, then you’d like these fries. Not easy to consume with a fork.
I observed and was later informed that there is a culture to train even the unqualified at this establishment and indeed on the night, I saw a trainee being put through his paces. He was day one on the job but I respected his resolve. Besides his obvious trepidation, the rest of the staff looked good, were fast and very accommodating. Thumbs up to the service too. That simple appearance at the gate looking in is deceptive. Poivre Noir is one of the best in Kigali.
Located on KG 670 St, I’d advise one to always look to the internet to confirm if open and at what time. Poivre Noir service is usually available from 12-2pm for lunch and 6-9:30 pm for dinner.