Java House – Bugolobi (3/5)

Name: Java House 

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Local location: Village Mall, Bugolobi

Website: https://www.javahouseafrica.com/

Description: Java House Africa, initially a Kenyan-based café and restaurant that opened in 1999, is a chain of coffee houses that serve a wide variety of meals and rich East African coffee. Its services and experiences can be summed up to it being a warm and welcoming spot where “invigorating coffee and tasty meals are served, love stories are born, gossip is traded, relationships blossom and relaxation become an art.” They currently have up to 47 branches across East Africa, and are growing with each year!

Brief History: Java House Africa, formerly Nairobi Java House, was founded in the late 1990’s by Kevin Ashley and Jon Wagner with their first branch opening at Adam’s Arcade along Ngong Road in Kenya. Java House Africa played a significant role in introducing gourmet coffee drinking and the café culture to East Africa.

“In 1999, we introduced coffee drinking and gourmet café culture to Kenya. As we grew, we created more spots where people could enjoy the Java experience conveniently. Java House is on the move — we’re building branches and creating jobs all over East Africa, working to bring the Java experience closer to you.”

Adams Arcade 1999
Java House – Adams Arcade branch circa 1999 (obtained from the website)

Overall Rating:  images.png images.png images.png Greystar.gif Greystar.gif


My Personal Experience(s)

Grabbing Coffee for a Meeting

My experience today was great! Growing up in Uganda, whenever I had an exam coming up and needed a little pick-me-up, Java House would be my go-to mainly because it was right across from where I lived. So naturally, coming back to visit…this is where I set up my first meeting appointment. I ordered the usual, an iced coffee and a croissant. I was not at all disappointed by the quality of the food and while the price was a little pricey, the serving size measured up and the overall presentation of the food was great. As for the atmosphere, I personally love the vibes Java House gives off, however it did lack background music to give my two cents on. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 7.05.05 PM.png

Coming in for Personal Work

Today was a little more of a disappointing experience, in terms of value for money specifically. While the last time I came in the food serving somewhat matched the high prices, this time round when I ordered my caffè macchiato (which tasted delicious, I must add), the serving cup was almost the size of my little finger! I mean while it is a caffè macchiato and not a regular cappuccino, it was a litle pricey for the size. Once again the service, atmosphere and presentation was impeccable however the serving size was way too small for what I was paying.

Grabbing Lunch

Today I came in a little earlier than lunchtime and headed towards my reserved booth that was near an outlet so I could also charge my laptop. As usual, service was quick and very personable however things took a turn for the worse towards lunch time. After a couple of minutes of skimming through the rather diverse but also somewhat limited menu for lunch, I decided to take my shot with my favorite: barbecue wings. The time it took for them to serve me was impressive, as the wait time was definitely less than 20 minutes.

However shortly after the food arrived, I was joined by a couple who were ushered to sit there by the hostess. It confused me as other booths around me kept freeing up and they remained seated in my booth, despite the space available AND the fact that I made a reservation. Food portion was also too small for the price I paid, with a side of fries that went cold within ten minutes. As a chicken wing enthusiast (ha!) it’s safe to say I expected a little better quality wings – they were a little dry, and had that chicken-y taste to them that served as an indicator that perhaps they weren’t marinated as well as they could have been, which kind of threw me off.

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To Sum It Up…

Ratings

Cleanliness: images.png images.png images.png images.png images.png

Presentation:  images.png images.png images.png images.png Greystar.gif

Service: images.png images.png images.png images-1.pngGreystar.gif

Atmosphere: images.png images.png images.png images.png Greystar.gif

Value for money: images.png images.png images.png images.png Greystar.gif

Food quality: images.png images.png images.png images-1.pngGreystar.gif

Music: none

Strengths

  • Great service, everyone was so friendly and personable.
  • The overall vibe of the place, despite being crowded, was very positive.
  • To add on to the service work, they are very quick with serving their meals and drinks.
  • Food is always very presentable and appealing

Weaknesses

  • Space and demand. When the place got too crowded, they ushered a couple to share a booth with me. A little invasion of privacy, but I couldn’t say much as there was no other seating area of the couple. However when another booth freed up, the couple remained seated with me instead of being ushered to the newly opened booth. To add on to it – the couple started arguing! It was a weirdly unpleasant experience, not something I am used to, but nonetheless gave me a little insight on the way the place is run.

Suggestion: perhaps reservations should be taken if it gets this crowded every day at a certain time, or perhaps no longer allow people in if it is too crowded?

  • Value for money. While it isn’t the worst place I’ve been to in terms of the disproportionality between the price and food quality/portion, it wasn’t the best either. I believe this is primarily due to the name of Java House, but I will definitely opt to choose to support a more local business that serves the same quality food for a more decent price.

Suggestion: either increase the quality and serving portions, or decrease the pricing.

To Conclude…

Java House is a nice place to come treat yourself here and there, but I would not recommend coming here on a frequent basis if you are looking for a place to relax for work. It’s more of a spot for meetings, catching up with friends/family, or simply going in the early hours before heading to work/school. Not only is it a little overpriced, but once it gets crowded it is nearly impossible to sit comfortably in your own space. Again, it is a multinational restaurant so it could just have been the management of the Kampala branch.

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