The Restaurant Scene

I know I am speaking from a purely expat perspective here but so be it. Most Timorese do not have spare disposable income to splash on restaurants as us expats do but life goes on nevertheless.

In general, restaurant life has returned to normal for those that can afford it. As mentioned previously, the Monkey Bar has downgraded while Ross concentrates on earning some real money for a change courtesy of the huge influx of foreign troops. Hotel Dili carries on as per normal. Hotel Esplanada is much the same, as is Hotel Timor and Vasco da Gamas.

In the Area Branca direction, the seaside restaurant across from the Enigma bar operates as per normal as does the Balinese Paradise restaurant (security assured by the GNR across the road). The Victoria restaurant remains closed as does Bachky. BanThai is closed but at least it is reasonably safe as the bar/nightclub joint across is used by NZ troops. The CazBar has hardly missed a beat and my favourite juice bar, the Sol e Mar is back after a one month hiatus.

The City Cafe, Metro Cafe, Foodstart, Crazy Sandwich and MyFali all now appear to be running as per usual. (The Oceano department store finally did re-open a week or so ago.)

The Terrace Cafe near the Palacio do Governo continues its decor improvements and is one of the few commercial establishments that actively advertises with special meal deals etc. Temptations next to the Portuguese embassy is also operating, as is Cafe Brasil around the corner which has stayed open for most of the last couple of months.

Castaways and the Dili Club have also pressed on for most of past couple of months. The Dili Club in its new western Comorro Road location has expanded its menu with the addition of a new chef. I think they are doing well with the vastly increased take-away pizza market. “Can you deliver 50 pizzas to the ???? army base ?”

There’s no doubt there is an expectation of increased business from foreign troops and perhaps particularly from the forthcoming new UN setup. The bars will have to wait a little longer as the lads with guns will remain “dry” for quite a while yet – perhaps forever.

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