Tuesday 27 November 2012

Luanda Nightlife

Miss Universe.  Angolan.  A rather shabby example of what us chaps have to put up with here.

After a very promising start it suddenly and mysteriously died a couple of years ago.  Since their intrepid correspondents laughed in the face of danger as they risked all testing the food Luanda has to offer, I assumed they’d visited a dodgy place and all perished from food poisoning but no.  The original authors (Frenchmen desperate for culinary solace) finally came to the ends of their contracts leaving Luanda Nightlife bereft of authors willing to spend their evenings scouring the city for good food and then writing about it afterwards.

Until, that is, Claudio Silva, epicure and man-about-town, picked up the regimental colours discarded by the French, rallied his remaining troops and marched victorious once more into the Blogosphere.
Claudio Silva.  He is witty, intelligent, knows about food, can manage a website, his job, his own life and speaks perfect English.  And he is Angolan.  Fuck me.

Angola, and Luanda in particular is booming.  There are new restaurants opening all the time.  Nearly twenty years ago, when I arrived here, there were only about half a dozen places it was half safe for an expat to dine, the prices were generally eye-watering and the food uninspiring.  I kid you not, my colleagues and I preferred to buy chicken grilled by the roadside.  The food was no better but at least it cost bugger all by comparison, was served quickly along with a cold beer and we had loads of friendly Angolans to talk to. 

Now there are so many new and established restaurants, Luanda Nightlife can even categorize them according to ethnicity.  Fancy a Chinese? Lebanese? Italian?  Check Luanda Nightlife out.  I never knew that there are now Mexican and Nordic restaurants in town (what do Nordic restaurants specialize in? Pickled fish and whale steaks? I don’t know, I shall have to go and find out).  LNL also categorizes by average price (bloody useful if you are on a daily ration allowance or wish to avoid the gut churning feeling that fear of the final bill causes) as well as by name and offer decent directions to each place they review.  Finally, and this has to be all down to Sr. Silva, it is largely bi-lingual so Angolans are contributing to the review data base.

In the old days, routine and lack of diversion ground people down.  Sure, some went the disco/whorehouse route but the majority just sat in their staff houses going slowly stir crazy.  Now, with Luanda Nightlife, there is no need to be bored.

Claudio would love to collate the experience of other diners so even though Fat Hippo’s isn’t open yet, I am thinking of ghost writing my own reviews:

‘Fat Hippo’s!  Wonderful cuisine!  Now that’s what I fucking call fucking cooking and a fucking well run fucking restaurant.  Pity the owner’s a fucking twat.’  Some Scottish failed footballer who visited claiming to be an international Chef.

‘An epicurean delight and such value for money!  I even received a bit of change for a thousand dollars!  If the owner hadn’t been such a twat and our accounts department been so strict, I’d have given them a tip.’  Hewlett Packard Executive celebrating his company’s recent acquisition.

‘Friendly, well trained staff and the waitresses are so beautiful, if a little expensive, especially since the owner, who is a twat, refused to add them to the invoice’.  Visiting British politician on a tax payer funded fact finding trip to Angola, name withheld pending proposed Gagged Press legislation.

‘Fookin’ Ace!  I stoofed me gob, got pissed as a rat and puked up al oer mesel.  Owner’s a bit of a twat like but tisn’t his fault, he din’t go to a gud skool like what I did.  Nowahimeen?’  Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to Angola.

‘The food, if any lucid individual could describe biological remains spewed onto cheap Chinese porcelain as such, was barely this side of mediocre and the décor, appalling pseudo Africanesque favored by those devoid of all taste.  As far as the staff are concerned, if I wish to be reminded of the female form, I shall do what any Gentleman would and visit an art gallery.  Clearly, the owner is a twat but I confess to a certain fondness for his hat.’  Quentin Crisp.

Fat Hippo’s.  Opening soon.


  1. my soundbite would be

    "Fat Hippos!"
    "happy food, happy host.....
    don't eat the goat!"

  2. Fat Hippos...do not hurry through the lobster curry, but savour each flavour. The owner may be a twat but so what? Delicious food, wonderful view, come see what's in store for you at Fat Hippos!

  3. Try 'Hip Fatto's', it suggests a better class of blow-out.

  4. Luanda has nothing better to offer than Fat hippo's: an eatery that somehow blends the warm welcome of the Scottish hillside snug, with the relaxed sophistication of a by-gone era. Full Wifi, ample parking, please don't tip the moody white guy it only encourages him.


  5. Dear Maurice,
    You shouldn't be so harsh on yourself. Having read several of your blogposts, I am happy to state categorically that you are not a twat. Look at yourself in a mirror and say to yourself, over and over "I am not a twat!" This should help to build your self-esteem ahead of the restaurant launch.
    Best wishes,

  6. Hahaha. Thanks a lot for the publicity Tom, it's much appreciated. Actually when I took over, among the first posts I did was one featuring your lobster recipe (you've probably seen it):



  7. Look old chap, it' none of my business but aren't those young ladies in the fringe outfits going to catch an awful chill or something?

    Hippo's is going to be a great place. While you're creating something real stop once a day and contemplate how Europe and America are even now feverishly trying to invent whatever comes after "fast food". Food that you have already eaten without knowing it, somehow, I suppose, taste extra.

    "A Pot-à-Hippo's is a must"

  8. Cro,

    I don't think I could carry that one off. Mind you, thinking about it, I could always dust off the white DJ and slouch around muttering things like, 'of all the bars in all the world, she has to walk into mine'. At least being able to 'fix' immigration documents for people would be accurate!


    Cleansed your site of Trolls yet? I wouldn't have the temerity to suggest that Angola has nothing better to offer than Fat Hippo's (or Hip Fatto's), take a look at Claudio's site, 'Luanda Nightlife' but it will be good especially if Marcia let's me clothe the waitresses in only Bikinis and a translucent slip!


    I don't have a mirror. Seriously. I will buy one so I can stop being a twat.


    Yes, I saw that, thank you very much but I reckon that the readers of your site are the kind that perefer someone to cook for them rather than cook for themselves!

    Sir Owl,

    It is so bloody hot I am writing this wrapped only in a beach towel. The biggest, but manageable threat is mosquitoes but by applying the lotion to their exposed body parts myself (as part of the HSE regulations I have just written), I shall personally ensure that none of my girls are bitten.

    Pot-à-Hippo's. Do they manufacture pots of such a generous volume?

  9. Fat Hippo's - where the night life growls - you might find better.. but you won't pay more!

    Seriously, me thinks a riverside restaurant/bar in a fishing paradise should cater to the dock and dine crowd, no?

    Dingy Service from offshore tethers to keep the drunks from smashing up the seawall.

    Harbor dining at it's finest.

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