OK, so here we finally are, at the last post of the Fiji Friday series. My first meal in Fiji was actually at The Fiji Orchid but I've saved the best for last ;)
While five star resorts are undeniably sophisticated and luxurious, boutique resorts like The Fiji Orchid offers a more intimate experience. The biggest bonus for me, is that it's an adult only retreat. I'm not a child hater but there are times when you don't want little ones running around and screaming like mad.
The Fiji Orchid is a santuary near Nadi Airport, away from the glamourous tourist hub, that is Denarau Island. It is the sister resort to 21 year old Nukubati Private Island, an eco-friendly luxury resort. The Fiji Orchid is actually based on a similar eco-luxury concept to Nukubati Island Resort, but has a short-stay focus, catering to those who want to unwind and relax while in transit.
The location of The Fiji Orchid was once the treasured property of Raymond Burr, a Hollywood actor from the 1940's and 50's (yes, way before my time!). One of his hobbies was cultivating orchids and so with his horticulturist, this property became an orchid nursery.
When the owners of The Fiji Orchid tookover, they kept the integrity of the landscape and buildings, and transformed it into the hidden oasis it is today.
Let me take you on a tour -
There are only six bures at the property so the maximum number of guests at any given time is only 12! The bures are each surrounded by lush gardens so there's heaps of privacy despite the openess.
I love that there's only the canopy roof and these stunning ceiling to floor glass doors that stands between guests and the gorgeous surroundings. You definitely feel like you're within nature. Glamping anyone?
How incredible does the entrance to the bure look?
I just had to include this following photo of the public toilet too - the cleverly landscaped garden acts as a wall! It must initially feel quite uneasy going to the loo in such an open space?!?
And here's the dining room -
At full capacity, there would typically be about 15 staff servicing the 12 guests.
They take personalised service to a whole new level here as they ensure guests have something different to eat at every single meal. This is perfect for voracious eaters like myself!
The menu is formulated daily based on what's available at the local
market, but for those wanting something less cultural (modern Fijian
cuisine), the kitchen also provides a Western alternative.
They were kind enough to take me behind the scenes into the kitchen too, where the chef prepared much of tonight's meal, infront of me!
To start, we have housemade bread served with butter and guacamole.
Zen and I decide to sample both the Fijian dishes as well as the Western dishes so that we can cover our bases and taste the entire menu.
He has the onion tarts while I have the ika vakamoca (rock cod and spinach quenelles).
The poached quenelles are so delicate and fragrant, with a lovely hint of ginger.
Next we have the housemade pineapple sorbet as a palate cleanser. The sorbet is sticky and sweet, and has a beautiful thick jam-like consistency.
For main course, Zen has the pork ribs with herbed breadcrumbs which are utmost indulgent, as ribs always are!
I have the qari vavi, fresh mud crabs baked in coconut cream with onion and tomatoes. I adore the simplicity of this as it allows the natural sweetness and flavours of the crab to stand out. This cooking technique is also commonly used on prawns, mussels and fish.
The baked crabs are served with a side of white sweet potato, snake beans and carrots.
And for dessert, we have tavioka yaca, cassava cakes with caramel sauce. The cassava cakes are divine; they're starchy with a slight chew. I leave behind much of the caramel though, as I find that they're sweet enough on its own.
For a high-end luxury resort, the meal isn't quite high-end fine dining, but I loved every bit of it - how it showcases local produce and cooking techniques, how it's so approachable, and how it's simple honest cooking.
Sadly, Zen and I didn't get a chance to actually stay here overnight but we'll definitely be back!
A portrait of Raymond Burr hangs in the 'lounge room'/bar
The Fiji Orchid
Saweni Beach Road, Lautoka, Nadi, Fiji
JENIUS dined as guests of The Fiji Orchid with special thanks to Mike Parker-Brown