30 June 2019

La Perle d'Eram \ Le Restaurant Black Pearl ~ Kanake New Caledonian - Noumea

Noumea is well known for its French food, but the food of the Kanak locals is a little harder to find. So we take a good crack at exploring some local fare when we find it at La Perle d'Eram, the Black Pearl.

La Perle d'Eram is of the few restaurants in Nouméa that serves good local cuisine in New Caledonian style, without any fuss. Located upstairs inside one of Noumea’s few functioning colonial buildings just on the edge of the Quartier Latin, it’s quite a low key place with a cafe feel. Just how we like it.

The cafe started as an offshoot from the cafe located at the Centre Culturel Tjibaou. The team were trained at Au P’tit Cafe and participated as representatives of New Caledonia at a Slow Food event in Italy, so you’re in good hands.

Although it looks like the building is closed up downstairs, the entrance is next door to the Snack. Head up the stairs along the side as the restaurant is on the first floor.

Dine inside or out on the terrace overlooking the street. We dig the purple chairs and the bright Pacific colours.

From the blackboard menu of the day expect a range of salads and one plate meals, incorporating beef cuts, venison bred in the countryside of Grand Terre and prawns from the local waters.

We go for the plats chaud (hot meal), there's two to choose from, an easy decision for us. This is the 'bushman's plate', strips of grilled venison, still a little bit raw with a side of legumes (vegetables) and nems (spring rolls). The star of the plate was the banana poingo (a style of local banana similar to a plantain), which was coated in coconut and deep fried. They look like black crumbed sausages but the starchy, not very sweet banana mixed with the sweeter coconut marries beautifully together with the meat and vegetables.

Platter two was prawns in a mustard sauce, big local boys with a ton of flavour in those heads. Same banana poingo side, just as well or there would have been a punch up over sharing them. The smaller crisp pumpkin rolls came in a very close second to the poingo stars.

This is one of the only places in the city we have seen bougna on a regular menu. The Kanak dish of baked in coconut meat and vegetables is popular for large celebrations, sometimes it pops up on large hotel menus as an event night. If you want this dish here you will need to call 24 hours in advance to order, where you can choose from a selection of meats and fish (chicken, fish, octopus, prawn, lamb or pork) and the number of people you want it for (minimum two, up to ten).

The finished dish, this one is a version for two people. There's plenty to dig through here.

Tables ready to party.

Plenty of cold Number One beer in the fridge and on tap and a small selection of wines.

La Perle d'Eram \ Le Restaurant Black Pearl is at 59 Bis Rue Sebastopol, Noumea. They have the occasional special food event so check the board inside or their Facebook announcements.

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