Mauritian cuisine: a product of diverse culinary traditions that meandered their way to this small island in the Indian Ocean, travelling through time and across continents. A unique palette-palate of colours and flavours, to be savoured in luxurious restaurants as well as cute little kiosks. A trip to Domaine de Bel Ombre and its neighbouring villages promises a sensorial awakening: here’s a glimpse of the southern culinary scene!
Le Chamarel restaurant is famous for its incredible panoramic views, suspended as it were between earth and lagoon. The food’s equal to the view: an exquisite menu, bountiful in its offerings. You’ll find iconic produce such as breadfruit, long okra (pipengaille) and sagoo prepared in a rougaille (a tomato-based sauce), turned into chutney and stewed into a compote. This is a place where Mauritian know-how melds with quality ingredients, to be savoured while contemplating the immense blue beyond.
South coast menus naturally feature plenty of fresh seafood. At Chez Rosy in Gris Gris, you’ll find the sea’s produce cooked in all kinds of ways: grilled, in a tomato-based sauce, in curries or as pickled vindaye. The house’s speciality is ourite – octopus – which is either simmered with the twelve spices that comprise the traditional Mauritian curry mix, or slowly cooked in a tomato sauce with onions, garlic, ginger and herbs. In Bel Ombre, it’s Madame Monroe – her name’s Marilyn, hence the nickname – who offers a feast of creole cuisine to those who visit her restaurant La Roche Cari. You’ll find delicious seafood on her menu – clams, fish, octopus, and squid – delivered to her kitchen the very same day they’re caught by village fishermen. For dessert, don’t miss out on her famous “kat kat manioc”!
Doris, who manages the Le Tropical eatery, offers up dishes that Mauritians gobble up on a daily basis: soya-sauce fried rice, white rice and the curry of your choice, upside-down bowl… If you’re seeking a lighter meal, head to Bel Ombre’s public beach: you’ll find a blue kiosk belonging to Monsieur François and his wife, Lucie, who is lovingly nicknamed “Madame Boulettes” – Mrs Dumplings – by regulars. The couple serve Chinese dumplings, steamed and cooked on the spot, as well as noodles and fried rice. Devour these hot dishes with a little bit of chilli, and you’ll have an impromptu feast on the beach, looking out on the turquoise lagoon.
A unique experience awaits in Saint Martin: enter a red bus (don’t worry, it won’t go anywhere), whose seats have been transformed into tables and chairs. In this legendary hangout you’ll find traditional meals such as boiled or fried noodles, a selection of curries and local stews. The atmosphere is warm, one eats among regulars who come every day to feast on the delights of Madame Goburdhun’s establishment!
For your diary:
La Crête, Chamarel Main Road, Chamarel
T : (+230) 483 4421
Gris Gris, Souillac
T : (+230) 625 4179
La Roche Cari
Royal Road, Bel Ombre
T : (+230) 5773 0508
Snack Le Tropical
Cite Longtill A4, Bel Ombre
T : (+230) 5712 8537
The locals will tell you where it’s found!
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