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Fine Dining at Navo Restaurant

Fine Dining at Navo Restaurant
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa’s Navo Restaurant.
June 17
11:00 2017

It was truly a fine dining experience at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa’s Navo Restaurant.

The five-star resort’s signature restaurant hosted a four course dinner in collaboration with Victoria wines and Spirit, Misha’s Vineyard of Central Otago, New Zealand.

Misha’s Vineyard is owned by Misha and Andy Wilkinson.

Thanks to our kind host Hudson Mitchell, Director of Leisure Sales and Marketing, it was an evening filled with surprises. From the amazing gastronomical delights prepared by Chef Leon Hatton-Jones and his team, to the amazing services that will blow your mind.

Invited guests were thankful they had Mr Mitchell who demanded perfection in service, food and wine through his past experiences.

He proved to be a delightful host, who displayed a passion for service, especially for the resort he represented.

It was an absolute delight to be in his company.

Great restaurant, perfect setting

Navo Restaurant is perfectly set upon the Natadola Beach offering sunset views and vistas of the rolling surf in the distance.

It’s a perfect setting to witness the different types of blues and green that make Natadola Bay beautiful and breathtaking.

The restaurant offers some bespoke dining experiences that are sort after by guests because of the fantastic culinary experience put on by Chef Leon and his amazing team.

 

Fine wines

The wines that are currently served in Navo Restaurant are from Australia, New Zealand, America, Germany and Italy and from award winning vineyards within these countries.

A bottle of wine at Navo Restaurant is priced between F$74.00 (Anakena Chadronnay — from Chile) and F$2250.00 (Penfold’s Grange — from Australia). Navo Restaurant is a past winner of the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards for Restaurants and Dining Experience.

 

The top ingredients

The wine and dine on Thursday, June 8, was prepared by Chef Leon and his amazing team.

Chef Leon comes with extensive experience serving in South Africa and Namibia.

He worked in the kitchens of some of the most exclusive hotels and resorts on the African continent.

The ingredients for the restaurant are in fact the best of Fiji’s local delicacies while some components such as the New Zealand salmon and Australian beef tenderloin are imported to maintain the Resort’s premium quality standards.

The latter imported ingredients were used in the starter and main course respectively.

Mr Hudson said: “The team’s philosophy for cooking style is to use fresh and available ingredients that reflect our destination with a fusion of international cooking styles that amount to ‘an amazing culinary experience’.

“Coupled with the wait staff from restaurant who are trained to serve with their senses combined with an intimate knowledge of foods and wines, which we as guests want for nothing when dining in Navo Restaurant.”

Amouse Bouche

The Amouse Bouche offered a delicate balance of natural tastes that were not at all overpowered by heavy sauces or seasoning and with each morsel offering an explosion of beautiful flavors that were complimented by the 2012 Misha’s Vineyard Lyric Riesling. The Amouse Bouche offered beautiful samplings of sushi roll, wasabi, ginger mash, young shoots and delicious Japanese mayonnaise.  The Riesling that complemented the flavors was beautiful and dry and offered a refreshing citrus acidity that left lingering notes of an almost floral flavor. The wine was a 2012 vintage.

 

Starter

The Starter was made of a fresh lobster medallion especially brought in from the Yasawas and complimented with cured  imported New Zealand salmon, anchovies toast that offered a delicate crunch and flavor and fresh Sigatoka Valley avocado pear. It all combined into a beautiful fresh fusion of  the oceans finest. The dish was accompanied by a 2014 Misha’s Vineyard the Starlet Sauvignon Blanc which was a crisp, fresh and fruity wine — a delight to the palette and a perfect complement to the great food.

 

Sorbet:

It was made from a bit of Sauvignon Blanc, some sugar, glycerin, and water.

The sorbet naturally serves its purposes as it cleanses your palette for the next course.

 

Main course

Chef Leon outdid himself.

His choice of dishes, including the main course, left guests in awe of the flavors and textures. He created a mouthwatering beef fillet tenderloin (that had just completed a six-hour treatment process). It was sprinkled with herb crumble, carrot and potato lasagne, tender broccoli stems, dehydrated mushroom and that was prepared overnight.

It’s not often that we hear of a Pinot Noir complementing a beef dish, but the 2011 Misha’s Vineyard Verismo Pinot Noir was the perfect complement to this exquisite dish. The wine had a delicate dark ruby colour with aromas tinged with spice and ripe fruits with a hint of its cellaring.

“Verismo is a reflection of the golden age of Opera which were about stories that were filled with passion and emotion,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“The beef dish and Pinot Noir danced elegantly across the palate and were a perfect fusion of tastes and flavor.”

 

Dessert:

The finishing touch to this dinner was dessert that was a couverture chocolate dome, homemade passion-fruit ice cream, linzer crumble, sweet berries and topped with a milky bar run out.

The dessert was very sweet and was surprisingly paired with a 2010 Misha’s Vineyard the High Note Pinot Noir. There were strong acidic overtones that balanced the sweet dessert as the Pinot Noir continued to “breathe” within the glass.

Overall, the experience was delightful.

Guests were impressed by the genuine hospitality and the fact that the staff went out of their way to make sure that we had an amazing experience.

