1000 Hills Distillery is a distillery (yep!) and a restaurant rolled up into one beautiful package that’s perched atop a hill a short drive beyond Kicukiro. It’s a beautiful, custom-built space and it’s well worth the trek out there, whether your plan is to take a tour and do a tasting, or if you want to spend a lovely afternoon or evening with friends enjoying a meal and some tasty cocktails. Be sure to stick around until after dark to take advantage of their cozy outdoor fireplace with a view.
It took me ages to finally make my way over to 1000 Hills Distillery. I have this weird aversion to going places when I don’t know exactly where they are, especially when they’re not even within the borders of my Kigali map. Plus I don’t have a car. Plus a bunch of other silly reasons that make no sense. I’m completely kicking myself now because this place is a real gem and I totally could have been eating delicious steaks and drinking tasty cocktails while enjoying a great view for years, instead of months. Don’t be a damned fool like me! Get there, asap.
The menu us small but there’s a nice selection of starters that are good for sharing. They have satay sticks that come in chicken or beef for Rwf 2,500 each, or mushroom for Rwf 2,000 per stick. The We got a couple as a snack just to try them out for my review and I have to admit that two lonely brochettes on a fairly large wooden board doesn’t have much of a ‘wow’ factor as far as presentation goes, but they were really delicious. The dipping sauce is very yummy and the mushroom satay stick is especially good as it’s something I haven’t seen elsewhere in Kigali. If you’re a group of friends and more in for a snack than a full meal then ordering a bunch of these is easy and tasty. Easy and tasty – together at last!
The chips and guacamole (Rwf 2,500) is another dish that’s great for sharing. The chips are homemade and are very good. So crispy and moreish and perfect for dipping. The guacamole is also good and it even comes in different levels of spiciness which is kind of cool. You can also order tacos one at a time so getting a bunch of satay sticks, guacamole, and tacos as starters is a great way to be able to sample most of the dishes on offer at 1000 Hills Distillery. Or you can get tacos or satay sticks as a main dish with chips and a small salad for Rwf 10,000.
But lets be real… when it comes to a main dish, the big attraction is their steak (Rwf 15,000). Not only is it delicious – it draws crowds, it entertains! The steak alone is a great reason to come to 1000 Hills Distillery. It’s as much an experience as it is a meal. Your huge cut of filet steak is served to you atop a red hot lava stone with all of the accompanying smoke and sizzle you’d expect. Actually, I’ve never seen a steak cooking on a hot lava stone in my life, so I had no idea what to expect. But it’s impressive, let me tell you.
It’s recommended that you leave the steak on the rock for a bit to let it cook, then to slide your knife under, flip it over, and cook it to your preferred done-ness (is done-ness a word?). Chop it into slices, cook it a bit more if you like, and then remove it and gobble it all up! The chips are crispy and delicious and you have a choice between peppercorn or mushroom sauce for all of your dipping needs. It’s a seriously good (and fun!) meal that you won’t forget anytime soon.
But really, what is a meal at a distillery without sampling its boozy wares? 1000 Hills Distillery make gin, vodka, whiskey, rum, and a coffee liqueur (in partnership with Question Coffee who make the best brew in Kigali) and they have a whole slew of cocktails on offer using their own product. To keep things simple, all cocktails are Rwf 5,000 and there are 12 to choose from, four choices per spirit. If you’d rather sample their spirits straight up, you can take a shot for Rwf 2,000. Or they also have local beer (Rwf 1,500), imported beer (Rwf 2,500), and bottles (Rwf 22,000) and glasses (Rwf 4,500) of house red and white wine.
But the cocktails are the main draw for me. I seem to have sampled a fair few of them, even though I’ve only been to 1000 Hills Distillery twice. Ah the hardships I endure in order to bring you reviews! The mojito is one of the best in the city and, since it’s my favourite cocktail in general, it’s the one I’d recommend trying. I’ve also tried their Cuba Libre, The Mule, and the Dark-n-Stormy. Everything I’ve had so far has been really good and I’d go so far as to say they make the best cocktails in Kigali. At Rwf 5,000 for what is often a very generous glass of booze, it’s also one of the more affordable places to sip cocktails.
As you can likely tell, I’m a big fan of 1000 Hills Distillery. Not only do they serve up great food and drinks, they do it with that little bit of extra creativity in a beautiful setting. It’s a destination in itself and you won’t regret making the trek beyond Kicukiro for a meal or a distillery tour.
Have you been? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!