After being up and running for six years, Papyrus has certainly managed to gather a sizable group of regulars, both among locals and expats. This charming Italian restaurant might be more known for its late night dancing and mid-week escapades, and while it still has a way to go in terms of menu and customer service, it is a wonderful place to go for a hearty Italian meal.
The best item on the menu is unquestionably the lasagna, though gnocchi with spinach and bacon comes in at a good second. The menu also offers traditional Rwandan food like brochettes and fries, as well as a small selection of salads and starters. If you’re lucky, they’ll have the tiramisu, though as a general trend they always tend to be out of at least a third of their dishes. With such an extensive menu, it really comes as no surprise that they’re unable to offer all dishes at any given time, but it definitely is irritating when you have asked for three different pasta sauces, and the only answer the waiter seem to have for you is: ‘sorry, we’re out.’
The prices recently increased, but are still on a reasonable level for the amount and quality of the food you get. Most main dishes range between Rwf 4,000-6,000, with the pizzas often being a bit cheaper. Good options for a little munch are the eggplant gratin starter or the mozzarella and tomato salad, both for around Rwf 3,000.
As the last pearl on the strand of Kimihurura restaurants, Papyrus is in good company. The area is packed with dining and lounge options, but Papyrus seems to be the spot everyone ends up at in the end. While the food undoubtedly is enjoyable, what draws most people to the restaurant is the warm and buzzing atmosphere. I have yet to find Papyrus empty on any night of the week, and for a glass (or three) of wine and a shared pizza, there truly are few better alternatives.
After having lived in the city for quite some time, bad costumer service has become customary to the Kigali dining experience. It is sad, however, that a decent restaurant cannot seem to improve the speediness and attentiveness of their staff. The food might be good and reasonably priced, but when you have to wait an hour for it, the meal gets a bitter aftertaste of annoyance. To nourish your patience, there is always the option of enjoying a half carafe of wine while you wait, and set at Rwf 6,000 Papyrus is one of the cheapest expat places to do just that.
The reason you choose Papyrus won’t be based on the food, but on the atmosphere and the crowd. For a poor volunteer the prices might be a bit too high, but as pre-drink dining option, Papyrus is a treat we all should allow ourselves once in awhile.