Friday January 24 2014

Exotic food limiting the growth of eatery

The cafe offers a cosy setting for revellers

The cafe offers a cosy setting for revellers who want to engage in a deep conversation. Its only undoing, is that the menu offers exotic and fast foods. Photo by Edgar R. Batte 

By Edgar R. Batte

Under the cover of darkness, Raves Dining, Café and Lounge is inviting. The lighting adds to its beauty in the night. Save for that, it is another ordinary restaurant, from the outside, during the day.

The double-floor hangout stands out for unique and artistic design, beautiful décor, serene environment, privacy and its romantically-lit dining areas where you will be served to a largely Western settings. There are five sections with to suit different moods and purposes.
You can sit within, where there is a restaurant and a pastry shop or outside in the comfortable chairs or under parasols.

Why Raves?
Moses Moya Ngati, an ICT professional and businessman is proprietor of Raves He says before choosing Raves, he had thought of other names. He originally wanted to call the place The Deck which he failed to register due to existence of similar names. He then came up with The Lunchroom as the other name for the hangout. “My friends thought this name sounded old-fashioned,” he says. He thought of Cafe Alluvia but his friends thought it did not sound cool enough.
And finally Raves was it. “I settled for the name because it represents pure creativity fused with our desire to create a unique dining experience,” he explains.

The food
The menu though, is so far its undoing given the location, on Kanjokya Street, in Kamwokya. It is unlikely one would have chips and chicken, liver, sausages or hamburgers and pizzas day-in day-out.

It is part of the reason the restaurant, which opened mid-November last year, is not picking up.
Moya says the other reason business has not yet picked up is the café has not been well-marketed. So far, the good turn-up at restaurants in the neighbourhood like Ssebankyaye’s which serves local foods should give the proprietors a good idea to incorporate local foods on their menu.
If you will not be having pastries or fast foods then there are sea foods like prawns and lobsters, for those with more voracious appetites.

Winning points
But for now their winning point is the ambience which is alluring at any hour of the day. Raves is that place you would enjoy having a conversation with whoever you have gone out with, because the piped music is soft and low.
So far, there is no television which is another plus since this is a place where a reveller will go to dine with a loved one, catch-up with a colleague, or go for a family get-together and bond over a meal.

Moya plans to introduce theme nights like ‘Live Music on Saxophone’ every Thursday, ‘Barbeque Nite’ on Fridays, ‘No gadget Nite’ on Tuesdays and ‘Sunday Family Brunch’ with special buffet with sea foods, Indian, Mexican and Italian specials.
The parking is unfortunately another sore point. It is not big enough to accommodate many cars. The front space can hardly take five cars.

On this front, the management says they already have a backup plan. “We have spoken with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for its parking just opposite our premises. We also have some space behind which can take up to 123 cars,” Moya says.
It’s not that expensive, and the food is good. But as long as the menu remains exotic, the restaurant might not live to its full potential .