Bakeries in Kigali have grown over the past five years, with the sprouting of various establishments to meet the tastes of every palate. Among these establishments is Brioche, a chain of bakery-café/casual restaurants.
Brioche opened its doors at the Kigali Business Centre four years ago, when Jean-Phillipe Kayobotsi ventured into the bakery business. Brioche sought to bring a European model of cafes to Kigali. It started as a bakery, and has now morphed into a café-bistro restaurant with savoury options.
The coffee and bakery, named after the founder’s favourite bread, has expanded to four locations in Rwanda — Grand Pension Plaza, Kacyiru, Gacuriro and Kagugu.
Brioche has also set up shop in Kenya, operating at the Village Market mall and Watermark in Karen, Nairobi. Its business model has a centralised production facility at Rwanda’s Special Economic Zone, producing up to 5,000 pastries per day that are distributed to the various Brioche locations across the region in a temperature-controlled van.
I recently took my taste buds on a journey to Brioche Kacyiru, situated opposite the UK embassy. Brioche has a black and beige themed décor, with a modest minimalistic design. The walls are adorned by witty aphorisms. Celine Dion music playing in the background is enough to soothe all the day’s stresses away.
Christian, an attendant at Brioche Kacyiru, ushered me in with a hearty welcome. The delightful aroma of freshly baked pastry beckons as you walk in.
The presentation of pastries, desserts and other baked goods made me drool. The Brioche Burger, one of the restaurant’s lunch specials, is a must try. It is served with a handful of mildly hot and soft Belgian chips, salted to taste.
The quantity of chips served was rather too small for my liking, but delectable nonetheless.
The burger buns were fresh, with tenderised minced beef and melted cheese. The burger’s lettuce and tomatoes were moderately fresh, but the pickles were not to my taste.
Their lasagne Bolognese is served very hot, and I burnt my tongue on it. I enjoyed the dish till the last bite. The Bolognese sauce is made of soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of finely chopped beef cooked in red wine and tomatoes to form a thick sauce.
Brioche’s new chef, Serge, is from Togo and was trained in Belgium. He spent 25 years in Brussels as chief of kitchen preparing international and French cuisine. Chef Serge has expanded Brioche’s menus from coffee, pastries and bread to include more savoury options.
While Irish potatoes are Serge’s favourite food grown in Rwanda because of their superior flavour, he says he’s eager to feature other locally grown crops on the Brioche menu.
He likes the flavour of oyster mushrooms, and serves them in his vegetarian quiche and vegetable omelette. Brioche is also a lifestyle and a social hub that hosts business networking events dubbed “Apero after Work.”