Kigali’s Café Umut offers Turkish fare

Saturday May 11 2019

Chicken doner

Chicken doner served with chips, white rice and a vegetable salad at Café Umut, Kigali. PHOTO | JEFFERSON RUMANYIKA | NMG 

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I recently visited Café Umut Restaurant, the relatively new Turkish eatery in Kigali. It was opened early this year.

Café Umut is located at Chic shopping mall, just a stone’s throw away from the Kigali City bus terminus.

The café is a good vantage point to watch commuters dashing down the hill to board a bus.

Umut’s interior design is rich with wood and maroon colours both indoors and outdoors. It has a relaxed and friendly ambience partly due to its sidewalk café on the patio.

An attendant welcomed me warmly as soon as I had settled into a chair on the patio. He handed me the menu as soon as I got comfortable.

I was a little disappointed when I inquired about some meals and the attendant didn’t have a good grasp of the extensive menu.


And even more disappointing, many of the items on the menu were not Turkish. It read like a menu you could find in a fast casual restaurant, with some kebabs that I assume were Lebanese-inspired.

I settled for the Turkish special for the day, which was a chicken doner served with chips, white rice and a vegetable salad.

My meal was before me in a short while. The sliced chicken meat of the doner was served on a plate (my preference) with the pita bread beneath it, unlike the usual doner kebab wrap. The chicken was tender and seasoned straight from the rotisserie, and sliced into thin shavings.

The white rice was moist and slightly chewy, and the chips were soft and slightly crunchy. The mayonnaise in the coleslaw salad helped take down the rather dry meal.

Café Umut restaurant also serves local dishes and contemporary American and Italian dishes too.

The salads, snacks, steaks, soups, burgers, pizzas, grills and brochettes are usual fare. There are vegetarian options. There is also a wide range of drinks available.