Five cafés to nip in when you’re stuck anywhere along Kampala Road

(Craft It’s new foreign correspondent in Kampala)

#1. Café Javas
I have never walked into a place in Kampala that has the warmth and hospitality of Café Javas. They have people lined up to walk you to a seat of your choice and guide you through the menu if you want.

They serve you as though you are their biggest customer.

If you’re ever going to dine anywhere in Kampala, this is your place.

Go to the branch at Cargen House – it has the sanity of some silence, and they spoon their meals out with a big heart.

Do the Chicken Thai Salad. It has cashew nuts.

#2. Cariboo
It’s no secret. Last year someone did a God-knows-what research and ranked Uganda, the home of tonto, second biggest consumer of alcohol in Africa.

Objection your honour. I reject that claim.

Anyway, the Cariboo guys did something about it to help us fight this embarrassing temptation. They shifted the bar to their basement, away from the public eye.

What is visible is the sparkle of their restaurant waving at you from the earth’s surface along Speke Road.

In there, as you wait for your colleagues, you can almost hear the sound of blood cells swimming through your veins.

#3. Café Miya
When you stand outside the entrance of Posta Uganda and look across the road, you’ll see a fading zebra crossing that leads you to a broken pavement that you step on to get you there.

Café Miya is on the ground floor of Kampala Boulevard. The tiles are smooth, décor made of white and grey fine wood. It shines with neatly-placed clay vases along the walls.

They have brown call bells sitting on the tables.

There’s no chatter. No loud laughter. Everyone talks in a low tone with many hand gestures.

They have an Italian pizza chef.

#4. Café Pap
Have you ever wondered what a coffee value chain looks like? Maybe not because not everyone has geeky tendencies.

When you go to Café Pap on Parliament Avenue, you’ll see a rectangular canvass on the wall that shows farmers in the field, coffee being transported, the crop being processed and packaged.

It’s the story of how that coffee gets into your cup.

Sit anywhere, even under the security camera up the ceiling.

What you will not miss is the feedback form that the waiter will hand you.

Please be nice and complete it. They’ll call you back.

#5. Café Bravo
I first watched Johnny Bravo with his large yellow hair and karate moves when I was ten years old. Café Bravo, on the ground floor of Uganda House, always reminds me of that character.

Their samosas are hot and spicy.

They have a small triangular kitchen outside the main café and it has the words “No Entry” swinging low, supported by two metallic pillars. And that’s the entrance and exit that some of their waiters use. It’s an oxymoron.

They jump over the notice with trays balancing in their hands.

I think Café Bravo teaches gymnastics, too.
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