The Bistro at Urban Hotel

Urban Hotel seems to have sprung up almost overnight in Kiyovu, just down the road from Hotel Gorillas. It’s an orange site to behold! All modern-looking with a restaurant perched at the top. The Bistro at Urban Hotel offers up the usual things you’d come to expect at a Kigali restaurant – club sandwich (Rwf 5,800), burger, fish, and a few salads. Plus it’s also got some more interesting choices like the coffee-encrusted steak.

The food was ok. Not great, not bad. Well, the chicken Caesar salad (Rwf 5,000) didn’t get great reviews and the croutons were pretty mushy and gross. My burger (Rwf 5,800) was pretty good. The bun was a bit too huge for the burger, but it came with a pickle on it and the usual fixins’, so that was a nice bonus. The fries were good but they skimp a lot on the ketchup and mayo so if you like your condiments, you might as well ask for extra straight away. The bruschetta (Rwf 2,500) was unusual, with more avocado on it than tomatoes, but really tasty.

A friend had the very strange request of putting chicken onto her mozzarella salad. I know… weirdo! But, after some odd looks, the salad did indeed come with chicken on top. It looked tremendously unappetizing to my discerning palette but she enjoyed it and I guess it’s good to see them able to take on alterations to the menu, no matter how bizarre. Another nice service touch was having the manage come out to suggest that two bruschetta bread orders might be too much for two people. We opted to share one instead, thanks to her advice and it was the right choice.

The service was pretty good for Kigali but could use a little work here and there. The drinks took ages and then when two were ready, they sat on the bar for about 15 minutes while they made the third cocktail after getting the original order wrong (bringing a Primus instead of a Pimm’s). Maybe it’s some service thing that all drinks have to come out at once but it’s frustrating to see your lovely mojito (Rwf 6,500) sitting on the bar for ages while the ice melts and your thirst grows. Especially when you ask them to bring it only to have them leave it there and tell you it’s coming soon. But the drinks were worth the wait. The mojito was really good and the margarita (Rwf 6,000) got good reviews as well. This place has a lot of drinks on offer, much like Zen. I’ve heard they’re run or owned or something by the same people, so whoever runs these places knows how to mix a pretty good cocktail.

Not completely sure what to think of The Bistro after my first visit, I’ve since been back twice. On my second trip I ordered the chicken wings with blue cheese dressing and the bruschetta again. The chicken wings were tasty but the dressing didn’t have any traces of zingy blue cheese. I’m not sure what it was but it wasn’t cheesy at all which was a disappointment. The bruschetta was still a hit with me but this time they changed it up and the avocados were gone. On my third trip I stuck with the usual bruschetta which was, once again, good. Feeling a little dangerous perhaps, I branched out a bit and ordered the cheesy potato skins with minced meat and they were decent.

In my three trips to The Bristro I wasn’t overly impressed but I wasn’t disappointed, either. My meals were all ok, the service was attentive but not necessarily super professional (but they seemed to be trying hard), the cocktails were good and the view is excellent. I’ve spoken to a few friends about this place to find that some are pretty impressed and others don’t have anything good to say about it. My experiences so far have been good and the view and atmosphere are nice so I’d recommend giving it a try to make up your own mind.

Hours: Noon to 11 pm
Phone: 0733 517 517

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12 thoughts on “The Bistro at Urban Hotel”

  1. Kirsty,
    Your review of Urban Hotel stinks. I love the place. Their tiramisu is boss and so are their buffalo wings. The steak and fish and chips is awesome. Have you tried the chocolate mousse? Soo bossy! You are a hater!

  2. First time I was there I was impressed with the atmosphere, the food and the service. Unfortunately my second time there was much less impressive. The service was disappointingly slow, despite the fact that there were only two other occupied tables and, as everyone in my party agreed, the food was just plain bad. As is typically the case in Kigali, this seems like yet another restaurant offering great atmosphere but a disappointing overall experience.

  3. Eek! I really like this place. The first time I went I was new to Kigali so everything- food, service, etc., seemed “decent.” I just went back earlier this week and had the caesar salad (which was great both times- seasoned crispy croutons and zingy dressing) and the grilled steak sandwich which I thought was pretty good (and they served it to me at dinner even though the menu says sandwiches are only served at lunch). I agree with the above, the tiramisu and mousse are both excellent. Especially the tiramisu.

  4. we love this place, the view, the atmosphere, servers are so nice, especially with our 20 month old twins! fish and chips are excellent and also their red house wine served by (big) glass is decent!

  5. I was not impressed with this place at all. Give me a double cheeseburger, onion rings, and a long island ice tea from Lil Vegas please.

  6. you are right he don’t know what is quality food ,their beef is very juicy and prawns are also very good in taste i always feel that i m still eating in Dubai or in London .Its just fantastic yesterday i saw somebody ordered lobsters hey it was beautiful next time i will surely order ,but can some body add some more things in the menu just like crab soup and some really good Dubai style lamb chops,lamb means lamb not skinny goat chops .Overall their imported beef is excellent ,I m ready to pay double for this taste in Rwanda because here very few restaurants are good and please if any one know a good indian restuarant also because here in Rwanda all indian restuarants are just useless thier meat is not soft and they dont know about spices at all they just know two spices ,one is chilli and second is again chilli .i gave number one rating in last 41 restuarants in kigali as i visited yet

  7. A friend and I went here on a Saturday night. The service was good in the beginning, but a little too much, the waiter kept standing by our table and looking at us. We split the bruschetta, which had avocado and cilantro on it instead of basil. It was okay, but I think they put sugar in the tomatoes because when I ate the bread without the toppings it tasted very sweet.

    I got the vegetable curry which was ok. It had a good variety of vegetables in it which I liked but the sauce was more chinese tasting than curry-like. My friend got the veggie burger and it was okay, but the texture of it was fairly mushy.

    Despite the attentive service at the beginning, our waiter took a very long time to bring us our check.

    All in all nice atmosphere but the food is meh.

  8. First time I went I was totally impressed but every other time since, I’m so unfazed. This is one of these places where service seems to be declining rather than improving which is sad because their food is nice. Some stuff is too expensive for my liking but everything is done right, it’s worth the price.

    Recommended food items are: the bruchetta with avocado, tomato and cilantro (yum!), chicken wings i love the bbq sauce on them but one time they were not piping hot so that disappointed me and I also heard that the blue cheese dip (which i don’t eat) has no trace of blue cheese in it. I also really enjoyed the pesto pasta with chicken, it is nice and spicy and doesn’t taste like your typical pesto but it definitely pleased my palate.

    As far as service is concerned… The first time it was stellar, the second time it was for a 20guests birthday party and they rocked the place I was so pleased I posted all about it on FB… Then everytime thereafter was subpar.

    All in all, I’d still recommend the place for atmosphere, food with less emphasis on service.

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