Sunday August 3 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: The feel of a pizza haven

A client enjoys Chicken pizza, one of the

A client enjoys Chicken pizza, one of the delicacies served at Cafe Mamba. photo BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

Back in the 90s, Mamba Point Restaurant was the creation of Guido and Fiona. Over the years, it became greatly acclaimed for their fine Italian cuisine and pizzas. The restaurant evolved into a mini and exclusive hotel with eight rooms that were tastefully done up and in time were considered to be among the premier hotels in that league.

A couple of years ago, the property was put on the market and the new owner decided to leave things more or less status quo since the Italian goodwill that obtained was immeasurable. However, Guido had planned an extension to increase the number of rooms; which the new owner decided to take up adding eight luxurious suites that are benchmarking the $150 (Shs 393,000)clientele.
They decided to hand over the management to the City Blue Hotel group from Dubai.

Recently we were invited to lunch with Jameel Verjee, the founder and owner of the group. We were a group of around 10 and had a choice of cream of tomato or minestrone soup, Bruschetta, a chicken Caesar salad to mention a couple of items. My tomato soup had the right consistency and body while the minestrone was a treasure.

In the true gastronomical Italian tradition of the erstwhile Mamba Point, Café Mamba has installed a wooden-fired oven and they serve excellent pizzas that have the preferred thin crust and we were able to sample several including the tuna fish, chicken and the margarita. In essence, the pizzas at Café Mamba will continue to be a crowd puller with an added potpourri of simple but easy to manage Continental fare.

In this regard, pepper steak comes to mind and mercifully it is not a battered steak but wholesome deserving. Some of us ordered grilled tilapia with orange sauce or lemon sauce and everyone seemed happy with the offering.

On the whole, the Café Mamba experience is worthwhile with the service efficient and courteous. The menu is small and practical. It works well even when they are busy.

By the look of things, Verjee is not only visionary, but has the bucks to accomplish his goals. With the group on board, the property will be stronger and able to compete in this tight market. With a presence in Kigali and plan to open in Kenya they are serious players.

If you go…

Our rating: Not to be missed
The place Café Mamba
Address: Aki Bua Road
The space: Small and mainly alfresco
The crowd: Hotel guests and others
The menu: Their pizzas are superb and difficult to beat in town
The bar: A small wine selection, coffee, tea, soda, wine, spirits and beer
Recommended dishes: The pizzas
The damage: At least Shs 50,000 for a couple
Sound level: Perfect
Parking: Available
Smoke free zone: Allowed away from the dining area outdoors
If you go: Daily
RATINGS: Not to be missed, worth a visit, OK/so so, don’t waste your time.

These ratings are purely the reviewer’s personal reaction to food, ambience and service with price being factored into consideration. The menu listings and prices are subject to change without notice.