My Dad recently got a job in Uganda that has him working in Kampala for the next year and a half. He left about a month ago but recently came back for the weekend and I, of course, had to see him. My dad knows me well so when we were planning on getting together, he was quick to suggest we go out for brunch. We began throwing around ideas of places we could go: About Thyme, Artcaffe, Java House, Junipers… The usual list. I was (not so) secretly rooting for Brew Bistro or Jiko because I knew you could get bottomless mimosas there and he’d be paying the bill (you can’t blame a girl for trying). I think he caught on and to cut a long story short, we ended up compromising and going to Urban Eatery. Urban Eatery is the culmination of six restaurants: Yog, Haandi, Fireplace, The Daily Bistro, Bar Asia, and Mercury. These restaurants share a communal dining area which sounds tacky but is actually incredibly well designed with an open floor plan and modern, trendy, architectural design from their chairs to their light fixtures.
The kitchens of the five restaurants are up against the wall with Mercury’s bar centered in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by barstools. A few of the kitchens aren’t closed-off, they have chest-high opaque glass which allows you to watch the chefs at work if you stand up and walk around which is pretty cool.
Urban also has nice outdoor seating that surprisingly doesn’t get the noise, pollution, or commotion of Wayaki Way. I had only been to Urban Eatery once before and sat outside with friends for about three hours enjoying the sunshine and cold beers. Urban’s outdoor seating also has large heaters for cool evenings which makes it a great place to sit and relax for cocktails or a long meal. There’s limited seating outside so if you want an outside table on a weekend, I’d suggest calling ahead.
On the particular Saturday morning that my Dad and I went to Urban it was raining really hard so we ended up sitting inside. Sometimes sitting inside the restaurant can get loud especially when the restaurant is full. Fortunately for my Dad and I, there were only about three other tables of people there.
When I sat down, I ordered a double cappuccino which had beautiful latte art (is it still considered latte art if it’s a cappuccino?) and was warm. Let’s take a moment and appreciate how delicious Kenyan coffee is. I don’t even have to tell you this was a great cup because it tasted like it was made with high grade Kenyan coffee. I wanted to sit and sip my coffee as I caught up with my dad before ordering food which can only be done if the coffee is piping hot. It wasn’t. When coffee is served warm, it takes about 30 minutes for it to turn lukewarm which gives the coffee a really bitter and unpleasant taste. To be fair, I didn’t ask the kind waitress to take my coffee back so it’s no fault of hers, this is just a friendly suggestion/comment, I like my coffee close to scalding hot.
I know, you’re probably thinking, “What? How’re you moving onto the food already? What about the mimosas you fought so valiantly for?” at least that’s what I’d be thinking…
I thought about ordering a mimosa, but I couldn’t. Mercury didn’t have mimosas as a cocktail option on their menu, although I’m sure they could make it (they must have orange juice and champagne behind the bar) and I didn’t want to drink alone… That’s no fun. Plus, you can’t just have one mimosa… I’m saving myself for that bottomless experience.
Back to the food. The breakfast/brunch menu is pretty limited. The only restaurants in the group that serve actual brunch food is The Daily Bistro and Yog. Yog serves muesli and yogurt or fruits and The Daily Bistro has a pretty basic array of brunch menu items. As a rule of thumb, when I go out to eat I try to order items that I usually wouldn’t make for myself at home. Urban Eatery’s menu doesn’t leave a lot of brunch items to choose from when that rule is applied. It’s either a pastry, Morning Pizza, Eggs Benedict, or a Spicy Italian Breakfast.
I wasn’t feeling too adventurous so I decided to go with the Garden Vegetable Omelette (I’m aware I broke my own rule). The Garden Vegetable Omelette is made with two eggs, red pepper, grilled zucchini, onion, parsley, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. It is served with a fresh salad and butter and jam for the accompanying bread basket. I ordered a side of two sausages too, because what is breakfast without sausages?
The omelette was decent. The veggies on the inside were lightly seasoned and the omelette itself was fluffy and light. The salad was nicely dressed with the perfect amount of tanginess from the vinaigrette. The bread basket was a little sad… I wish I had gotten a photo of it for you guys. It was filled with over-processed looking bread, not fresh bread which I would have expect from a restaurant of Urban Eatery’s stature. However, smother the bread with butter and jam and it’s actually really good.
Our waitress was really polite and helpful. With only three other tables in the restaurant, one would expect service to be good, and it was.
A great aspect of the service at Urban Eatery is that the six restaurants are working in collaboration. So, unlike when you are at a food court, you don’t get three different waiters pushing for you to order food off their menu. When you sit down, you get one menu with all of the restaurant’s menu items on it nicely organized so it’s easy to get to the section you want. This makes your job, and the waiter/waitresses job a lot easier.
My experience at Urban Eatery was nice. It had a great ambiance and yummy food but not a very extensive brunch menu. I’d definitely come back here for lunch or dinner but I can’t say it would be my first pick for breakfast/brunch. I perused the other restaurant menus as we waited for our food to come out and they looked really good! I look forward to hopefully going back one day for drinks or lunch.
The food: 8/10
The drink: 7/10
The service: 9/10