If you’re expecting to enter the new Pardis Restaurant in Kololo and find a place reminiscent of its sister eatery in the Garden City food court then you’re in for a surprise. Pardis, the latest addition to Kololo’s food scene, brings demure, upscale Middle Eastern cuisine to Kampala.

The restaurant is located just off the corner of Mabua and Philip roads in Upper Kololo (map below) and has plenty of parking within the compound. A fire pit burns on the lawn while kerosene lanterns light the rock path which winds across the lawn where a few tables with umbrellas and chairs are set out for Shisha smoking. The dining area itself is large and open also built of rock with a wooden roof. Tables are set up throughout the hall which is dimly, but pleasantly lit, by multi-coloured Turkish lanterns. The tables are well placed and numerous so large groups can be easily accommodated but the dining room is spacious enough that dining remains intimate. The obligatory brick oven sits blazing in the kitchen at the far end of the dining area ready to produce the soft, delicious pita that will accompany your meal.

There is no alcohol on the menu and, as a Middle Eastern venue, they do not intend to offer it. However, you can bring your own wine and pay a 10,000 UGX corkage fee. The menu also offers a long list of different sodas and juices.

Paradis is good for groups and, in fact, should not be experienced alone. There is simply too much food presented in the different dishes for a solo diner to consume themselves. The staff never allow the pita bread run down and different meats and salads can be compiled into 1001 different sandwiches allowing the different tastes and flavours to mingle with each other.

The Mixed Mezza (19,500 UGX) must be had as a starter and arrives with Hummus Moutabal, Tabouleh and Labneh served with the piping hot pita bread. Dolmah (8,000 UGX), ground lamb wrapped in steamed grape leaves, was flavourful but not as popular as the Mezza.

As you would expect of Middle Eastern cuisine, grilled meat plays a prominent role but vegetarians should not be put off as there are plenty of options, such as the excellent fatoush salad, or Falafal. It was hard to find fault with the Shawarma (19,500 UGX), mixed kebab (23,000 UGX), and zereshk polo (15,000 UGX) – although the chicken was a bit dry.

The real highlight for carnivores though is the Gheimeh Bademjan and Ghormeh Sabzy – both Persian stews made with incredibly succulent lamb and both 19,000 UGX.

All of the food was well presented and the different courses came at a reasonable pace allowing time to chat between them. Overall, Paradis manages to pull off solid dishes which are flavourful and exotic without overpowering or showy spicing. And despite consuming meat, stews and rich dishes you won’t leave feeling heavy or over-full.

Everything on the menus is reasonably priced and, without the alcohol bulking up the bill, you’ll be surprised at how much you got while paying so little. A full meal for our table of nine ended up costing just about 28,000 UGX per person. A real deal by Kampala’s fine dining standards.

The Shisha garden also seems to be a real draw with a number of customers just stopping by for this alone. Shisha is 15,000 UGX and comes in the standard range of fruity flavours.

Paradis is open 12pm – 10.30pm Takeaway is available or send a boda to pick up your order by calling: 0712872555

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