I have spent the better part of my adult life in Bakuli suburb and one of my biggest lamentations is that despite the proximity to the Kabaka’s Palace and the Bulange, not to speak of its being in walking distance to the city centre (a 20-minute brisk walk would do it) and generally being so convenient in terms of public access, the area has stubbornly refused to develop.
Ceteris Paribus by now, the neighbourhood should have been one of the most desirable in terms of realty value and greatly sought out by the well to do. Sadly, this is not the case and any number of reasons can be adduced for this phenomenon with the issue of land ownership being sine qua non.
There is no doubt that a major deterrent to the growth of the area is the fact that the land in question is mainly mailo and thus has been handed down from generation to generation with zero incentive for any landowner to develop their property.
Several years ago around the turn of the century, a rich man called Hajji Hassan Basajjabalaba decided to buy out the Rena Hotel that used to be run down and every local property and several adjacent plots of land from willing cash strapped slum landlords.
I’m reliably informed that he succeeded in getting more than a good two acres or more of very prime land and then proceeded to put up a two-star hotel that he named Regency Hotel.
Despite managing to put up a modern three- storeyed building with 50 rooms, due to a myriad of reasons, including a strong dosage of micro management from the property owner, it failed to take off.
Well, nigh many years, the Regency Hotel is vacant and going to rot with nary a care from the owner. Resembling more of a flop house it, houses derelicts and one is hard pressed to wonder why such a valuable property has been allowed to go to the dogs!
In the meantime, across from Hajji’s run down edifice, reposes a huge and unattractive six-storeyed building and among its tenants is Ndugwa’s Takeaway and Restaurant that recently made its debut (barely a month ago). While the prices are reasonable, there are simply few diners which is a shame because at least it is a decent place to be seen compared to the other wotelis around that are terribly make shift and informal with hygiene being highly suspect.
Speaking of which, how on earth do they stand the scrutiny of KCCA inspectorate of eating houses?
On another matter, I can never understand why eating establishments fall into the trap of setting up fancy menus with impressive sounding items such as chicken luwombo, pilao and then it turns out that they are not available and then we are told that in terms of local food there is beef and rice. This is true at Ndugwa’s and sadly even samosas were unavailable.
However, being the latest kid on the block offers a host of challenges, least of which are the mobile kitchen mamas who are marginally cheaper and pay comparatively little rent compared to them; the chances of surviving this fierce and unfair competition is slim but who knows?
If you go…
Our rating: OK/so so
The place: Ndugwa’s Takeaway and Restaurant
Address: Namirembe Road coterminous of Victorious Primary School
The space: A plain shop that has been turned into an eating a restaurant.
The crowd: Locals from around as well as commuters at the taxi stage
The bar: Soda and water
Recommended dishes: Nothing comes to mind
The damage: A tenner for two would do nicely
Sound level: Good
Smoke free zone: Not certain, but given the class of establishment it is doubtful there would be any smokers
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, factoring in the price. The menu listings and prices are subject to change.