The Lawns Restaurant: Tastefully Consistent
Dining at The Lawns Restaurant is more of an experience than merely having a meal. Just the setting of the restaurant in a large airy compound makes one feel so relaxed that the meal is only a part of the whole experience. Located in the middle of Kololo, on Impala Avenue, The Lawns is nested among other restaurants but stands out from the competition. One of only a few places in Kampala where one can find delicious game meat, this restaurant is for the daring and adventurous with their palettes.
We had a mouth-watering meal seated in the terrace-like restaurant on a fine weekday evening. There were few people around 5pm but within an hour, people getting off of work, couples going out on a date, and whole families had filled up the gardens and the restaurant. The Lawns Restaurant is laid out in such a way that your immediate choice for a seat is a comfy couch right in the middle of the garden. These cosy seats are thrown about on the grass where one can kick off one’s shoes and lie back enjoying the evening breeze. They accommodate both couples and groups of friends or families.
You can either walk to the bar, which is well stocked and has an expert mixologist who can make you any concoction of beverage you want, or head straight to the restaurant on the raised terrace. A cocktail from the bar is only between Ugx 15,000/= and Ugx 18,000/=, cheaper than any other bar that offers the same cocktails. It’s such a tranquil atmosphere that it’s easy to see why the bar gets lots of patrons throughout the night who make a stop on their way to work. It might also be because of the ‘buy-two-get-one-free’ Happy Hour every evening from 4pm to 7pm.
The restaurant is a bit removed from everyone and ensures privacy when one is on a date or having a private meeting. It is situated in such a way that the tables for two make you feel like you’re in your own private portico, while the larger tables are also separated from the rest of the restaurant with beautifully carved wooden dividers, ensuring privacy no matter how full the entire place gets.
We had The Lawns’ signature Hunter’s Sabre, which is a combination of three types of game meat. The Hunter’s Sabre consisted of Springbok, Blesbok and Wildebeest meats wrapped in bacon served on a sizzling platter drenched in butter, with a side of potatoes and salad. To say that it was delectable is an understatement! Firstly, there is nothing on this earth that you can wrap in bacon and it is not immediately better. I expected the game meat to be tough but this was some of the softest game I had ever tasted! I didn’t even need a steak knife. The springbok and blesbok tasted a bit similar, seeing as they are from the same animal family, but the wildebeest had a sweet savour to it as though someone had fed the animal honey before it was prepared for us. Game meat also tends to leave an aftertaste in your mouth, but this was way better than anything I had ever tasted, probably because of the bacon.
This meal will set you back Ugx 60,000/=, but it was such a large serving that I ended up sharing it with my date. We didn’t need to order another meal. The other options on the menu are your standard meats like chicken, beef and pork which cost anywhere from Ugx 30,000/= to Ugx 50,000/= for a mixed grill platter. The game meat is more expensive, on average Ugx 60,000/=, but you cannot fail to find an occasion to try it at least once. The management says that the best selling meats are pork chops and steak, which is a shame because I think people should go to The Lawns specifically in search of exquisite game meat.
One impressive thing about this restaurant was how well informed the wait staff was. Not only were they attentive and quick to serve, they also had a vast knowledge on the equally vast menu. Did I mention that the menu offers up to 80 items? It is so varied with salads, vegetarian meals, meats of all kinds, local dishes, continental dishes, desserts and even smoothies that one cannot fail to find a meal that they can enjoy in this fine dining restaurant. I asked quite a number of questions and the waiter knew everything about the menu, which is a rare occurrence for me who eats out a lot. Because the kitchen is open and you can see the food being made, you immediately feel like this is one place where you can experience great cooking without dishing out tons of money.
The Lawns offers live music every Saturday, from bands to classical pianists and even lone singers with a guitar. If you have a free afternoon on Saturday and don’t want to sit in front of a television, go to The Lawns and enjoy some music in the garden with friends. Some choose to smoke shisha, while others enjoy a drink or two, and some still have a full meal while listening to the day’s entertainment. The music is not so loud that it is intrusive on the diners, and is also not so much of background music that it fails to be entertaining. Because of the popularity of The Lawns for private functions, I suggest you find out in advance if it will be possible to spend a Saturday there, or you might bump into anything from a wedding to a graduation party or corporate function.
I had a look at the packages on offer from The Lawns for a private function and wondered why they weren’t fully booked all year round. They are so fairly priced that it becomes a steal at the end of the day. A graduation party starts at Ugx 30,000/= per person, which includes a full meal and a drink. Weddings have a wider variety of food and so they start at Ugx 50,000/= per person, also inclusive of a drink. The clincher is that once you book the venue, there is no need to pay extra for things like music and a PA system. In fact, they can throw in basic decoration for you and cut down on those costs we see on wedding budgets that go up to the millions for decoration. Smaller functions are also welcome with even as few as 20 people for a bridal or baby shower, or a birthday party for children. There are special prices for children’s parties, where the food is specifically made for the tiny humans and costs about Ugx 22,000/= per plate, plus a drink. There was an offer for corporate parties that had all you can drink alcohol for a couple of hours, but I think that has to be negotiated with the restaurant management.
Finally, the dessert that I had last night was so delicious that I feel it deserves its own paragraph. I asked the waiter to recommend something and he said that I should have their brownie with ice cream and my date could have an ice cream sundae. I took one bite of that chocolate brownie doused in melted chocolate and I thought I’d finally found out what the food of the gods taste like! It’s easily one of the best desserts I have had in Kampala, and I love dessert. My date’s ice cream sundae had three scoops of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream served on a pineapple bed. I think I got the better deal, even though the ice cream was very good and you could tell it wasn’t bought in a tub. Desserts cost anywhere from Ugx 12,000/= to Ugx 15,000/=.
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