Billy’s Bistro inside the Century Park development in Nyarutarama seems to have emerged as a popular Kigali spot, especially for lunch. I’ve been meaning to check it out for months but the rainy season has left me fearful of straying too far from home. Since I live way up on Mount Kigali, everywhere is far… but Nyarutarama seems especially far and risky for me as a moto-taker who prefer to remain dry. But after a flurry of great reviews on social media and since I was running out of time on this trip (and since I got a ride with a friend) I finally made it out to Billy’s Bistro last week for lunch and it was a lovely experience.
Billy’s Bistro are quite active on social media and one of the main things they’re sharing around is their business lunch where they promise to serve you in under 30 minutes. This has got to be one of Kigali’s best bargains, especially considering the quality of the food. The lunch runs during the week between noon and 3pm and the options change often. You’re presented with a menu of five courses with two choices in each. You can then choose a dish from two (Rwf 7,500), three (Rwf 9,000), four (Rwf 10,500), or all five (Rwf 12,000) categories (soup, starter, pasta, main, dessert) plus you also get access to their simple salad bar. My friend and I did to two course deal and were nicely stuffed. I got the pork ragu pasta as my main and, though simple in appearance, it was packed with flavour and I was really impressed.
I was happy to see that chocolate mousse was one of the two options for the fixed business lunch menu when we went and that was my choice for the dessert course. I happen to be of the opinion that it’s not a dessert unless it involves chocolate in some way (controversial, I know) and chocolate mousse is one of my favourites. I wasn’t a massive fan of the crumbled stuff on top, but the chocolate mousse itself was rather glorious and a deceptively large portion, as well. The other option for dessert on the fixed lunch was fruit salad. I poo poo fruit salad as a dessert. It’s breakfast. But I suppose some out there would be happy to see a light option to finish their meal with. I am not this person.
Of course I had to try a cocktail. For review purposes, you see. Plus I was with a friend who had the day off and Billy’s Bistro just seems like the sort of place one mush have a cocktail. I was a bit surprised that they don’t have a cocktail menu because the bar seems very well stocked and it seems to be a main feature of the decor. I was told that they could make whatever we asked for, but this never usually works for me because I always get flustered and just order a mojito. Well I suppose I’d probably order a mojito anyway even if there was a cocktail menu, so there’s that. But it’s at least good to see what’s on offer and it would be cool if they had that awesome bar of theirs cranking out some signature cocktails. They do have an impressive wine list though, so they’ve got you covered there for sure.
When I went back the second time to Billy’s Bistro it was also for lunch but I decided to order a la carte instead of from the business lunch menu. I wanted to sample some items on the fixed menu and I was happy I gave it a try. Their menu is a perfect size so that you’ve got plenty of options for starters, mains, and dessert, but it’s not so huge that you get the feeling that the don’t have half of the dishes or ingredients. I always love a small, focused menu over one that seems to be trying too hard to be all things to all people. For a place with an Italian manager and chef and a largely Italian focus, you may be surprised to learn that they don’t do pizza… but I think this is a good thing! They have a small but enticing selection of salads, lots of meaty mains, and I just get the impression that a lot of thought has gone into this menu and everything looks tempting.
If you’re looking for an epic starter to share, try the ‘Mozzarella in Carrozza’ (Rwf 6,000). I have no idea what Carrozza is but this dish of enormous deep fried hunks of mozzarella is the definition of comfort food. The tomato sauce with Parmesan and the little dollops of jam (weird but good) around the edge were the perfect compliment for dipping. Come with friends! I would not recommend attempting to eat this gigantic dish alone. I did, and a part of me feels proud but most of me feels a deep shame. It’s stodgy and super filling and delicious but man oh man… I was full until the next morning and I had it for lunch!
Most of the pasta here is homemade which is nice to see. The ravioli with ricotta and spinach (Rwf 10,000) was fantastic. The pasta was perfectly al dente and they were stuffed full with spinach and ricotta. I’m not sure what the pile of green stuff was doing on top or what it even was, but I pushed it aside and enjoyed a fabulous dish. They’re very generous here with Parmesan and it melded well with the sauce. My only complaint for all of the dishes I’ve had here is that the tomato sauce for my ravioli was just a bit too salty for me, but it might be perfect for someone else. Hard to say with salt! Overall I really liked the dish.
I finished my lunch with a very fantastic tiramisu (Rwf 6,000). I find that a lot of places in Kigali seem to mess around with tiramisu to try to make it more fancy or to put their own spin on it. Billy’s Bistro serve it up as the tiramisu Gods intended and it’s excellent. It’s huge (which you might expect for the Rwf 6,000 price tag) and perfect for sharing. As with the fried mozzarella, I also consumed this monster of a dessert all on my own. Again… pride? Shame? I’m so confused.
The decor here is top notch with an obvious amount of care taken to create a place with a nice vibe. It’s not so great when it rains since the ceiling is very high and the walls are open, so rain can find a way of getting the tables at the edge. But there’s plenty of seating so you’ll find somewhere to flee to if you start to get wet. My friend and I actually enjoyed the slight spray of rain on the humid day. But we’re weird.
My favourite thing about Billy’s Bistro is how friendly they are and how hard they try to make sure you have a lovely meal and overall experience. Marco, the manager, makes sure to greet customers and often the chef will come out as well to say hello. The servers are all also very friendly and attentive.
I’m very impressed with this place and thing it’s got a lot going for it. They just started a Sunday brunch that gets a big thumbs up from a friend of mine and they always seem to be innovating and offering things in addition to their regular menu. Stop by and give them a try and let us know what you think!
Phone: 0781 444 176
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am – Midnight, Weekends, 8am – Midnight