The Marquises are a group of mountainous islands of volcanic origin, the largest being Nuku Hiva with a land mass of 330 km. The main town in Nuku Hiva is Taiohae which has a scattering of houses along the shore and rising a little way up the steep hillsides, a hospital, one bank, two small supermarkets, and a town hall which serves as the local gathering area which host’s a couple of market stalls selling local goods, a fast food bar with tables and chairs and always loud music. There are other market stalls set up along the front selling local art works, drinks, locally grown fruit and vegetables, the selection is very limited, but everything is fresh, organic and delicious.
There are few restaurants in the town, I’m not sure how many. (I will update this information before we leave).
We ate pizza at a little shoreside restaurant “Moana Nui”, where the pizzas are baked in a traditional brick oven, they were rather good although the extra toppings were a little meager, if you order a pizza with Olives, you will be lucky to get more than two!
We ate ceviche at a little bar just off the dock, and that was spectacular, it was such a generous helping that we took what we couldn’t finish back to the boat for lunch the following day. I served it with chilled Pamplemouse and watermelon on a crisp green salad, it was truly delicious.
Last night we went to Pearl Lodge, a 4 star hotel and restaurant. The outside tables were on a patio next to the infinity pool, overlooking the bay, an idyllic breathtaking setting. The staff were lovely, genuinely friendly, the service was a little slow, but then who’s in a rush when in a setting like that. The drinks were rather expensive, a champagne cocktail was $19, a cosmopolitan $14, fruit juice $5.50 and gin & tonic $8.50.
A friend was treating us to dinner as a thank you, he ordered steak while Bob and I ordered the chef’s special, “duck”. The appetizer was a soup, which Bob and I had a guessing game over the ingredients, the soup was green, and tasted of potato, onion and something else that neither of us could identify, although we both throughly enjoyed it. I found the main course a little disappointing and unimaginative for a 4 star resort. I rarely eat poultry these days, and then only when I think its going to be a special treat.
The chef obviously knew how to cook because the duck was cooked to perfection, which is not an easy thing to do, and despite our friend’s comment (which I didn’t appreciate) and delivered with a look of disgust, saying it looked greasy, the reason he didn’t order it. As it turned out the duck was not at all greasy, it was, as I said cooked to perfection, and had it been served with a side vegetable and a sauce, could have been spectacular. However, it came with only a side of fries, and a dried up slice of decoratively cut carrot, no sauce or dressing, so the dish was a little bland, which was a great shame. Desert was a lovely surprise, a quartet of mini deserts on a slate tray, there was a creme brûlée, chocolate lava cake, Nouget ice cream and a passion fruit carpaccio. All beautifully presented and delicious, a tantalizing treat for the taste buds…
Bob and I had arrived at the hotel late afternoon to enjoy a couple of cocktails and watch the sun go down before our friend joined us. I loved the setting and would go back again happily for drinks, and absolutely for desert, but perhaps not for dinner, but maybe we’ll give them another try…