Before Uganda attained her independence; [early 50s], the suburb of Katwe used to be a bustling suburb that was bursting with artisans, jua kali operators as well as night life in the guise of the illustrious and famous White Nile that was owned by Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, a leading politician and newspaper publisher. White Nile in Katwe would be the converging point for politicians, government luminaires, diplomats and business people on weekends with little competition apart from Top Life in Mengo and Suzanna in Nakulabye.
In terms of dining out, Nihongo’s Restaurant was the in-place along with another called Maxwell’s that was located where present day Quality Chemicals is in Katwe. As for accommodation, there were cheap lodges that are better suited for one-night stand and the like. For that matter, Katwe has never shed off that stigma of being a slum. Its close proximity to the city, the place has the hallmarks of being peri-urban and will one day be greatly sought out by dwellers.
During the intervening years, while office buildings and shops have been built in Katwe and some are quite impressive, the same is not true regarding hotels. This is where Kenendia Hotel has taken up the mantle and come up with a well-designed and classy hotel that has brought about a positive change in the area. Conveniently, it is not in the heart of busy and noisy Katwe, but off the main Katwe Road drag on Mutebi Road.
Ambience and menu
Last weekend, the general manager invited us for a tour of the place and by all accounts it is no mean feat to put up a three-storeyed fully self-contained 27-room property. This first class standard facility has hot and cold water, decent bedding and rooms that are cozy and comfortable. Affordable prices range from Shs 70,000 to Shs120,000 for bed and breakfast. I’m the first to admit that there is no accounting for taste, the idea of the main entrance being where the large restaurant is located takes some getting used to, but it boils down to one’s taste. That aside, the open kitchen has tremendous prospects for stir fries, burgers, and relatively fast food of that nature.
We had fried goat with chips as well as chicken stew with rice and frankly speaking the portions were awfully generous; gargantuan would best describe them. The food was well prepared though we sorely missed some form of garnishment in the form of a salad or even vegetables. It is encouraging that entrepreneur of the type who own this property can think of investing for the future. When one considers the fact that the hotel is within spitting distance of the Kabaka’s palace, I’m of the view that Kenendia hotel has a bright future. I’m sure that in time posher properties will be built in Katwe.
Place: Kenendia Hotel
Location: Plot 1476/851 Mutebi Road, Katwe
Smoke-free zone: Not allowed in the public areas
Recommended items: You can never go wrong with chips and fried goat or chicken and chips
Ambience: The dining area needs to be spruced up and made more appealing.
Open: The kitchen is open until late
Our rating: Worth a visit
Menu: Mainly a la carte with favourites such as fried chicken, fried goat, vegetable curry, chicken stew served with rice, chapattis or boiled Irish
The space: They can comfortably seat over 150
The crowd: People from the neighborhood and transient travellers from within the region
The bar: Soda, wine and beer and spirits
The damage: Lunch for two with a soda at about Shs 35,000
Sound level: Good
Parking: Underground for 16 and another dozen in the forecourt. More on the street
If you go: Daily