Mauritian Creole Restaurant, Forster Street

I had passed the sign for this restaurant a couple of times and wondered what exactly is a Mauritian Creole restaurant and also wondered about the significance of the bird on the signage that looked a bit like a fat turkey. First of all the Mauritian part of the title indicates that the owners and chef are from Mauritius and the Creole part of the name comes from the fact that the French created a huge plantation business in Mauritius during the 1700s and the language that developed among the slaves was a version of the French that was called creole. The slaves were from Africa, Madagascar and India, so as you can imagine the food has many influences. Finally the picture of the fat bird is a dodo, which became extinct in Mauritius around the end of the 1600s.

The restaurant is located upstairs in Forster Street, roughly across from Park House. They have a Facebook page, if you would like to see some pictures. The food is indeed a mixture of influences, somewhat like a cross between Indian, Chinese and Indonesian. The menu is 98 per cent coeliac friendly and the only oil they use is olive oil. They do not use any dairy products and all spices are selected for their ayurvedic qualities, the most popular being cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, saffron, cardamon, salt, sesame and turmeric. Careful use of these in their preparation of any dish should create a good balance for the body.

They have an la carte menu but they have just launched four set menus of either five or six courses, plus some side dishes of condiments, costing between €20.50 and €27.50 per person. The price includes a non-alcoholic fruity cocktail. I had the ‘Le Palmier’ dinner, starting out with tuna fish cakes with herbs and pineapple relish. They were tasty and not at all as oily as I imagined. I then had fresh water jumbo prawns in mustard seeds with turmeric, onions and vinegar. This was my favourite dish and while it looked like a hot curry sauce I was in for a surprise. I found out that their tradition is to serve the home made fresh chili paste on the side so you can mix it to whatever amount of heat you like; very clever. Next were the egg noodles in soy sauce, again very good with lots of egg through it. I should mention that all the dishes after the first one come together. The next was stir-fried beef in cumin and soy, this was too tough for me and a bit too heavy on what was possibly a dark soy sauce. There was also a pineapple, cucumber and lettuce salad, which was fine without being anything special.

The staffs are exceptionally friendly and encourage their guests to make comments in the visitors’ book on the way out. For bookings, call 087 9450708. The restaurant is open from 4pm to 10.30pam, each day except for Tuesday.

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