Why all the Asian fusion restaurants clutter together in Nyarutarama is a mystery, but the two best (read: only) options in Kigali are Zen and Sakae, both situated along the main road heading to the MTN Center. While Zen focus on Thai style dishes, Sakae has a lot more Korean and Japanese.
Sakae opened fairly recently, but has already gained popularity among Kigalians. Though it’s slightly pricey, the food is delicious and totally worth it. They have plenty of sushi options (including a mix plate for Rwf 12,000 and Sashimi set for Rwf 11,000). As far as I remember, Zen don’t actually have sashimi, so…yay! Most Korean dishes will cost you from Rwf 5,000 – 8,000. For a great lunch alternative try their Lunch Box (Rwf 7,000) with tempura, sushi, beef/chicken, and marinated tofu, and octopus. It was supposed to come with a pancake, but I never got it. By the time I was done eating, I was too full to thing about it, but it did dawn on me later.
Another cool thing about Sakae is the complementary Miso soup and little avocado salad they give you as starters. Although this could just be part of the lunch deals. The chicken teryaki dish cost Rwf 7,000 and with the rice, soup and salad might have been enough for two people to share. Plus it was served on a sizzling, iron cat which is odd but awesome. I also highly recommend the tempura ice cream. Yum!
Apart from good food and (almost too) speedy service, the general feel of the place is quite satisfying as well. The view over the serene Kibagaga hill can be enjoyed through the big windows covering the wall, and there are also outdoor seating options.
Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of the airy hall. When I came here for lunch, there were hardly any other costumers (apart from this annoying Swedish girl that kept bugging me), and it did fell kind of lonely. Also, they might have gone a little ‘IKEA-on-speed’ on the Japanese lamps, but otherwise the wooden décor is soothing and calming and… everything else Asian fusion is supposed to make you feel. Combined with the giant pot of green tea, you are likely to lull yourself into coma. And who doesn’t love a good coma once in a while?
I never tried the bathrooms here (we usually prefer walking to Magda café for that), but I’m sure they are perfectly perfect as well. It’s a good place, guys: you should all try it out. Do beware of the steep hill back to the main road, however, especially if you had too much of that tempura ice cream…