Lockdown in Kigali sees me sampling Indonesian cuisine

Thursday June 11 2020

Borneo Indonesian Restaurant's beef rendang served with steamed rice.

Borneo Indonesian Restaurant's beef rendang served with steamed rice. PHOTO | JEFFERSON RUMANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The "new normal" has seen me needing more out of life and consequently out of food. Before the lockdown, being outdoors was something I took for granted. Now, whenever the opportunity arises I just can't wait to get out of the house.

When I eat out, I now really savour the food and try to understand the different flavours and the ingredients that go into making the meal.

This new outlook has had me visiting all the little restaurants that I had often skipped. One that was number one on my list was Borneo Indonesian Restaurant.

The restaurant opened its doors in Kigali about three years ago. Its owners are Fetty Fatimah and Sanjeev Kumar.

The couple started it as a small operation in an area of town called Kinamba. However, it struggled to get customers as it was crammed in an area filled with numerous other hotels and restaurants that were not really in line with what they were trying to build.

Their fortunes changed when they moved to the upscale neighbourhood of Kimihurura, Kigali’s gourmet capital where gourmands frequent with reckless abandon.


Borneo Indonesian Restaurant is located along KG 4 Avenue, above Lavana Restaurant and Elim Apartments. It is the first and only authentic Indonesian restaurant in Kigali.

I got to the restaurant at around 4pm for an early dinner to catch up with my cousin. While I waited for him I got to have a good look at the restaurant’s interior, service and overall ambience.