Though the turmoil in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo casts a baleful shadow, Rwanda has made a remarkable comeback since the 1994 genocide. The country's effective governance, business growth and spectacular health gains have been drawing in foreign investors for years and now tourists, too. Alissa Ruxin came to Kigali as the wife of one of the many foreign development experts who discovered that in Rwanda they can get things done. Case in point: Heaven, a chic open-sided brasserie that she built on the side of one of the city's highest hills.
In a sense, Heaven (www.heavenrwanda.com) is Ruxin's own development project. The ingredients and décor are all sourced locally. Many of the waiters and cooks were orphaned by the genocide or disease. Ruxin plans to open an onsite hospitality school, to infuse these shattered lives and Rwanda's nascent restaurant industry with new energy and skills.
Progress certainly never tasted this good. The menu mixes African, Mexican, Indian and Mediterranean: starters include pumpkin samosas with papaya salad and sensational quesadillas, and for the mains, the menu offers up beef fillet with cassava chimichurri alongside dry-rubbed barbecued pork ribs. To find Heaven, head for what used to be hell the Hotel Mille Collines, better known as Hotel Rwanda and walk downhill until you see the sign.