We had a gala event here in Bujumbura! Sort of. We went to the grand opening of an internationally renowned restaurant on Monday night. In Kampala and Kigali there are Khazana Indian restaurants and they are rumored to be among the best in the region. And they’ve now opened in Bujumbura!
Mike has been to the Kigali restaurant and raved about it, so we were pretty excited when we heard they were opening here. And it’s right down the street from our house. You can’t understand what a luxury the proximity is. We were thrilled to see the sign on the walk home from tennis lessons last weekend.
In true Bujumbura fashion the service was pretty bad. We’re used to wait staff speaking French and understanding a bit of English when it comes to food and drink, but we can’t figure out what language these waiters spoke or understood, except that it wasn’t French, English, or the local Kirundi. We’re guessing Swahili, which is used throughout the region. But the only Swahili we know is jambo and hakuna matata. (And do you know it only recently occurred to me that I knew hakuna matata? I didn’t realize it was Swahili and until Monday I hadn’t actually heard anyone say it outside of The Lion King. Thanks Disney movies!) And restaurant service is painfully slow here, which we've begrudgingly become accustomed to. (It wouldn't be so bad if they kept serving drinks while you waited, but in empty restaurants the waiters just disappear into thin air for ages. You'd think they'd want you to keep drinking pricey drinks.) There’s hope for this place to be a bit faster once they work out the opening-night kinks.
Mike commented on how the décor was exactly the same as the Kigali location. And you know what? The Kigali restaurant recently closed down for tax evasion. We suspect they just packed up and moved the whole restaurant down here, to the land of no foreseeable tax laws. We think that if they moved all the staff, too, that could account for the lack of speaking French and the waiter not knowing what Fruito was, when it’s pretty much the national drink here.
Since they served a limited tasting menu on Monday, I think we’re going back this weekend now that they’re serving the full menu. I’m jonsin’ for some paneer.