Are there any words to describe the grandeur and the glory that is the Fantastic Restaurant lunch buffet? Speechless and sweating after my first experience, I was lost in thought, I was conquered by this, the King of Kigali buffets.
If you are looking for a change to your lunch buffet circuit, I highly recommend this spot. Though I wouldn’t call this a one shot deal. A hit and quit. The spread at Fantastic Restaurant is so expansive it may take a couple tries to really get the full experience. You should go. But go twice. Fantastic isn’t for the faint at heart – although the sign outside boasts a First Aid Department – your trip will take patience, perseverance, and a hearty helping of endurance.
My first experience at Fantastic was… overwhelming. Halfway through the buffet line my plate was full and I hadn’t even gotten to the meat and potatoes of it. I had no idea how colossal this buffet was and realized – all too late – there’s a method and I missed the mark.
On my return visit, I went prepared. Vengeful and hungry. What’s the big deal you ask? Fantastic Restaurant’s lunch buffet offers all the traditional Rwandan food cooked every which way. There’s a great variety to chose from. When I say variety, I mean, some of us like peas and carrots, some of us like carrots and peas. Expect fantastic restaurant to have both options (talk about variations on a theme).
Feeling better equipped my second time around, my lunch was more successful. Heed my advice, this buffet is colossal; your typical buffet approach should be adjusted accordingly. You owe it to yourself to try, but first-timers be warned. You’ll be hit with a lot all at once and a few tips will go a long way.
Know it gets packed at lunch, a good indication there are many faithfuls. It’s a favorite spot for many business lunchers in town. Find your table and chose wisely. You will be sitting there as you take on (eat) your meal. The ceilings are low and it gets hot. If you get a table by the windows you’re lucky, if you get a spot on the balcony, you’re downright blessed.
The buffet costs Rwf 1,800 and you pay first. At the cashier you’ll place a drink order and be handed a soup bowl. Don’t skip the soup; I tried the creamed vegetable soup of an indistinguishable composite and curious green hue. What ever it was, it was TASTY! Oh, and by the way, soft drinks are Rwf 500. The price is right but you may want to pass on any carbonated beverage. Save room for the food.
After the soup, it’s time to get down! Deep breath. The plates are small. The task at hand is large. You WILL NOT be able to try everything offered on the buffet, even if you limited yourself to a taste of each item. I counted 33 catering stands, each holding 2 or 3 pans with different dishes. Do the math. According to my calculations, that’s a lot of food.
At my first Fantastic lunch, the fresh vegetables were waiting at the end but I had to pass. there was no vacant space on my plate. During my most recent trip, I was excited to see the salad stuffs at the beginning. But alas, it was a trick! Unless you’re into hot cucumbers and melted avocado, be well aware your salad will be buried. You can’t simply place it on the side of your place and expect it to remain unscathed. It will be consumed by what’s to come.
So the food. My technique was to pile food all along the sides of my plate and then fill the middle. And then pile food all along the sides and then fill the middle. And again, repeat.
I sat down with my four-tier meal. Eating is a matter of excavating whatever is buried underneath. The only means to finding something you want is eating everything in your path. Enjoy the journey. Be aware that while you are still merely breaking the surface, the underneaths are melding beautifully. Embrace that your meal has become one as you uncover foods you don’t remember even putting on your plate. It will be delicious!
One suggestion: keep your sweet potatoes and cassava leaves separate. Like the rabbit and the snake of the Chinese zodiac, these two beasts ought not mix.
Just be smart about it, okay? A meal at Fantastic Restaurant is no small feat.
Fantastic Restaurant may have a high turnover as a self-serve dine, but expect great service with a smile. The staff is more than happy to bring you a drink or explain what unidentifiable dish you are contemplating as you pass though the line. This added service is really helpful around the potatoes-plus-one section (as you round the first bend…you’ll see what I mean).
With such a diligent staff don’t try and go through the line a second time, they’ll know. You have one shot. Give it your best. And remember there’s always next time to try even more.
This place is hard to miss. If you come to KCT from the circle in town, you’ll pass KCT on your left. Fantastic is directly across the street on your right. You can’t miss the big blue painted letters marking FANTASTIC RESTAURANT. There’s even a stage with a small sound system and drum kit. Expect live entertainment on the weekends.
Hours: 7am – 11pm every weekday
Phone: 0750 220 800
More Info: Fantastic Restaurant on Eating in Kigali