Cafe Gourmand: A very chic patisserie
Having collected us from the airport at stupid o'clock off the redeye flight from Kigali, our friend took one look at our bleary eyes and drove us straight to Cafe Gourmand for breakfast. And what a breakfast it was!
Put simply, Cafe Gourmand is the sort of cafe that wouldn't be out of place in the swishest suburbs of Paris. It's owned by an expat Frenchman, and it shows ... the patisserie is wonderful, and the bread is even better! We ordered from the breakfast menu, which was wonderful - if a litle pricey - and returned a couple of times over the next couple of days to stock up on wonderfully crusty baguettes, delectable pain au chocolate and the amazing fruit-based patisserie that the French do so well.
The facilities are also excellent and the interior of the cafe is air conditioned to the point of chilliness, which is a welcome counterpoint to the oppressive humidity of the Buj climate. However, if you'd like to sit outside, there is also an elegant rooftop terrace ... being located in the downtown, it doesn't offer much in the way of a view, but nonetheless it's a very pleasant space. I understand that there is also free wifi, although we didn't try it.
As you might imagine, a place of this quality is VERY popular, so be prepared to wait for a table, and to queue for a long time, even if you're only dropping in to buy bread or cakes. The last time I visited was after dark, and the good natured queue had snaked out of the door and down onto the pavement!
Unusually for an African restaurant, there is wheelchair/pram access via a ramp from the pavement to the shop and cafe (although not to the roof terrace).
Kiboka's Pub, Grill and Pizza: The best pizza in Buj!
Kiboka’s Pub, Grill and Pizza at the Ubuntu Hotel at the Ubuntu Hotel reputedly sells the best pizza in Buj – and although I have not conducted exhaustive personal research to verify this claim, I defer to both my husband and our local business associate, who have put their arteries and waistlines at risk in this noble cause!
Firstly, the setting is lovely: located on the causeway fringing the shore of Lake Tanganyika running south from the port, it offers beautiful vistas over the lake to the mountains of DRC which rear up from the opposite shore.
Probably more important for your sanity, it attracts the lake breezes which provide welcome relief from Buj’s oppressive heat and humidity. And for entertainment value, the terrace overlooks the lake and the road, from where you can watch the joggers along the lakeshore.
More importantly, the pizzas are truly excellent and clearly cooked in a wood burning oven. Would they be recognised as authentic in Naples? Well, probably not, but that doesn’t preclude them from being delicious and generously proportioned with a good selection of toppings. Washing these down with an ice cold quart of the local Primus beer as you watch the sun sink behind the lake and paint the mountains in twilight shades is an almost unbeatable way to end a day!
Just bear in mind that you’ll need to apply insect repellent to deter the mosquitoes that are the least pleasant aspect of Bujumbura nightlife.
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LE KASUKU (BUJUMBURA): LIGHT MY FIRE
‘Kasuku’ is the Swahili word for an African grey parrot. To me it translates as “Wow!”. Le Kasuku served me one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed in Africa. They are simply the best Restaurant in Bujumbura. The food is exceptional, the décor is fascinating and the service is second to absolutely no one.
At the end of a very bad day I walked into their tranquil garden and immediately sensed this was going to be a fantastic dinning experience. I was met by one of the waiters who invited me to select my own table and a cold Primus beer appeared immediately. Looking over the menu I could not believe the mouth-watering descriptions. Meats, fish, pasta, pizza. It all sounded good. I could hear a happy buzz from the nearby kitchen and had a good look around the garden and restaurant. There were vintage wines with suitable dust on the bottles (pictured), wooden masks, colourful art work, a jungle bar, some interesting maps and a couple of cats lurking at a respectable distance in the shadows.
I really could not decide and the waiter suggested a steak that mentioned something about ‘self-selected cuts of meat’. OK – I will try it. My order was placed and the kitchen clanged into action. Then the lights went out. No problem. A candle appeared on my table from the dark and then the generator began to hum.
A little while later a wooden tray with a charcoal burner at the end was produced and the waiter duly set fire to it. Then 2 juicy beef filets arrived along with an amazing salad & sauce holder. In fact the holder (pictured) held so many sauces and salads that it was placed on its own separate stool! I placed the meat on its little rotisserie and began to cook!
What I ended up with was juicy steak cooked to absolute perfection accompanied by several delicious sauces and 3 types of marinated salads. I ate every single bite with great relish.
During my enjoyable visit there was a waiter always within a 5 meters waiting to see if I wanted anything. Beers arrived instantly. I only wished I did not have an early start the next day or I would have definitely sampled the wine list.
If you only spend one night in Bujumbura – make sure you dine at Le Kasuku.
Closed MondaysRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Luxury Travel
chevalier: best restaurant in town
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Favorite Dish: greek food like suzuki, moussaka, tzaziki
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B.P 1267 Bujumbura, Burundi, Africa
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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