Kisimenti, an upmarket suburb of Kampala close to most of the major business hotels, has a great restaurant scene, and The Bistro is among its best offerings. Thanks to its consistently high ratings and great feedback, we had to stop by and check it out for ourselves.
The setting reminds us of a hip Brooklyn loft apartment, transplanted to Kampala and broken up by plants and tropical birdsong. As you might imagine, there’s plenty of dark wood, exposed brick work and hipster lighting. One wall is taken up by an enormous teal world map, while Marilyn Monroe laughs seductively from behind a bookcase on another.
In New York, this place might draw a specific kind of crowd, but in Kampala it’s a crowd-pleaser, tickling the taste buds of everyone from scruffy backpackers to business travelers, families and government ministers. Friday is live music night, and the place gets lively with groups of friends and couples enjoying gin and tonics or strawberry daiquiris. Monday is burger night, when two plates of burgers and chips can be had for 35,000 Ugandan shillings (US$11.50). From Monday to Saturday, it’s open from 7am to 10pm, with more limited daytime hours on Sundays.
Come for breakfast and you can expect things like mushroom ciabatta (USh19,000), breakfast burritos and delicious bacon roasties – roast potatoes topped with soft poached eggs, bacon, rocket and drizzled with a lemony, creamy sauce. The snack and light lunch menu includes chicken quesadillas (USh18,500) and BLT sandwiches. The steak salad, tossed with arugula and runner beans, is a winner.
As well as Indian options, burgers and grilled seafood, there’s a great tapas menu here. Think chicken satay, caprese salad, garlic shrimp, calamari, sesame chicken and even more creative, albeit less healthy Ugandan fusion options such as cassava wedges and deep-fried matooke (Ugandan banana mash).