Located at the police station end of Buganda Road, opposite Fina Bank, the outside of Melting Pot suggests that it is a smarter venue than your average Buganda Road lunch joint. A chalk board of offerings, including some intriguing evening cocktail options (godfather grasshopper, anyone?) makes a tempting entrance. Curiously, the board advertises breakfast, but there is no evidence on the menu of breakfast-specific options.
The interior of the restaurant is extremely spacious and cool and there are a few tables outside in a small, but pleasant, patio area. Potted plants and painted gourds provide a partial barrier between diner and the traffic fumes coming off the main road. The decor is a mix of simple modern styles with novelty inflated coloured chairs.
Melting Pot’s tagline is ‘bite into something different’ and Kampala’s lunch market is offered this with a heavily Indian-influenced a la carte menu. However, at first glance, the menu looks limited compared to similar establishments. The modest range of options includes Indian snacks to start (samosas, bhajias) at 5,000-6,000 UGX as well as more serious main course options for lunch. These start at 10,000 UGX for sausage and chips/salad which is more than you might expect to pay for a simple dish in neighbouring restaurants. However, none of the usual favourites are neglected such as fried liver (12,000 UGX) or fish fillet (18,000 UGX). The fish fillet was enormous and came piled high with chips and a small salad but everything on the plate proved overly greasy.
Highlights of the menu include the ‘house specialities’ which are Indian-influenced dishes like Lahori fish (16,000 UGX) and for those fancying a spicier bite in the middle of the day, peri peri fish (18,000 UGX). Since every self-respecting restaurant in downtown Kampala has buffet on the menu there is this option for 15,000 UGX. However, compared with other lunch joints in town the food and sauce choices were limited. The staples of matooke, rice, sweet potato and posho were there, but there was no pumpkin, yam or gonja. For sauce, there was only beef and beans on offer, with g-nut and greens on the side. Fruit salad was included for dessert, but was dry and uninspiring.
Lunch was accompanied by an usual soundtrack of latin-inspired saxophone jazz which makes an interesting change from other diners’ chatter or radio hits, but it felt like it might be more suited to an after work crowd. Nyama choma is available after 6pm, and the cocktails from the well-stocked bar could well tempt in weary workers on the way home. The bbq platter (25,000 UGX) includes mishkaki, sheesh kebab and chicken tikka sounds ideal for sharing with colleagues over a beer. Depending on availability, goat chops make the evening menu which is something not always seen on the nyama choma list.
Give the Melting Pot a try if you’re on the lookout for some massive portions or want a spicier lunch. Give it a miss if you are a buffet connoisseur who is looking for a full range of options to fill your plate.