Saturday, October 30, 2010

La Foya in Le Meridien Ile Maurice, Mauritius

If I was a marketing student I'd possibly be quite impressed by the Starwood group - of all the dozens (possibly hundreds) of hotels and resorts in Mauritius, I find myself in Le Meridien Ile Maurice - after all the great dinners I've had in Le Meridian KL, only seemed natural to come to Le Meridien all the way over here as well :)

Blogs & Pics of the resort proper will come in a future post, but for now here's a quick review of the restaurant we had dinner in last night - La Foya. It's a "ala-carte" restaurant, but every night there are only 3 choices of starter, main, and dessert.

Doesn't really show in this shot, but the beach is immediately at the right side of the frame, so you have your dinner practically on the beach.

One immediate criticism is that the restaurant is perhaps a tad bit too dark. I'm all for low lighting for ambience and mood, but when I can't comfortably make out what I'm eating, it's too dark. (For the photography-minded among you, exposure was 1 full second at f/2.8, iso1600).

Anyway we start off with a basket of assorted bread and butter. The bread is OK, nowhere near the kind of bread available at the restaurants in Le Meridien KL.

Tuna Sashimi, complementary "pre-starter." I know there's a fancy name for this "pre-starter" dish but I don't know what that name is ;P ... nothing really spectacular, if I'm honest.

My starter is the Classic Horiatiki Salad with Brined Feta Cheese and Lemon Confit (350 Rs). It's interesting, and something totally new to my palette. Tastes very Greek, what with the olives and all.

The darling has the Slow-cooked Calamari Salad accented with sweet chili peppers on orange salad (350 Rs). Calamari was nice and tender, although the 'orang salad' bit consisted of 2 peeled slices of orange on the side.

My choice of main course - the Herb-roasted chicken breast with roast garlic whipped potato (400 Rs). Nothing special about the whipped potato, which is miles below Prime's Truffle Mashed Potato, but the chicken breast was superb. Tender and juicy on the inside, with the perfect sauce accompaniment.

This is the darling's Pan-roasted fish fillet with roasted pepper & eggplant compote, lemon & pepper sauce with crisp capers (400 Rs). The fish is capitaine - which is apparently local to Africa/Mauritius. Flesh of the fish is tasty and fresh, if a little firm.

Dessert time! The Coffee Parfait with crispy almond biscuit & Amaretto sabayon (350 Rs) is a bit of a disappointment. It's basically a room-temperature coffee-flavored cream, with a forgettable biscuit.

The La Faya selection of ice cream & sorbets, passion fruit, strawberry, vanilla (300 Rs) is better. Passion fruit sorbet is refreshing, but takes a while to finish because it's pretty sour.

Overall, food was above average, and the service was impeccable. With the current exchange rate of 10.2 Rs = 1.00 RM putting the price of the dinner at about $105 per person, it's certainly not cheap. 90% of the people here (us included) are probably at the resort on a meals-included package, though, so the prices are probably merely a formality.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photo Spam: Mauritius Diary (Post #3, Day 20)

Third Photo Spam post in my Mauritius series! We start off with the West Coast of the island, at a beach named Flic en Flac. It's a Rs24, 45 minute bus journey from the township of Quatre Bornes.

What I like best about this beach is that it isn't commercialized yet. It's not like Phuket's beaches where every 5 minutes you're accosted by someone trying to get you to ride their jet skis.

The wind is also cool and refreshing. None of that 'sticky' and 'salty' feeling you get at tropical beaches. Click here for the bigger version of this pic.

I'm here on a Sunday and it's really quiet.

Managed to catch a glimpse of an Indian wedding.

Restaurants are nicely decorated - I decide to eat my lunch here.

This dish is called magic bowl (I kid you not). Nothing magic about it, it's just rice, egg, and some chicken.

Coming back to food from the city, I don't know what this is called, but it's dumplings in soup. Vegetable dumplings. If you can imagine taking siew mai wrappers, stuffing them with chinese cabbage, and then boiling them in soup ... that's what it tastes like.

Snack shop opposite the apartment I stay in.

Here's the chicken tandoori. It's wet and rather tasteless, nothing like the tandoori I'm used to and was expecting.

That's the last photo in this series - will post my Nairobi Safari pics next!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Spam: Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya

Photo Spam! We're in a restaurant in Nairobi named Carnivore. No prizes for guessing what the main focus of the restaurant is - it's meat, meat and more meat.

A few years ago Carnivore used to serve game meat such as Zebra and Giraffe, but the sale of these 'exotic' meats have since been banned by the Kenyan government. The meats that are on offer:

I liked:
Chicken Wings
Beef Sausages
Pork Sausages
Pork Ribs
Ostrich Meatballs

I didn't like:
Ox Heart
Ox Testicles
Chicken Liver

Anyway we start off with bread and butter.

Spinach Quiche and Sweet Potato fritters

Salad and sauces

I think this was beef ... lol.

Ostrich Meatballs



Chicken (dry!), sausage and baked potato

Ox testicles :D

Here's the huge BBQ pit where all the meats are roasted!

