Mai Kana Restaurant @ First Landing

The First Landing kitchen garden boasts fresh and organic fruit, herbs and vegetables grown on the resort property for the kitchen and also for staff and their meals. Mai Kana
13 Sep 2015 12:55
Mai Kana Restaurant @ First Landing
Kawakawa pan fried dish.

The First Landing kitchen garden boasts fresh and organic fruit, herbs and vegetables grown on the resort property for the kitchen and also for staff and their meals.

Mai Kana Restaurant is a sophisticated eatery which hosts specials and theme nights including weekly Bula Beach BBQ specials on Fridays.

They also have Pasta and Pizza Tuesday, Sunday Lovo Roast, and complimentary management nibbles and cocktails on Thursdays for our in-house guests.

“The goal of our restaurant is to provide our guests with the best choice of dishes that Fiji has to offer; delicious fresh seafood, incorporating a taste of the tropics as well as some familiar dishes. Our focus is on quality with beautifully presented, tasty dishes,” executive chef Darren Braddock said.

“Here in Fiji, I am able to mix my love of classical cuisines with traditional Fijian tastes to put a modern twist to them,” he said

They specialise in Yacht charter catering where menus and dishes are prepared to chef quality and then vacuum-packed to make the food suitable for off-site service, charter boats, picnics, functions and parties, weddings, a day at the races and many others.

The First Landing kitchen staff including chefs and apprentices have been given the opportunity to sail with boat charters for a week cruising to cook and learn new culinary skills aboard a yacht.

It is said that Mr Braddock’s (also known as Chef Daz) food always portrays the quality of the local produce and ingredients that are in season.

The fusion of his collection of cultures mixed with the modern twist is a big hit with local dishes. His food philosophy also encompasses a healthy outlook – you are what you eat, and it should be joy, goodness and healthy foods that fuel the mind and body. Food can be the best medicine!


Restaurant: Mai Kana Restaurant at the First Landing Resort and Villas, Vuda, Lautoka.

Chef: Executive chef Darren Braddock (Chef Daz).

Experience: Chef Daz started his cooking career with the Jarvis Group of Hotels in the UK, working in four of their properties around the UK.

He moved to Australia in 1994 and began a love affair with modern Australian cuisine. Worked on the northern beaches of Sydney and also partly owned Pellicano Restaurant in Narrabeen.

After moving to the Northern NSW coast with his wife Amanda, they owned the Palms Restaurant in Hastings Point and both businesses were very successful.

In 2011, Darren and his wife moved to Fiji and he took up the position where he currently lives in Vuda.

Background: the English-born Australian native has been working in Fiji for the past four years. He started his culinary journey in England, training at the prestigious Tameside College where he earned his Level 3 qualification in Commercial Cookery being coached in fine French cuisine.

In this time, he also perfected Italian, Morrocan and some Asian cuisines.


Kawakawa pan fried

On giant island yam with a pickled apple and kavika salad, baby yellow
carrots sauced with garlic cream prawns and finished with spinach puree.


Kawakawa – camouflage grouper/blue eye cod


  • 250gm 1 inch thick supreme fillet angle cross cut on fillet
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil,
  • 1 tbsp butter, sea salt/freshly cracked pepper



  • Put black iron pan on medium heat, add butter and oil,
  • season fillet and place fish in pan when bubbles start to form.
  • gentle cook until the fish is two-thirds cooked around the sides then turn over
  • remove pan and allow to finish cooking in warm spot and rest


Giant island yam


  • Baby carrots blanched,
  • yam,
  • salted water,
  • butter,
  • salt/pepper



  • Wash yam to remove sandy soil, then barley peel keeping the purple side of the skin
  • Cut into large chunks and put into cold salt water pot and bring to boil,
  • once at the boil reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes until yam is tender remove from water and allow to cool to room temp.
  • Once set cut into 1 inch thick rectangle 1 inch by two, sauté in butter with carrot and season.


Prawn sauce


  • three prawns – use shell for stock, ½
  • onion, ½
  • stick celery, ½
  • carrot,
  • white wine,
  • fish stock,
  • tomato sauce,
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped enshallots,
  • 1 clove of garlic,
  • brandy, cream,
  • salt/pepper.



  • Peel slice and de-vain prawns, leave in fridge until ready
  • chop mire piox and sauté with prawn shells/heads until cooked
  • Add white wine and reduce, add fish stock, tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes and strain.
  • Sauté finely chopped onion and prawns, flame with brandy and when reduced add stock cream season to taste.


Spinach puree


2 cups local spinach, ½ bunch coriander, 1 cup Thai basil, 1 cup flat parsley, salt/pepper, 1 cup olive oil, 1 juice of a lime.



  • Blanch greens until they change colour 5-10 seconds, then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Blend all ingredients in drinks blend until smooth, pass through fine sieve and keep in plastic container with a thin layer of oil.


Pickled apple and kavika


  • 4 thinly sliced apple,
  • 4 thinly sliced kavika,
  • 2 sticks of celery peeled and thinly sliced,
  • 1 cup apple juice, ½
  • cup apple cider vinegar, ½
  • cup rice wine vinegar,
  • 1 cup lime juice, ¼
  • mirin,
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar,
  • 1 lime juiced,
  • salt/pepper,
  • 1 tsp rose water.



  • Wash fruit and vegetable and thinly slice apple into discs,
  • slice kavika across the equator to give you rings and peel and slice celery on an angel,
  • Place into a bowl with other ingredients and mix well, spoon carefully into vac pack bags and cryovac, this will stop oxygenation,
  • Use deep fried crispy salted carrot peel, baby chives and red radish shoots for garnish.
  • Plating when everything is sauté then spoon on spinach puree and streak the spoon through, label on prawn sauce and flatten with back of label to make long landing stripe.
  • Place on yam to form base for fish then stack the carrots against fish and yam.
  • Place on kavika and apple salad with micro herbs and thread prawns on lemon grass skewer and stack against fish and yam garnish with crispy carrot skins and sprinkle chopped parsley is nice.

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj


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