The rooms were spacious, clean and comfortable. Guests were impressed by the resort’s ability to put on a premium wine dinner that offered an amazing experience in a picture perfect setting.

Misha’s Vineyard Director Misha Wilkinson said: “The hotel is fantastic and forward thinking and they want to work with high-end boutique producers like us and give their guests high-end boutique wines. We, and our local distributor Victoria Wines are really happy to work with the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.

“I think its always exciting to work with the chef with all the work involved.

“We have done the easy job because we have made the wines; the hard job tonight was done by the chef.

“He received those wines some weeks ago and he has been creating the menu to match the wines.

“To showcase both the food and wines together and that’s really the art of the chef.

“We are delighted with the response tonight we think people need to really learn more about the wines,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“For us we don’t get so technical in talking about the wines we want to entertain the people and tell them the story of the vine yard and to make people feel inspired by the story of the vine yard.

“For us tonight should be about experiencing a great wine and great food.

“We are from a region where Pinot Noir is rich and famous and we produce three types of Pinot Noir.”

Chef Leon said: “Supplies from the nearby farmers and local suppliers to ensure that our guests are getting the best flavour and fresh- ness every time they dine.”

 

About the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

Owned by Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and managed by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the resort at Natadola Bay provides services that go beyond the world-renowned Fijian warmth and hospitality.

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG). With over 4600 hotels in over 110 countries and territories there is literally a world of opportunity for IHG employees who aspire to grow and develop their careers.

 

About Navo restaurant

Aside from being an adult only facility, Navo restaurant offers a private dining room that is framed by a collection of old and new world wines as well as boutique whiskeys and rums from around the World.  It also provides a perfect setting for their Cabana Dining experience which is a total transformation of our beach-side bures to a perfect setting for two with a fresh seafood extravaganza to dine on.

It is named after a nearby small island in view of the restaurant.

“For centuries Navo Island has been treasured as a special place by the people of Sanasana Village,” Mr Mitchell.

“Located across the channel from Navo Restaurant, the island was once used as a settlement and place of retreat during times of war and conflict, where women and children were sheltered by warriors in secret interior caves and as a burial ground for high chiefs.

“Today, the people of Sanasana choose to live on the mainland and revere the island as a place of historical significance and a sacred burial place for local chiefs and dignitaries.”

 

About Hudson Mitchell

With more than 16 years of experience in the hotel industry, Mr Mitchell is the first Fijian to be the director of Leisure Sales and Marketing at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa on Natadola.

An experienced hotelier with a successful career in his wake, Mr Mitchell’s driving principle to set rather than follow the standard, has seen his career leap from strength to strength.

Mr Mitchell joined the resort in 2014 from his role of director of sales at Namale Resort and Spa in Savusavu.

In his new role, Mr Mitchell will be responsible for the resorts strategic sales objectives and maximising profitability through exceptional guest experiences.

 

About the chefs

With the appointment of the new executive chef Leon Hatton-Jones and executive sous chef; Frank Oh, guests get to experience refined culinary for guests at the resort.

Both chefs joined the resort with many years of international experience that is reflected in the revamp of menus and the overall dining experience across all restaurants on property.

Chef Leon joins the resort after spending many years in South Africa and Namibia among other countries and chef Franko joins the team with years of culinary experience in Korea, France and Australia respectively.

I have been here for six months so “I have changed some of the menus around. We changed Toba, Sanasana and now this is the last one.

“To change the menu you have to take into consideration what’s available in the market, what’s easily accessible to Fiji.

“You will get local tomatoes for a while and so we have to import it.

“Lettuce is an issue here so we have to get it from overseas because its hard to get fresh lettuces on a constant basis.

“Also you have to do a supplier visit so that you know that you are on track and both know each others needs.

“You also have to know your clientele so you can have Asian and Fijian flair. People like Fijian flair so we have to have local theme.”

 

 

About Misha’s wine

After a successful career in the corporate world in Asia, Misha and Andy Wilkinson decided they wanted more from life.

“We wanted to work together and do something that we were really passionate about and it ended up being wine.

“The corporate world does not have have a lot of return in terms of long term satisfaction so we really needed to get something more out of life.

“I can’t say it was an easy task to find what we wanted to be the world’s best vineyard site and it took us two years to find this site.

“We wanted to find the best place in the world to grow cool climate grapes and most particularly Pinot Noir – the “holy grail” of grapes and also the most difficult to grow.

“We found ourselves standing on the dramatic lakefront terraces of Bendigo Station, a high country sheep station in the Central Otago region of New Zealand, where some of the world’s finest Merino wool is grown.

“We soon learned that other explorers had been on this land before. Back in the late 1800s many Chinese immigrants joined the gold rush in Central Otago as they had in California, Australia and elsewhere.

“The neatly stacked gold tailings in the gullies are the remnants of their alluvial mining and the crumbling remains of stone miners’ cottages are evidence of a tough existence on this land.

“Finding this perfect location on which to establish Misha’s Vineyard was the first milestone in our journey since the selection of a site is the single most important decision for any vineyard.

“We’ve discovered how special this region of Central Otago really is, we’ve also discovered some amazing things about the unique piece of land we chose for our vineyard, and we’re constantly discovering things about growing the best grapes and making the best wines.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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