The Seychelles is notable for delectable Creole cuisine which is characterised by a fusion of Indo-Chinese, African and French culinary traditions and flavours. It is no surprise then, that when I visited Mahé – the largest island of the archipelago – I sought a Creole experience and was richly rewarded. Chez Lamar is one of the many restaurants at the luxurious Banyan Tree resort and boasts a predominantly Creole menu replete with splendid sounding offerings attached to jarring prices.
On my evening at the famed Chez Lamar, I was encouraged by a pleasant waiter with a toothy grin to try out the day’s set menu. At a staggering Sh7,900, I threatened to bring their business to a halt with loud protestations if any of the four courses offered were anything short of exceptional. But even as I performed my threats, something told me I would be a happy customer because no sooner had I sat myself in my chair than a mini chicken skewer was brought out alongside a bread basket and olive tapenade, a scrumptious bread spread or dip made from crushed green olives with garlic and herbs.
UNDENIABLY ELEGANT PRESENTATION
My appetiser of octopus carpaccio in olive oil brine was beyond amazing. Unlike the fleshier bits of octopus, these low-fat rings are not rubbery in texture and are jam packed with minerals, making them a healthy starter choice. This was quickly followed by a serving of pumpkin soup drizzled with sour cream to create pretty, geometric patterns on its surface. Though the presentation was undeniably elegant, it was not the greatest soup I have tasted. My mum has made far more banging pumpkin and butternut soups.
Any disappointments I had were soon assuaged when my entrée was laid before me; a fillet of job fish served with potato puree, season vegetables, and daikon radishes. Now I do not know where the Chez Lamar suppliers get their fish but I have eaten a lot of snapper varieties in my life and I have never seen a fillet so thick. It was like a novel. And tasted so good, I tore at it with childlike abandon so by the time I was done, there was little room for anything else and I could not have my vegetables. The fish was cooked just right, seared slightly at the top so it had an almost crispy crust and when sliced through, it stood surprisingly firmly for a slab of its thickness.
I was not going to leave my pineapple tarte tatin topped with vanilla ice cream behind so I asked if they could pack it that I may go and eat myself into a diabetic coma at my residence. If you have the coins, this is one experience you should treat yourself to. It also helps that just beyond the restaurant shutters are magnificent vistas of the Indian Ocean which is so close you can almost feel the spray of waves crashing on the rocks below.