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A hidden gem in Kampala: Kardamom & Koffee

If you’re in Kampala and looking to take it easy for a few hours, head over to the cosy Kardamom & Koffee for some delicious, fresh-made eats and brilliant conversation. And maybe even pick up a few things to brighten up your home on the way out.

I’ll start with a disclosure: Kardamom & Koffee is run by our aunt and uncle. But even if it wasn’t, I’d still recommend it to everyone who’d care to listen! Read on to find out why.

Also read: Hyderabad to Masai Mara: How to plan your Kenya safari from India

A reflection of the world

Tucked away in a quiet garden in the upscale Kololo area of Kampala, this cosy little café-and-homeware-boutique is the brainchild of Deepa and Rossini Silveira. These two lived and travelled all over the world (read Australia, France, the Middle East, South America and, of course, India) before finally settling in Uganda, Rossini’s birthplace. And their experiences across the world are reflected in everything at K&K. They started their store as a homeware boutique in January 2016, and added on a café a few months later. Today, the pair—ably assisted by their staff Janet, Olive and Beatrice—has a list of loyal customers, many of whom have even become fast friends.

Rossini and Deepa - Kardamom & Koffee, a hidden gem in Kampala, Uganda
Rossini and Deepa on one of their jaunts
Cafe staff - Kardamom & Koffee, a hidden gem in Kampala, Uganda
Olive, Janet and Beatrice guarding the scrumptious cakes on offer at K&K

Homely and intimate

Wherever you’re from, everything at K&K will make you feel at home, from the menu and range of homeware, to the books on the shelves and the conversation. And if you like travelling, chances are Rossini and Deepa will be able to expand your horizons quite a bit with stories of their adventures. (Aside: That’s just what they did to us! In case you’re wondering, they’re the inspiration behind our itchy feet.) Get into their good books, and you might even be asked to one of their invitation-only BYOB open-air movie nights. A fan of Mira Nair? You might just bump into her at one of those.

Cafe view - Kardamom & Koffee, a hidden gem in Kampala, Uganda
Guests – and friends – in the cafe section

Something for every foodie and traveller

Now on to the menu. As foodies and travellers, that menu has everything we could ever want—even as vegetarians! Thai salad? Check. Lebanese mezze? Check. Pizza and pasta? Check. And, for those Indians with a hankering for home, even biryani! All made fresh and to order, giving you enough time to finish off your Turkish coffee, hibiscus tea or mango smoothie—and that last exciting chapter of your book. A word to the wise: we’ve heard that the Thai-style shrimp salad may steal your soul. It’s happened before, it seems, so watch out!

We wolfed down many a dish from that menu over the two weeks we visited, and I can safely say that vegetarians will not be disappointed. Especially recommended are the pumpkin soup, vegetarian mezze plate, the Lebanese zattar bread, and the pita-pizza with olives, cheese and tomato. The best bit? Everything is fresh, made by hand in Deepa and Rossini’s own kitchen.

Mezze - Kardamom & Koffee, a hidden gem in Kampala, Uganda
The mezze: hommous (chickpea puree), babaganous (aubergine puree), olives and pita bread with Lebanese meatballs. The vegetarian version has paneer instead of the meatballs.

Also read: 12 vegetarian dishes from all over India that you need to try

Elegant and colourful things for the home

And if you’re looking for elegant things for your home or as gifts, chances are you’ll find some here. True to their roots, Deepa and Rossini mainly stock homeware from India, but you’ll also find things from other parts of the world. From embroidered bed linen and handwoven ikat bags to hand-painted metalware and decorative woodwork, there’s lots in the store to keep you interested, even if—by some unlikely chance—the menu doesn’t. Like art? K&K has what they like to call ‘Uganda’s smallest art gallery’: their restroom. Seriously.

Homeware - Kardamom & Koffee, a hidden gem in Kampala, Uganda
Looking into the homeware section from the cafe

Also read: The colours of Kutch

So is Kardamom & Koffee really as cosy, elegant, homely and brilliant as I’ve made it out to be? I definitely think so. But you should drop in and see for yourself. Meanwhile, take a look at this walkthrough video and see if it doesn’t whet your appetite.

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