The opening of a new café is always a source of excitement in Kampala. In this case, Café Gusto is no different. Located near Kisementi, just under Iguana Bar, this addition to the already buzzing area has brought in a new element of cuisine and café experience.
The open structure of the bar, which has a half wall on one side, means that it is always airy and always bright. The colorful wall treatments, lights, and tables also add to the vibrant, and very modern atmosphere. There are a number of tables, comfortable couch-style seating along the sides, and even a bar area with a spacious counter and the day’s newspaper out for customers to read. For those who prefer to dine outside, there is a small patio with umbrellas, where people can enjoy their afternoon.
Owned by the same people who run Iguana, the café is equipped with a full bar and extensive menu. The menu, which was handpicked by the owner himself, includes a vast array of salads, juices, coffees, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and tapas. On any given day you see people studiously working on their computers, or relaxing with friends.
Like many other cafes that open in Kampala, this one boasts some of the best coffee around. Although located in an area with plenty of coffee shops, the coffee here is inarguably some of the best on this side of town. From espressos to Irish style coffees, there has obviously been a fair bit of attention that has gone into the machines, and training.
Other items on the menu also have a particular level of attention paid to them. For instance, a smoked salmon salad which costs about 15,000UGX comes with strips of fresh smoked salmon, croutons, bread furnished by Brood, and mixed greens. The Gusto Burger, for 16,000UGX, which is similar in many ways to the fantastic burgers sold in Iguana, comes with chips and a small salad on the side, and is downright succulent.
For those looking for healthier, smaller portions, the tapas are perfect. Tapas, which are Spanish in origin, are still fairly new to Kampala. They consist of a wide variety of small snacks. The prices range from 6,000UGX to 14,000UGX. You can get small grilled bbq items, dipping sauces with bread, crab cakes, pineapple chicken skewers and a vast array of other items. And for those with dietary restrictions, there are plenty of vegetarian options available.
The service at Gusto is both quick and courteous. Many of the staff members already have experience working in the restaurant industry and so quick and prompt service isn’t the exception, bur rather, the rule. They are also quite good about arraigning the small mobile tables around the couches so as not to get in the way of your computer.
For those looking for a quiet place to work or just those wanting to get some Internet time in, Gusto has plenty of sockets as well as high-speed Internet. Easily beating out nearby competitors with their bandwidth. And as long as you are a paying customer, the Internet is free and unlimited.
For some, its proximity to Iguana makes it ideal for an evening out. And despite how nearby it is, it’s actually difficult to hear Iguana’s usual top 40 beats while sitting in Gusto. “You can sit in the café, have a nice, proper meal with quiet music. Then just head upstairs and dance the rest of the night away,” noted one patron. Indeed on busy nights, it’s common to see people going back and forth between the two establishments.
For as many cafes as the Kisementi area has, it’s hard to argue that Gusto isn’t welcome. Unlike anything else nearby, it offers affordable, and delicious food and coffee in a relaxed atmosphere. Combine that with the Internet and the upstairs nightclub and it turns into a great place to spend a late afternoon or evening.
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