Port Moresby gets its vibe back


Eating out in Papua New Guinea’s capital city, Port Moresby, is getting its groove back after two years of COVID-19 disruptions. Ruby Gamoga toured the city to uncover some new favourites, and revisit some institutions.

Cozy’s Diner has a quirky interiors, including a bike hanging on the wall. Credit: Cozy’s Diner

Port Moresby has seen an upswing in restaurant, bar and hotel openings in recent months. Some are new, while others are old favourites that are reopening after being forced to close because of COVID-19.

Numerous plans for new city apartments are another sign that life may be returning to some normality despite COVID-19.

Three new diners include Bunka Cafe on Baruni Road, Cozy’s Diner on Ela Beach Road, and Fisho’s, the only fish and chip shop in the heart of downtown.

When I ask owner Kali Alu where the name Bunka comes from, she says it is a phonetic spelling of the word ‘bunker’, one of the relics left behind from World War 2 at Paga Hill, where she had planned to set up shop before finally settling on a site at the industrial ECM compound.

‘It’s a very friendly environment,’ Alu adds. ‘I try to know everyone by name. The food is simple but tasty. My assistant makes the drinks and I make the food, so it’s quick service as well.’

Bunka’s menu includes sandwiches, sides, pies, smoothies and teas. The food is made and served from a shipping container kitchen, and customers can dine alfresco.

Story continues after advertisment...

Cozy’s Diner, which opened last December, is another place with a good feel. There’s good food, live entertainment (they provide a small platform for new vocalists to play for free) and an excellent variety of beer and spirits.

Co-owner Andreas Kotsonis says Cozy’s has a lot of repeat customers. ‘People keep coming back – they absolutely love it here,’ he says. ‘You see them relaxing, with their feet folded on the chairs. They become one with the environment. We have a great family vibe.’

Cozy’s is inconspicuous and easy to miss. There is a modest outdoor setup, but Kotsonis has plans to develop that into a beer garden to make use of the beachfront views. The place also has unique internal decor, with a bike as a centrepiece, hung by chains above the bar counter, and many curious antique items on display such as cultural masks, a legless foosball table, retro diner signs, and a collection of paper money from around the world.

Grilled lamb rack at Akura, an elegant dining and lounge bar that has opened at Harbourside. Credit:

Another striking feature is the value for your buck: nowhere else in Port Moresby are you able to get three sizeable drumsticks in a mains meal for only K35. Says Kotsonis: ‘In Cyprus where I’m from, we either have a lot of little dishes served up as a feast or we serve an overkill of a single plate, so you’ll find most of our main meals are served this way.’ Fisho’s, the latest addition to the chain of Meat Haus outlets, also serves portions that surprise. Their battered and crumbed ling fish, at K10, is the size of your hand and it can be paired with a side of potato scallops, coleslaw, salad, pineapple fritters, battered crabsticks and calamari, plus chips of course. The place is located at what was previously Meat Haus Town. There isn’t much room for dining in, but customers are able to sit at tables at the adjacent Buffalo Burger, its sister company.

A fourth noteworthy opening is that of the Japanese-influenced Akura at Harbourside. Click here to read our review of this vibrant restaurant.

The article ‘Port Moresby gets its vibe back’ was first published in the June-August edition of PNG Now, Papua New Guinea’s leading lifestyle magazine.

Leave a Reply