Clad in lime green T-Shirts and black skirts and trousers, the waiters and waitresses are quick to serve. With a smile on their faces they take customers orders and explain what is available.
The aroma that fills the air is an appetizer for each customer that walks into Mirembe Mix restaurant located in Nyamirambo, just adjacent to the ‘Kwa Mutwe’ taxi stage.
At 12:00 noon, the restaurant is at its peak; the tables are already filled with frenzied clients eating away; from the look on their faces, nothing seems to matter in this world.
It’s not until a client tastes the food, that they understand that it is an aphrodisiac to their raging appetites.
“It’s our customer care and good cooking—not just any cooking, we prepare healthy boiled food with no oil, and I believe that is what mostly attracts our customers,” said Annet Nakku, the proprietor of Mirembe Mix restaurant.
Annet Nakku at the age of 35 is happily married with two children—an 8 year-old son and 3 year-old daughter. She attained her restaurant skills at Jimmy Sekasi, Institute of Catering in Huye District (former Butare).
According to Nakku, she started small in the restaurant business. She was a waitress, turned manager and finally become the proud owner of the place.
She attributes this success to hard work, cleanliness, good customer care, great food and the smart workers.
“From Monday to Monday, our schedule is kept, our workers dress in uniform and time management is very crucial if we want to provide the best service to our customers,” she said.
According to Nakku, a typical day at Mirembe Mix starts as early as 6:30 a.m with the preparation of Tea and katogo (a spiced mixture of all sorts of food) for breakfast. This is served to customers who start walking through the doors at 7:30 a.m and by 10:00 a.m, breakfast is complete.
At this Nyamirambo restaurant, any time is food time; the restaurant never runs dry.
“We have never completely run out of food, our customers are fed throughout the day until 10:00 p.m. There is always something to eat,” Nakku said.
On the Mirembe Mix menu is a specialty, popularly known as ‘Kabox.’ Nakku says it has become so popular that they cook it in large quantities, all to be consumed by clients.
‘Kabox’ is a treat cooked in small metallic containers with covers, which are in turn placed in a bigger saucepan with boiling water. It consists of small pieces of beef, Irish potatoes, and various spices, that give it an irresistible aroma. At a fee of starting from Rwf700 any one can eat at Mirembe Mix, but ‘Kabox’ goes at an extra fee.
“This dish is very healthy because we do not add any oil in it, for this reason our customers have grown to like it,” said the proprietor.
A customer who preferred to only be called Ericson said he always goes to Nyamirambo for lunch even though he works in Kimihurura and lives in Kacyiru.
“It doesn’t matter how far the place is as long as I can reach Mirembe Mix, the place is organized and I don’t have to wait for over five minutes before my food is served. People should take an example of how things are done here,” said Ericson.
Besides her good customer service Nakku has come to be known as a considerate and understanding service provider by many Kigali dwellers. As a result, one of her biggest clientele are students who come all the way from KIST (Kigali Institute of Science and Technology) just to have a meal at her restaurant.
“The prices are reasonable and I give students a discount for their meals because they explain to me some of their challenges of finding a decent meal that is not overrated,” she said.
Hakim Kamanzi is a 1st year KIST student has always eaten at Mirembe Mix since he discovered the place in February last year. He goes for breakfast, lunch and supper on a daily basis.
“I found that the meals were like those cooked at home and even Annet is so polite, she makes me feel at home,” Kamanzi said.
“Even when we don’t have enough money for food, she feeds us and we always pay back later, she has helped many students like me,” Kamanzi said.
Nakku said her happiest moment is when her customers tell her what they need so that she can improve her service.
On a lighter note, this young lady’s favourite musician is Rihana because she is full of energy.
During her free time she loves hanging out with her family at the Simba Café Shop. However, she dislikes rumormongers because and said, “These people spend all their time talking false things which are not developmental.”
“I encourage all Nyamirambo people to be hard workers, they should stop wasting their time on useless things,” Nakku said adding, “When people talk about Nyamirambo, let them say that we are hard workers.”