02 January 2018

Restaurant L'Arlequin ~ French \ New Caledonian, Noumea

With just one week in Noumea we are torn between trying new places and revisiting favourites. Restaurant L'Arlequin was referred to in glowing terms by a local so we give it second crack.

We remember Restaurant L'Arlequin for its excellent salad - which sounds perfect as we are still recovering from a protein fest the night before at Le Relais de la Vallée. Also, it's a dang nice place to have lunch, sitting outside on the terrace with a breeze on a hot day with a view of Noumea suburbia as a backdrop. It doesn’t quite have the same buzzy atmosphere as the seminal Au Petit Cafe, but as far as modern New Caledonian food goes, it’s pretty much on par.

Vegetarian salad - the boss warns us that this is the mother of all salads and he is right - it's huge - but oh mother its good to get a pile of veggies imto us. From the lengthy menu description the salad sounds over complicated - it has everything - around a mound of garden salad we have dhaal, mexican beans, a mini salad of lightly pickled veg (crisp, sharp and tangy), sweet potato puree, teeny fried potatoes (pomme noisettes!), quinoa, eggplant, and more than we can remember or spell. All the bits tasted freshly prepped and as aspiring veggie cooks we were in awe of all the work that must have gone into this. We think this salad is a permanent fixture on the menu, we'll be back for this one.

Poulet roti salad - we kind of accidentally ordered this, it's the happy kind of accident. It's a plain Jane of a salad next to the flamboyant floozy of a veggie salad, but it holds its own in the yum department. The chook is wearing party pants of lettuce, mushroom, tomato and crunchy croutons with some of that crisp, tangy pickled veg from the veggie salad. Oh yes.

Mahi mahi in champagne sauce - fresh fish fillets in a creamy winy sauce. An easy pleaser of a dish cooked really well, with a sorta risotta.

The mahi mahi in champagne sauce is our favourite dish of the trip....

Octopus fricasse - we don't know what a fricassee bit we recall Bugs Bunny going on about it, and we saw great looking fresh squid in the markets, so we give it a whirl. It is chopped and panfried to a slight crisp, simply served with rice. It has that slightly inky octopussy flavour,

We're not so excited about octopus fricassee at first but the flavour grows on us as the dish cools. It's not something we would order again but we enjoyed giving it a bash. Mr shawn suffers order remorse once again, spending the next forever wishing he ordered the crab gratin. First world problems.

The chef and resto featured in a local rag.

Restaurant L'Arlequin is at 45 ter route du Port Despointes, Faubourg Blanchot.

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