There are three types of people who should avoid Le Petit Bistro, the French establishment that has graced Gaba Road for 14 years: vampires, vegetarians, and people with high cholesterol. If you eat meat and love garlic and butter then you should definitely prioritise Le Petit Bistro amongst your dining out options.
The restaurant is no-nonsense with 10-12 tables under a grass thatched roof overlooking Gaba’s traffic. If you are looking for ambiance this is not the place. If you are looking for some amazing food, on the other hand, stick around.
Plain toast with butter and small salads are served with all mains. These salads are soaked in a delicious oil and garlic dressing so if you are trying to either limit your caloric or garlic intake you might start by ordering the dressing on the side. Starters arrive with the salads are range between 5,000 – 18,000 UGX. The escargot is a favourite and arrives soaked in melted butter, garlic and herbs. Also on the menu are smoked salmon with capers and butter, avocate crevettes, or avocados stuffed with tuna mayonnaise. Soups are between 5,000 and 10,000 UGX.
Previous patrons have complained that the time from order to food on the table is outrageously long so go expecting to spend some time chatting with dinner companions. However, all recent visits have proved the food to arrive in a completely timely manner, even when the house is full.
Drinks are the Kampala standard – juice, soft drinks, waters, wine, beers and miscellaneous liqueurs. The red house wine is surprisingly drinkable and affordable at 8,000 a glass. No need to go higher end than that.
If you’re a vegetarian and your carnivorous pals have snuck you through the door don’t despair – there are few options for you. Vegetable curry, pizza, Swiss roesti and lasagne go for the very affordable 8,000 – 12,000 UGX.
But more about the steak – which is why you should visit. They serve, arguably, the best in Kampala and definitely the best value for money. Be warned, however, that rare means rare. If you like your steak truly rare this is the place to order that. If you like to pretend you like your steak rare but actually prefer something with a little bit of brown to it then go with medium-rare. It will never be overdone.
Steaks are served with an assortment of sauces including the mouth-watering – albeit heart attack inducing – filet with garlic butter which arrives with a near quarter cup of garlic butter atop an incredibly tender filet.
Other meat mains on offer are fish, chicken and pork or lamb chops. The tilapia filet in brown butter sauce with capers was swimming in butter – which should be asked for on the side – but was delicious despite this and delicately cooked.
Mains are served with a choice of rice, mash, chips and assorted vegetables. The vegetables bear special mention in that they are extremely well cooked and not at all soggy, or overdone with tends to happen elsewhere.
Other unique menu items are the fondues (Fondue Bourguinone, Cheese Fondue and Raclette) which start at 60,000 UGX for two people and regulars swear by them. (They do ask that you call before to order the Raclette).
Desserts are limited but if you manage to get through your main still hungry you should be commended. Two favourites are crepe suzette flambé (10,000 UGX) and crepe suzette with ice cream (13,000 UGX).