05 January 2018

Le Relais de la Vallée - French - Noumea, New Caledonia

We mention to a local that we were visiting Relais de Valee this evening. Her response is to rub her belly as her eyes bulge with a silent “oooohhhh."

Nomea's Relais de Vallee is probably the closest to what we perceived as French cooking when we grew up - rich, heavy, creamy. This is a family run restaurant and a family favourite of ours, we refer to it as 'the sauce restaurant'. See our other post here.

The owner chef dons a big white chef hat and plays the full part greeting every diner with a bon soir, hand shake or air kiss, and even runs the occasional dish to the table. While it is good show business to work the floor like this, it feels 100% genuine and from the heart, and it's a good part of why we've come back. Shawn's parents have been here four times.

We usually visit for lunch but they are only doing nights right now due injury, chef is limping but it doesn't seem to slow him down. Missus owner runs the floor and is equally welcoming, so too the waitress who appears to be missus owner's sister. But somehow chef always steals the limelight, it must be the bit white chef hat.

Shawn's Francophile Mum reckons this place is the most like rural France in Noumea, in terms of both decor and cooking style.

The menu has shrunk since our last visit, we assume to make life easier for chef.

We order the house made foie grais, a favourite from our last visit. At 3,300 xpf (about $50) it's a pricey entree though it's big enough to share among our party of five. This would cost a limb or two back in Sydney, not that you would ever find it.It is served with some prosciutto-like ham, a sweet chutney and toasted baguette for spreadage.

The snail profiteroles are also big enough to share among five diners. These are in a thick cream sauce with parsley and perhaps a little tarragon. Highly recommended.

The mussels are sensational - perfectly cooked in garlic and parsely, easier said than done.

Shawn's Mum orders the Kahlua prawns and we wonder why, we didn't like this on last visit, great prawns but the sauce is really, really sweet - perhaps one of those local flavours that doesn't work for us.

Three of us order grilled duck breast. Only one of us manages to finish it. It's huge. It is cooked medium rare, red in the middle, the juices mix with the mushroom cream sauce for extra whammo. We doggy bag a full duck breast between us, the next day we like it even more, it tastes a lot like the rare roast beef the world went nuts over in the 1990s. While the duck was great Shawn wished he ordered the prawns/moules in safran sauce. It's a good holiday when ordering remorse is the biggest problem on your mind.

Stuffed squid - we saw this on Rick Steins French Odyssey where he declared it a waste of good squid. We can kind of see his point but we do love this dish all the same - the calamari tube is stuffed with chopped squid legs and swimming in a heavy sauce of minced beef with some fishy squiddy flavours poking through. Alison is over the moon, though she didn't see any cows there.

We really didn't need dessert after all that...

La Relais de la Vallee is at 39 ter, rue Charleroi Vallée des Colons, Noumea.

See our other post here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).