Affordable food,unpleasant ambience

The set up of Buddu Eating Place. Inset, A plate of pilao, one of the dishes served there. PHOTO/KADUMUKASA KIRONDE II

What you need to know:

  • Review. The best-selling item at Buddu Eating Place has to be the pilao albeit dreadfully substandard though at Shs 6,000 who is complaining.

From the early 1990s onwards, the Kampala dining scene comprised a dreary and plain Jane environment mostly made up of local food eateries most of which have since vanished from the scene due to the meteoric rise in the property value of Kampala and the consequent need to build high rise properties in order to maximise on space and value.

 I fondly remember popular Kyosimba Onyanna situated on Burton Street in a very old building that had been around for donkey years and now occupied by Centenary Bank. This popular eatery held sway for scores of years and was the favorite for Kampala’s then burgeoning business class who were located in the CBD who dined there in droves. Another much loved joint (also in the CBD) was Muyonjo Café Restaurant situate at Plot 3 Wilson Road where today a modern high rise exists was built and in one fell swoop forced Mr Muyonjo to close down his operations. 

He was famous for carrying a brief case and he would personally venture out to Nakasero Market early in the morning and buy the groceries from the balimi for the place. There was also a popular café owned by Jaberi Bidandi Sali though the name slips my mind, but what I do recall is that it was located in the Nakasero market area near the mosque. A few eateries that have managed to survive and exist to this day come to mind; Uhuru (opened in 1962) now based in Mengo with a branch on Wilson Road, Nalongo’s of Katwe (late 1940s) and the iconic All Sisters Restaurant (circa 1983) in Ndeeba. As for 2K Restaurant they are newbies having entered the scene in the year 2000, hence the name 2k. 

However, to be fair they were originally supplying food for the defunct Greenland Bank which closed in 1999 when 2K Restaurant was founded in Bakuli in a shop next to the Hoima Road taxi stage. As for Buddu Eating Place, I am not certain as to when they opened shop but their business model is entirely based on cheap pricing and low-quality food.

Our last visit to Buddu Eating Place was last month where plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose! The access is through a dingy washing bay that seems to cater for bodas and ordinary vehicles as opposed to the big SUVs and other smart and expensive vehicles. 

The signpost is hidden by overgrown shrubbery while the entrance is wet. Once inside the first thing is having to adjust to the darkness that enshrouds the joint the merit of which I do not see at all. I mean, it is not as though the place is a lounge or bar where such an atmosphere might be considered conducive to romanticism!   

For as far back as we can remember, this joint has always been ill lit and dark with dim lighting while the general seating is uncomfortable and squeezed making access next to impossible. Looking around it appears as if the place is a makeshift set up that is by no means semi- permanent which is in itself not an egregious folly. The end result is what matters and in this case no effort whatsoever has been made to give the finishing a veneer of attractiveness and glamour. Prefab housing need not be shabby but can be attractive and well finished to the point of one not differentiating between a non-prefab property. 

Staff and  bill
At Buddu Eating Place, the waiting staff, who for some unknown reason are made up of young boys, are not uniformed which is a small price to pay in terms of appearances and impressions. On top of that they are totally indifferent, sourly and deadpan. From the appearance of things, the clientele of this place are not bothered by the way things are run and their main objective is the assured availability of cheap and affordable food which very much fits the bill at Buddu. 

The best-selling item has to be the pilao albeit dreadfully substandard though at Shs 6,000 who is complaining. Served with a piece or two of beef that is tough and accompanied with some unappetising and dreary looking sauces we were disappointed. We also ordered for the chips and chicken which were shs 10’000 and again for that price one cannot complain though the former were greasy and not up to par as for the chicken, not much seasoning but what can one say? I believe that Buddu Eating Place has tapped on a clientele that is not fussy about quality in the established sense of the word but is happy to be assured of never being disappointed in terms of availability of food (read pilao) seven days a week and they are open till late.  

The deal… 

The place: Buddu Eating Place 
Address: Mengo Hill Road adjacent to Cornerstone Plaza Menu: Beef Shs6,000 cow peas and local food Shs 6,000 beans and local food Shs5000 chips plain Shs5,000 chicken plain Shs5,000 one chapatti and meat Shs 5,000 ground nuts with fish Shs6,000 pilao with beef  Shs 6,000 pilao and fresh beans Shs 7,500
Rating: OK, so-so 
Smoke-free zone: Strictly Not allowed  
Damage: Two people can get by for less than 
Shs 15,000 which will buy you pilao and a couple of sodas each 
Service: Par for the course
Ambience: Drab 
Parking: Outside the washing bay 
Ratings:   Not to be missed, worth a visit, OK/so so, don’t waste your time.

*These views 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.