Are you tired of the same old steaks, ribs and chops? Ever thought about wildebeest, or crocodile as a main course? Well why not live dangerously and these meats a try at The Lawns.
The restaurant is set in a spacious garden on Impala Avenue, off Upper Kololo Terrace. The Lawns is a venue for a variety of occasions from lazy Sunday afternoon drinks, cool evening jazz, date night with your partner or happy hour from 5-7pm with colleagues. The Lawns ticks a number of boxes in the Kampala restaurant stakes.
There are comfortable sofas on the lawn in which you can hide, and a covered dining area for a more intimate dining experience that shelters you from the elements as well as a cosy bar with screens for those wanting a venue to watch that all-important match without the crush of the crowds in other places. During big sporting fixtures, such as the World Cup and Wimbledon, a large screen is erected for better viewing. To entertain the children, there are a number of semi-tame rabbits who hop across the lawns. As yet, they only appear outside and not on the menu!
While the pleasant ambiance is a draw the Lawns is best known for the exotic options on its menu.
Meat: Wild meats to be specific. The Game Platter (52,000 UGX) is perhaps the most famous menu item, with a selection of 10 oz of wild meats, including kudu, impala, crocodile, wildebeest, ostrich, springbok and blesbok. Helpfully, the meat arrives with flags bearing the name of each meat. The platter is served with potato wedges, sautéed vegetables, and a range of delicious dips such as tamarind, garlic mayonnaise and chilli chutney. The meat is well cooked but tender and in the case of boks, carry such subtle and delicate flavours, that the dips are almost overpowering. Not all of the wilder options are available every day, so if you are after one in particular, it is worth phoning ahead to check the supply.
In addition to the mixed platter, unusual meats find their way into fusion dishes elsewhere on the menu. Ostrich works well in a burger, providing a moist, but not fatty, alternative to the regular beef variety. It also works surprisingly well as meatballs in a traditional Indian kofta curry sauce. For those in the market for a really wild night with friends or family, there is an option of a crocodile tail at 150,000 UGX. This is definitely one for sharing, and must be ordered in advance.
If you prefer your wild animals in a park rather than on a plate, there are plenty of other good choices on the menu. A range of sizzlers give an interesting twist on the usual muchomo, and there is a distinctly Indian influence which provides for exciting fusion dishes. Vegetarians might find their selection limited but the Paneer Shaslick (14,000 UGX) comes highly recommended for veggies and non-veggies alike.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from lunch time until reasonably late and just launched a new lunchtime menu for those who don’t have the time to linger before returning to their desks. Since service can be a little slow at times, this could lure a number of busy professionals from their nearby offices. However, with lunch starting at UGX 30,000 for two courses, this might not be an everyday lunch choice!
The entire venue is available for private function hire, and there is an air-conditioned conference room for corporate events.
It is worth heading to The Lawns fairly early to take advantage of happy hour, and to ensure a space in the limited car park. For those arriving a little later, there is on-street parking in Impala Avenue with askaris.
The restaurant has a website: http://www.thelawns.co.ug/ but better to check their Facebook page which is kept regularly updated with new items and specials: https://www.facebook.com/thelawns.kampala. Should you wish to phone, the numbers are: +256 (0) 414 250 337 or +256 (0) 312 515 373.