If you’ve never spent any time in Uganda, you might be expecting that this article is about watches. But no. It’s about chapati. More than that, chapati stuffed with delicious ingredients and rolled up into a glorious tube to be served as a wonderful, quick meal known as a ‘rolex‘.
Rolex are a hugely popular Ugandan snack that can be found in every city and town, often served from small carts located on the side of the road. The street vendors are usually surrounded by several cartons of eggs, a small army of dough balls that will be rolled out into chapati (which is sort of like a round naan or a thick tortilla), and a large, flat, metal hot plate where the cooking magic happens.
The chapati is made fresh each day, then eggs are thrown onto the pan and cooked up with cabbage, tomato, and onion before being rolled up in the chapati and served. Word on the street is that the term ‘rolex’ comes from vendors shouting ‘rolled eggs’ to potential customers. I don’t know what the real story is, but I can say 100% that this snack has anything to do with fancy watches.
But why this lesson on rolex, you ask? Well! Ugandan-style rolex have been around in Kigali at certain restaurants for awhile, but things have been taken to the next level lately. Now Now Rolex are on the scene and they’ve taken this simple snack food and elevated it with a few spins on the traditional rolex.
Now Now Rolex first appeared at a few outdoor events and house parties and now they’ve opened a small restaurant at the top part of Kimihurura so you always know where to find them. Their menu is small but the selection is really interesting. You can go traditional with a Ugandan rolex (Rwf 2,000) with tomato, onion, and cabbage. Or go for the Rwandan spin on things with minced meat, beans, tomato, onion, pili pili, and even fries (Rwf 3,000) and you can wash it all down with a glass of Ikivuguto.
For me, what makes Now Now Rolex really great are their creative international options. For Rwf 3,500 you can grab either The Italian (mozzarella, basil, tomato, balsamic vinegar), The French (brie, caramelised ontion, honey, black pepper, rocket), The Greek (feta, spinach, tomato, balsamic vinegar), or The Mexican (chili con carne, gouda, salsa, guacamole). They also recently introduced a breakfast rolex with bacon and cheddar (Rwf 4,000).
I think my favourite is The French which is super weird since I don’t really like caramelised onion, honey, or rocket… but together it’s pretty amazing. I’m also a huge fan of The Mexican and the breakfast rolex. But that’s the beauty of this place… you have a few choices and everyone will hopefully find their favourite.
One thing I really love about Now Now Rolex is that they’re open until 4am on Friday and Saturday. Though brochettes and potatoes are delicious (especially while nicely drunk), it’s great to have some different options for late night feeding frenzies. Now Now Rolex fills that gap in the market and, though I haven’t stumbled in late at night after a raging party, perhaps one day I will and I’ll be very happy to stuff my face with their wonderful tubes of food. And if you want to keep the party going, they have a selection of beers including some hard-to-find Belgian gems for Rwf 5,000 a bottle.
The restaurant is small with a picnic table and a few stools inside plus some tables outside. It seems more popular as a takeaway place but I really like the setup they have outside and it would be a nice place to hang out on a sunny day for a beer and a quick meal. It’s a super casual, laid back type of place and I like that. Or if you’d rather stay put at home, they’ll deliver for an extra Rwf 1,000.
Service is fast and friendly and some of the cooks will even do a bit of chapati flipping for you. I’m impressed with this place. The menu is small but has something for everyone, I think. It seems like Now Now has been designed as a place to grab a quick bite. They’ve certainly accomplished their goal, with food that’s both fast and tasty. They’re in a great location, too. Roll on in after a night out at Sundowner sometime soon!
Have you tried Now Now? Let us know what your experience was like in the comments below!
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8am – 11pm, Friday, 8am – 4am, Saturday 11am – 4am, Sunday, 11am – 11pm
Phone: 0780 458 158