For a city of only one million people, Kigali has an impressive array of restaurants and coffee shops accommodating to all tastes and budgets.
Among these is Bourbon Coffee, a fine food and beverage establishment located at the Union Trade Centre just above Kwa Rubangura round about. The café is open all week from 7:30am to 10:00pm, except on Umuganda days when it opens at noon.
Bourbon at around six in the evening is awash with people. The café is a hive of activity, with soothing jazz and reggae playing in the back ground. Inside comfy chairs are occupied by a mix of locals, experts and tourists.
The large terrace with views of the hills is also busy. All ages lounge happily sipping coffee, chatting with friends or taking advantage of wireless internet.
Staffs are welcoming and attentive, hurrying about the restaurant serving coffee and cakes with a smile.
The menu is extensive making ordering a pleasure if a little tricky. As you might expect, there is a wide selection of coffees. Milkshakes and fruit juices are also a popular choice.
I can recommend their hot chocolate (real chocolate!) to which I added a shot of espresso – be warned, the espresso coffee is strong and sure to wake you up!
As for food, there is plenty of choice. Burgers, omelettes, sandwiches, stuffed crepes and croissants, soup and salads, pastries and items from the grill that make up a very appealing menu. There really seems to be something for everyone.
I chose a panini with vegetables and cheese – the crust was thin and the filling ample. My companion had a Tramezzini – Focaccia bread filled with warm grilled chicken, avocado. Both came with chips.
They even had real Heinz Tomato Ketchup! Servings are generous; indeed we could have shared one order. Food was served in pretty good time.
Complaints…if any Internet access (free with a drink for 30 minutes or one hour with a food order) has made Bourbon a popular place amongst web surfers.
As a result seats are hard to come by. For those wanting to get on line the connection is good but privacy is not great.
Talking to the manager
Amy Karuretwa, Kigali’s food and beverages control officer, spoke on behalf of the General Manager and proprietor, Arthur Karuretwa. She explained that Bourbon coffee comes from a variety of coffee growers in Rwanda.
“We want to promote Rwandan farmers and their coffee products, which is the reason for this unique set up at Bourbon,” said Karuretwa. She also mentioned that there will be new Bourbon Coffees appearing soon.