Le Bougainviller Restaurant

Le Bouganviller Restaurant

Ah, Le Bougainviller. You know – the cool French hotel and restaurant that no one seems to know how to pronounce! In fact, its humorously mispronounced a hundred different ways by our expat community and let me just admit that saying it with my Midwest American accent doesn’t do it any favors! Regardless of all the tongue-tied ways to phrase it, step inside this darling café and you’re instantly surrounded by French charm.

Le Bougainviller is a sophisticated boutique hotel and restaurant tucked away in the Bugolobi neighborhood near landmarks such as the Bugolobi Shell station and the former artist dive bar, Fas Fas. This is not your average hotel restaurant. It’s serves as a lovely amenity for hotel guests but is such a Kampala treasure that local expats enjoy it, too! I just love the ambiance and décor of this restaurant. You truly feel like you stepped off the busy streets of Kampala and into a classy French café. Every detail from the lovely paintings and antique collectables reflects the culture and, as a result, transports you to a different place. Even the female staff sport modest French maid dresses with white hats and aprons.  Soft music plays in the background featuring a mix of various French artists as well as other easy listening tunes. I appreciate the quiet atmosphere of this restaurant because it sets the mood for a good conversation.

Le Bougainviller boasts a delicious menu written in French with English subtitles for those of us who don’t speak the language. Begin your evening with a carafe of one of their French wines. For red, they offer Bordeaux or Gammay and for white, they serve Muscadet. All wine is served by the carafe in ¼ liter, ½ liter, or 1-liter options ranging from 20,000 – 70,000 UGX or it can be purchased by the bottle for 70,000 – 90,000 UGX. Take my advice and make sure you walk downstairs during your visit to see their amazing wine cellar!

Le Bouganviller Restaurant

Moving on to the food, I love to start my meal with a bowl of either the carrot or pumpkin soup (12,000 UGX), depending on which they’re serving. The creamy soup tastes great with the complimentary baguette bread and butter. My husband and I are usually huge fans of the Chef ‘s Tomato Salad, which also runs 12,000 UGX but, on this particular occasion, it was lacking the usual delightful flavor. The entrée menu is straightforward, offering three staples: tilapia, fillet, or pasta, prepared with a variety of sauces and marinades. For side dish options, you can order French fries, mashed potatoes, parsley potatoes, rice, pasta, or mixed vegetables. I highly recommend their beef fillet with garlic parsley butter with the mashed potatoes. The garlic sauce is so flavorful!

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t listed any prices on the above entrée items. Well, quite honestly, the menu is extremely confusing to read! First of all, they list soups and salads under the “entrée” label. Then, for the main dishes, they have special “formules” or formulas, which I think is how you’re supposed to order and it gets you the best price. For instance, their “Formule Resto” includes a starter, main, and a dessert for the set price of 38,000 UGX. Without knowing how to correctly place our order, we were charged an extra 10,000 UGX when the bill came and didn’t receive a dessert. We ended up discussing our bill with our waitress before learning that if we had simply ordered differently, it would’ve included the dessert. She was kind enough to bring us delicious chocolate ice cream anyway! Lesson learned.

At Le Bougainviller, ask your waitress to advise you on how to place your order. Finally, let’s talk about the service. The food and ambiance are simply divine, but the service is really lacking in my opinion. The servers are all very sweet and shy, but we found ourselves always having to ask for obvious items such as the complimentary breadbasket and steak knives to accompany our fillet. Also, though she helped fix the bill and did bring us dessert, we would’ve appreciated some menu guidance when placing our order. Le Bougainviller is a delicious restaurant that is one-of-a-kind in our city. In the future, we’ll be sure to review the hotel portion of this establishment as well!

Hours:  Daily, Noon to 10 pm
Address: Plot 1-7, Katazamiti Road, Bugolobi, Kampala
Phone: +256-414-220966
Email: hotelbougainviller@gmail.com
Website: http://www.bougainviller.com

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About Lauren McBride

Hey, I’m Lauren. I’m what you’d call an “expat by marriage.” When my husband and I stepped off the plane in Entebbe in June 2012, I had no idea what I was in for: the breezy traffic on the open road, enjoyable boda rides through the heart of town, or the gentle, lingering smell of exhaust blowing in my face. I continue to be amazed by the strong community in Kampala, the arts, the delicious food, and the fun hangs around this town. I’m committed to sharing the very best of Kampala with you through this website. Contact me anytime with your ideas, feedback, or jokes at lauren@livinginkampala.com.