Monmartse Korean Pub

Monmartse is a relatively new Korean place located just behind RDB. I heard about it a few months ago, but who knows how long its been lurking back there. Korean food fans should check it out because I’m told it’s the real deal. As for me,  I don’t know a damned thing about Korean food and a trip to this place just confirmed my ignorance. It’s ok though because it makes ordering fun!

In true Korean style, there are lots of fermented things to choose from but, as fermented food freaks me out, I steered clear and opted instead for a pork dish with rice. Pork and rice… that, I understand. It was really delicious but I was happy that my lunch buddy opted to get the fermented soybean dish so I could be adventurous without actually committing to being too adventurous. I tried some of the kimchi side dishes and my timid foray into fermented food was a success. It’s pretty tasty. Still freaky, though.

The portion sizes here are quite large. I wolfed down my entire pork and rice dish but I could have easily shown some restraint and done with much less. You could get away with sharing two meals between three people which, along with the free water and coffee, could mean a very economical meal.

Pork and Rice

For any of you Korean foodies out there, here’s a list of the dishes they have on the menu:

  • Doinjang (Rwf 5,000)
  • Bibimbap (Rwf 8,000)
  • Jeyuk Deobap (Rwf 6,000)
  • Japchae Bap (Rwf 6,000)
  • Bulgogi (Rwf 6,000)
  • Samgyeopsal (Rwf 6,000)
  • Dakduritang (Rwf 20,000)
  • Bibim Kuksu (Rwf 5,000)
  • Sujebi (Rwf 3,000)

Plus a few more that I was too lazy to write down. Luckily for us ignoramuses (ah I love that ridiculous word!), their menu has pretty thorough descriptions about what each dish entails. So it’s not too shocking when the food arrives. Plus the photos of food they have on the menu are actually photos of their food… something that doesn’t seem to happen all that often in Kigali. The menu is pretty small but that makes me feel like they’ve got a few good dishes mastered, rather than trying to be everything to everyone. You might be comforted to know that they offer brochettes, tilapia, and chicken Rwandan style.

There’s nothing great about the atmosphere… it seems like a typical Kigali beer garden. Sort of a Korean food version of Karibu. But it’s nice to be out in the garden when the weather’s nice and the indoor seating seems decent enough. It was pretty dead when we were there so things could start to feel a bit more lively and nice if it were full in the evening.

Fermented Soybeans

The service here is certainly prompt with the freebies, bringing out the complimentary bottled water right after we sat down and the free coffees (yep, free) just as we finished our meal – whether we wanted them or not (which we did, so it was a nice touch). One friend, happy to see kichmi in Kigali, asked to buy some and the owner brought her out a small container full of the stuff but wouldn’t accept any payment. Monmartse… the land of the freebies!

While the owner seems very nice, the servers themselves aren’t the most friendly or attentive, tending to congregate together at the side of the garden rather than checking up on guests. Despite there being only two tables to serve, the people at the other table had to repeatedly shout to get their attention. Not helping the matter, the servers have that blank stare sort of approach where they seem like serving you food is the last thing they want to be doing at that moment in time. But the food is good and they get the job done, so that’s fine with me. I learned a long time ago to stop hoping for service with a smile. Service with a scowl will do just fine as long as the meal comes in good time and the bill is correct.

I like this place and I’d recommend giving it a try. The food is good and it seems like pretty authentic Korean fare. Food comes quickly and the garden is nice so it makes a nice stop for lunch. Check it out!

Hours: Daily, 7am – 10pm
Phone: 0789 146 799 / 0738 146 799
More Info: Monmartse on Eating in Kigali

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About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.