Kigali is a growing hub of a wide range of cafes and restaurants for all types of international cuisine and Mocha Cafe is the latest addition. But this place is a bit more unique than your average Italian or Chinese restaurant… Yemeni food, anyone? Yes please! Well actually… I really have no idea what Yemeni food entails as a whole, but the few dishes on offer at Mocha Cafe have been incredibly delicious.
The food served up at this small cafe that’s been set up in a house in Gacuriro isn’t 100% Yemeni but it is run by a couple from there. They serve up many of the usual cafe offerings like omelettes (Rwf 1,900 to 2,500), pancakes (Rwf 1,800 to 3,200), salads (Rwf 2,000 to 3,700), pizza (Rwf to 2,800 to 5,700), burgers (Rwf 3,900 to 4,200), and sandwiches (Rwf 1,000 to 3,900) and throw in a few exciting Yemeni and Middle Eastern dishes as well. Their prices are very good and I really love the diversity of their menu.
I’m going to throw down and say that Mocha Cafe has, in my opinion, not only the best hummus in Kigali but some of the best hummus I’ve ever had. And I eat a lot of hummus. It amazes me how terribly wrong hummus can go, especially since it has so few ingredients and that ‘blend’ is the single method of production. But, oh the bad hummus I’ve eaten! Including my own… the hummus smoothie I accidentally made being the worst offender.
But whatever the secret to great hummus is, the folks at Mocha Cafe know it. Their hummus plate with meat (Rwf 4,500) is one of my favourite dishes in Kigali and the Yemeni chapati that comes with it is light and flaky and not at all like a typical chapati. It really is wonderful. Plus they also make use of their amazing hummus in a variety of sandwiches including, for the brave, a hummus peanut butter, and banana sandwich. I am not brave.
If you’re like me and have an obsession with cardamom then Mocha Cafe is the place for you. Not only do they serve up a very tasty and cardamom-heavy ‘Yemeni Light Coffee’ (something I’ve never seen or even heard of before), the spice also features heavily in their incredibly delicious ‘Chicken Zurban’ (Rwf 6,500). This dish seems like a tasty variation on biryani where rice is served with a sort of saucy chicken stew on top. The last time I was there it wasn’t listed on their menu, but ask for it because it’s incredible. It’s also huge and it would be a great dish to share, especially with a hummus plate to go along with it.
Including the aforementioned (and intriguing but slightly terrifying) hummus, peanut butter, and banana sandwich and Chicken Zurbian, Mocha Cafe has a few dishes that are a bit unique for Kigali. They offer up an English breakfast (Rwf 4,200) which is something that’s a bit hard to find in Kigali. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s next on my list, for sure. They also have a few options for vegans including vegan hummus (where they top it with a variety of veggies), vegan soup (Rwf 2,900), and they can make any of their smoothie bowls with soya milk for an extra Rwf 800.
One place where Mocha Cafe lets me down just a bit is that it’s not exactly cozy. The outdoor seating area is breezy and fine on a nice day, but it doesn’t work so well in the rain. Plus it can sometimes get hot under there and the chairs and table are a bit wobbly and not the most comfortable in the world. I’d love to come here and hang out while enjoying a slow meal, tapping away on my laptop like a nerd, but the outdoor area isn’t so set up for people who want to hunker down and do some work. The inside part is a bit more cozy but the low tables aren’t so great for the laptop warriors among us. It’s a place to go with a friend, not with a computer but that’s ok because there are plenty of great places to work in Kigali so this is really just a tiny thing.
Overall I love Cafe Mocha! The owners are very friendly and are usually around and pop out to say hi. I love to see immigrants and business owners from a wide variety of countries and it’s so cool to see that this relatively small city even has a place to find Yemeni food! That’s very cool to me. I would be here all the time if I lived closer to Gacuriro but still, it’s one of those places where I don’t mind travelling across town to visit.
Seriously… their hummus is great.
Hours: Daily, 7:30 am – 9 pm
Phone: 0782 987 011