By Jefferson Rumanyika
Onomo Hotels is a three-star group founded in 2009. It runs hotels in several African cities — Dakar, Abidjan, Libreville, Bamako, Lomé, Cape Town, Conakry, Durban, and now Kigali.
The newly established Onomo Hotel Kigali is located on KN1 Avenue in Nyarugenge district.
The name Onomo originates from Mali, and means harmony.
The hotel is built on a hill and overlooks Kacyiru and Kimihurura.
Onomo’s exterior is done in geometric Imigongo patterns in black and white, showcasing Rwandan art and architecture.
The restaurant’s interior features murals of traditional Rwandan women with cows as well as Imigongo art.
As I settled in for a meal, I thought the restaurant seemed understaffed. When an attendant finally came to ask for my order, I was quite hungry. So, I settled for the first thing on the menu, a chicken fricassee served with fried plantains.
The attendant was gracious and we engaged in light banter before my meal was served. I had some rye bread with butter before my main course.
The fricassee consisted of pieces of chicken simmered with bacon lardons and mushrooms.
It was served with banana cider jus, and a generous portion of mildly hot fried plantains.
The chicken was tender and sweet and had been braised in mushroom soup. The thick white banana cider sauce was rich and creamy and went well with the fried plantains.
Onomo’s restaurant serves pan-African as well as contemporary American and Italian dishes. The starter options include salad niçoise, avocado mixed salad, butternut squash soup and roasted tomato and vegetable soup.
The main courses are grouped according to the types of meat including classic beef pepper steak, chicken fricassee and stuffed breast of chicken, grilled Capitaine fish, and oven baked pork shanks.
Side dishes include white rice, chips, fried vegetables, steamed potatoes, mashed potatoes and fried or boiled plantain.
The dessert options include duo of chocolate mousse, seasonal fresh fruit, ice cream trio and Crème brûlée.
Food prices range from Rwf3,750 ($4.3) to Rwf11,000 ($12.7). The hotel says it hopes to attract “70 per cent of African customers and 30 per cent of Westerners”, including business people.
Onomo Hotel Kigali has a wide choice of soft drinks, fresh juices, local and imported beers, ciders, wine, sparkling champagne, aperitifs, gin, vodka, premium and deluxe whiskys and cocktails.
There is an infinity pool adjacent to the terrace bar for hotel guests.
Under the label Onomo Visual Art, the hotel hosts exhibitions of contemporary African art including photography and video productions.