Poivre Noir is another chef-owned addition to Kigali’s ever-expanding restaurant scene. It seems like these have been springing up with a bit of regularity over the past few years (along with L’Epicurien, Brachetto, and O’Tamarillo) much to my delight. As with the rest of these places, Poivre Noir impresses with a menu of great dishes and a nice atmosphere that is one of the most popular restaurants in the city for both lunch and dinner.
Helmed by Nathalie and John Goffin, Poivre Noir relocated to Kimihurura in the last year (and took over the old Chapter One location, if anyone remembers that far back). This relocation has been fantastic for the restaurant – the environment, from the porch to the classy decor, is much improved, and the food seems to only get better. There are always catchy tunes playing, and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. The waitstaff are attentive, and Nathalie, the manager and co-owner, flits from table to table checking it with customers – a really nice touch, and something that just elevates the restaurant further.
Lunch at Poivre Noir is incredibly reliable, and a great option in Kimihurura. Don’t miss their burger, a meal considered to be one of the best in Kigali. Though pricy at Rwf 7,500, it really is worth it. In addition to beef, chicken and vegetable burgers are also on offer, and the homemade ingredients really shine through. A great bun that’s just the perfect amount of bread, a meaty patty, fresh ingredients, and a really great side of chips to top it all off. The best part for me is that you can pay Rwf 500 for blue cheese and it comes out as a pretty substantial side perfect for dipping chips (which are also the best in the city – God bless the Belgian french fry!) and for slathering your burger in the deliciousness that is blue cheese. Or add other extras like pickles, guacamole, or smoked bacon for another Rwf 500 per topping. They also have a few fresh salads on offer, which make hearty meals for even the staunchest of meat lovers.
However, I have to say – the best thing about Poivre Noir right now for me is their dinner. They recently switched up their menu, and my goodness was I impressed. Their standards have really been raised as of late, and the offerings are wonderful.
They have really upgraded the menu, and feature starters such as a salmon ceviche marinated with orange and tamarind (Rwf 7,500), grilled goat cheese with sweet wine poached apples (Rwf 7,000), and a mushroom parmesan crumble with white truffle oil (Rwf 6,000). Though all the starters we tried were delicious, do not miss the mushroom parmesan crumble. It is such a flavorful and warming dish, and I’m usually a fan of mushrooms.
For their mains, Povire Noir offers a really tasty portobello risotto (Rwf 12,000), homemade ravioli with different filling options (Rwf 9,000), their delicious burgers (Rwf 8,500 at dinner), and a lot of impressive meat dishes. Their pork dishes are highly regarded, and a friend swore that the filet mignon de porc (Rwf 10,000) was one of the best pork dishes she ever had.
Poivre Noir is also beloved by steak eaters everywhere, and my dining parter was absolutely enamored with her beef tenderloin (Rwf 12,000). The beef was accompanied by herbs, rucola salad, and crispy waffle fries, with a choice between bernaise, black pepper, blue cheese, and mushroom sauce. The only main dish we weren’t obsessed with was the tilapia roasted with brown butter. It was fine, and perhaps at another restaurant would be deemed wonderful, but fell a bit short of the other dishes Poivre Noir had on offer. But, thats ok! So many other things were great, so our night was not spoiled in the slightest.
Now, moving onto possibly the most important part of the meal: dessert! And wow, if these aren’t some of Kigali’s best sweet treats. We tasted their Le Cafe Gourmand (Rwf 7,500), a selection of three mini dessert options with an espresso, and really enjoyed it. Their tiramisu (Rwf 5,500) and chocolate cake (Rwf 5,500) are also lovely, but the real star of the show here is the panna cotta with meringue and strawberries. Though I’m usually a chocolate fan (and don’t consider a dish a dessert without one), the panna cotta really was special – it was crunchy, tart, and creamy all at the same time, and was the perfect end to a really great meal.
As you can probably tell by my review, I’m a big fan of Poivre Noir. It’s a low key sort of a place with very high standards for food and cocktails. You can always count on a good meal here, and though the price is high, the quality of the ingredients, the service, and the stellar chef make it totally worth it.
Have you been yet? What do you think of Poivre Noir? Leave a comment and ratings in the section below and let us know!
Hours: Monday to Friday, Noon – 2pm and 6:30pm – 9:30pm, Saturday, 6:30 – 9:30pm, Closed Sunday
Phone: 0735 823 282