Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Shangri-La dinners – Yanuca Island, Fiji

Posted on: Tuesday 19 July 2011

July is winter in the southern hemisphere. We had acclimatised to the long daylight hours of a Seattle summer and as soon as the sun disappeared into the horizon in Fiji, I thought it was really late but it was only six o’clock! It was pleasantly cool in the evenings in Fiji and with the aid of insect repellent, ideal condition for al fresco dining.

We celebrated Mr S’s birthday with drinks at sunset by the pool. We were puzzled when the bartender plunged the beer in an ice bucket and it wasn’t until Mr S took his first sip that he realised his beer was warm. I had a lovely glass of Oyster Bay Cuvée Brut which thankfully was chilled.

We were early for a booking and luckily had the quintessential Fijian drinks to quench our thirst while we waited. The square shaped bottle of Fiji Water is ubiquitous with celebrities and Fiji Bitter is the national beer of the Pacific island nation.

We had two dinners at the Shangri-La Beach Bar and Grill. Both meals took some effort to order food and drinks. Several bottles were out of stock on their wine list which the staff didn’t know about until they searched the wine fridge for them. Our appetizers and mains were served at the same time, nearly two hours after we were seated.

Fijian kokoda (pronounced ko-kon-da) is a coconut ceviche. At the first wedding we attended in Fiji, this was the first course of the reception banquet. Presented in a half coconut shell, there were chunks of snapper with diced capsicum (bell pepper), tomato and onion in coconut cream. It is a cold dish with the fish ‘cooked’ by marinating it in lime juice. The flesh was sweet and succulent, absorbing the flavours of all the ingredients.

Mr S decided on the special of grilled marlin and vegetables. The fish was well cooked and the accompanying vegetables were drizzled with a pesto like sauce which was nutty and tangy.

I selected the chicken curry. Although delicious, it exceeded my spice tolerance. It was a large portion with rice, pappadum, naan and dhal. The naan was thick and chewy, and the dhal was unfortunately bland and watery, but they did temper the heat of the curry.

Thanks to the bride for the surprise birthday cake for Mr S!

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