If you’re looking for good coffee shops in Kampala, head over to the cozy Kardamom & Koffee for delicious, fresh-made eats and brilliant conversation. And maybe even pick up a few things to brighten up your home on the way out.
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Note: As of May 2022, Kardamom & Koffee is under new management, so some of the stuff I’ve written might not be accurate anymore.
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A reflection of the world
Tucked away in a quiet garden in the upscale Kololo area (right next to the Otters Bar, by the way), this cozy little Kampala 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.
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.
And if you happen to be on a visit to Kampala, these two can give you lots of great inside information.
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. K&K should be on your list if you’re looking for good restaurants in Kampala.
We wolfed down many a dish from that menu over the two weeks we visited, and I can safely say that even 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.
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Elegant and colourful things for the home
Lastly, 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.
So is Kardamom & Koffee really as cosy, elegant, homely and brilliant as I’ve made it out to be? I definitely think so. Of all the coffee shops in Kampala, this might just be one of the most interesting.
But you should drop in and see for yourself; here’s the GPS location. And if you want to know more, you can always visit K&K’s Facebook page.
Also watch: Video diary: The best of our memories of Africa