Dinner isn't cheap - after non-alcoholic drinks it's about Sh3,000 - roughly rm120.00. It's also quite a way aways from the city, so if you don't have your own transport you'll need to price in a return taxi. Having said that if you do have a night to spare in Nairobi you really should make the trip - it's a great experience!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Photo Spam: Nairobi, Kenya 2010

Just got back from a short trip to Nairobi, Kenya! Sadly it was a short trip for work, so I didn't have much time to really see (and photograph) what the city has to offer, but here's a small collection of shots.

First though, a few thoughts on Nairobi:

(1) The Weather. Before landing here I'd thought that the entire continent of Africa was "omg it's so hot I'll just sit in front of the aircon the whole day." But Nairobi is actually pretty cool. The few afternoon hours are similar to Kay-El/Singapore kind of weather, but other than that it's mid 20's during the day, and low 20's at night. Lovely weather to be in.

Big difference is the humidity though, or rather lack of it. The air here is very dry, and very dusty.

(2) The city. One Kenyan leader's quote was "Nairobi has become a city of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars," and that's kind of true. While the city centre is modern, just a 5 minute drive out to the industrial area and Nairobi starts to look very poor indeed. Plus, it's a bit disconcerting to be at a traffic light sitting in a car and having 5-year old child beggars mob you asking for money.

(3) The people. Now I'm no expert in world cultures, but the Kenyan people (in Nairobi, at least), are among the friendliest and most helpful I've met. They're cheerful, jovial, and make you feel very 'at home.'

(4) The security. Security is high. Practially every hotel, office building, and many restaurants, clubs and other buildings have full time 24-hour security guards with car undercarriage mirrors and metal detectors. Does make walking around the city a tad bit less relaxing.

But OK, enough of my rambling - before you get bored and alt-tab, here are the photos as promised! We start off with the roadside vendors - these guys walk in the middle of the roads from car to car selling everything under the sun - including puppies, kittens, and baby rabbits:

Every Saturday there is a Maasai market in the city centre - where the indigenous people peddle their handiwares:

Panorama shot of Nairobi from the top of Kenyatta International Conference Centre. Click here for a larger size to really do justice to the shot.

Industrial area. No this isn't a jail, it's a wall to a factory compound.

Random roadside stall ... not sure what they sell :D

Nairobi street market!

Rows upon rows of handicraft at a gift shop.

And on to the food (what to do ... this is a food blog after all)! This was beef stew with rice. Sh200 (about rm8) - tasted quite 'Malaysian,' actually. Except for the vegetable that I'd never tasted before.

Meatball soup. Very 'herby.' Sh160

Tuna melt sandwich with fries. Nice, but a little different tasting cos of (probably) the same unknown vegetable.

Chicken Masala with Naan.

That ends this first post about Nairobi! I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Nairobi National Park for Safari - pictures to come in the next photo spam post!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Onami Grill and Sushi Bar - Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya! Starting off with a pure foodie post ~ from an expat area mall called Westgate - where we'll explore Onami Grill and Sushi Bar!

Love the decorations in the restaurant. Especially the 'central' area that has a vase ... that looks suspiciously Chinese. From the Ming dynasty era, or something. But let's not nitpick :)

We're each served with a mini salad to start off. And of course, green tea - I don't really drink anything else with Japanese food.

Appetizers - Assorted Tempura. 3 big prawns, sweet potato, green beans and others. Quite above average!

Salmon sashimi slices are huge! Thick and meaty, and very fresh, too.

Red Snapper sashimi comes as an appetizer.

Since it's lunch I go for a grilled chicken thigh with spanish paprika sauce. It's got a nice taste, but ... doesn't at all fit the overall Japanese food 'taste.'

Prawn noodles - unfortunately no idea how it tasted, but it looked pretty good!

Overall, was a pretty nice place. A bit on the pricey side perhaps - 9,000KES for four people (roughly MYR360).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photo Spam: Mauritius Diary (Post #2, Day 4)

Continuing my previous series for my Mauritius trip! Starting off with the Sunday market in Quatre Bornes. Not unlike Petaling Street, but 90% of the things sold here are clothes and food.

Speaking of food, I go for 'special briyani' from one of the dozens of stalls selling ... briyani.

It's a huge mound of savory rice (not as 'strong-tasting' as indian briyani), with a big potato and chicken drumstick buried somewhere inside. Delicious, and at 80Rs or so, not too pricey either.

Can't say the same about the Curry Chicken with Rice I had at the Food Court at Ebene Way. Lots and lots of rice, but the curry wasn't spicy at all and tasted closer to tomato sauce chicken than curry.

Not sure how accurate it is, but this pizza chain advertises itself as Mauritius' best pizza.

I try the Cheesy Double Salami. The pizza itself is pretty good, but pricey as heck. 179Rs for a personal pizza (19cm diameter).

Finishing off the post with something cultural. Colleague in the office's son just took his first Holy Communion - and these 'gifts packs' were passed out to everyone in the office (and I assume everyone at the church, too). Commemorative gifts! I don't even remember when I took my first communion.

Won't have any more updates til next week; weekdays are pretty much work only, with the weekends for exploring. Also I'll be in Kenya the whole of next week. Still undecided if I should lug along my camera ... hmmm.