Yes, that is where we ate breakfast, one fine Vanuatu morning. I'll pause so you can appreciate the gorgeousness of that setting...
Breakas Beach Resort & Villas
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Ph: +678 23670
Breakas is a gorgeous little resort about 5 minutes out of town, located on a strip of lovely beach with a coral reef and surfable waves. There is a wide range of accommodation in Port Vila, from the big hotels and resorts, small apartments, motels and more. We chose Breakas partly on the recommendation of our travel-agent friend who stayed there once (Hi Danny!!!), but mainly after seeing the amazing photo of its infinity pool on the website. I know, WOW. The fact that it had a swim-up bar and a no-kid policy sealed the deal. When we got there, the pool bar was closed for renovations, but everything else was just as wonderful as we hoped it would be.
The bulk of the rooms are these cute little individual bungalow-huts. They also have larger, self-sufficient villas with 2 levels, their own pools and more amenities, if that's your kind of thing. Our little bungalow was beach front, which meant beautiful views!
Beautiful flower/water box thing for washing sand off your feet before you enter your bungalow.
The huts were beautiful and simple - just 2 rooms. There was a fan but no air-con, but luckily it never was that hot at night anyway.
A mosquito net counts as very exotic for me.
Funky semi-outdoor bathroom!
The coral walls made it feel appealingly 'village', and you could see the sky from the shower! Lovely when its sunny, apparently not that good when it's raining. We were lucky not to encounter any great rain on our trip. I found the hot water supply to be a little erratic sometimes, but it wasn't a huge problem. The open ceiling, however, does mean you can occasionally get little 'friends' coming in. I found a small crab in our sink one morning, which, I'm not too embarrassed to admit, sent me screaming out of the hut. One of the lovely staff members got rid of it for us. (And I'm pretty sure laughed at me - the crab was less than 10cm across, haha).
The resort's restaurant, right next to the pool, is in the centre of the resort. It is where breakfast is served, and where you can purchase bar meals or dinner. (We never got around to doing the bar meal thing, as there were too many great options in town. The only time we could try a bar meal, they were doing a buffet lunch instead. Oh well!)
Breakfasts (included in our deal) were a small but satisfying buffet of fresh fruits, juices, toast, cereals, muffins, some pastries, tea and coffee.
Hot breakfasts were available, but you had to order and pay for them separately. You could purchase espresso coffee too, but I don't see why you'd do that when there's perfectly good, reliable, consistent filter coffee available. (Espresso coffees, on the other hand, are notoriously difficult to get right). We tried the hot breakfasts in the morning before a rather active kayak trip, for extra sustenance.
Eggs Benedict with roasted tomatoes, toast and "pancetta" - 950VT
Eggs Benedict in the South Pacific - could it get any more James Bond than this?
Banana Crepes - 750VT
I really liked the crepes - why does the fruit in Vanuatu taste so much sweeter?
We had dinner at the restaurant twice.
Looks a bit different at night, eh?
Champagne always equals celebration and good times.
Garlic bread - 500VT
Malekula Oysters with watercress - 1500VT
The oysters were very fresh tasty, but I wasn't a fan of the species - they were very thin and flat, and very difficult to get out of the shells.
Grilled whole poulet fish served with roast potatoes - 2400VT
This poulet fish was, unbelievably, not ordered by me, but by "she who does not eat fish or seafood". I know!! It wasn't filleted or deep-fried or anything! She even finished most of it. Very proud of you, Sandra! Before our trip, we'd read about Vanuatu's native poulet fish, so called because it apparently tastes like chicken, and Sandra really wanted to try it. (I ate it many times over the holiday, as it is served everywhere). I wouldn't say it tastes exactly like chicken, but it was very mild in taste, and meaty in texture.
Scotch fillet with prawn sauce, served with fries and salad - 2900VT
Yes, yes yes. Amazing steak, fresh prawns and creamy chive sauce. The beef in Vanuatu is amazing! It's so tender, and has the most wonderful taste, even when cooked well done. (Don't gasp, I always have my steak rare!) Vanuatu has happy organic Carolais and Limousin cows grazing in its gorgeous islands. *Sigh* I love that all the food we ate was locally grown and sourced.
Lobster - 3200VT
You can see how delicious that lobster was. Enough said.
Eaten but not photographed was a "Penang chicken curry" for 2000VT. It didn't taste like anything I've eaten back home in Penang, but it still tasted good!
Crème brûlée - 1200VT
The caramel atop the custard was a little too thick for my liking, but the custard itself had a wonderful deep vanilla flavour.
The Melanesian Feast
Every Wednesday night Breakas does a Melanesian feast. Lots of resorts, restaurants and tour operators offer similar feasts, but we got a free feast included in our accommodation package so we tried the one at Breakas. From memory it was 3500VT to pay for it separately.
The Melanesian feast commences with Kava tasting...
Kava is a drink made from the root of an island plant, which is drunk for its sedative and relaxing effect. Traditionally the liquid was extracted by getting virgin boys to chew the pulp and spit it out, but Jonathan, the customer relations manager, assured us that ours was ground by machine, hehe. It looks like dirty dish water, and doesn't taste much better. This is why you can see the plate of papaya chasers in the above photo. If freshly cut fruit aren't available, Sprite is a good substitute.
Kava bars are very popular on Efate island, designated with a red light outside the building. Lots of the local guys we met drink it almost every night. Traditionally women aren't allowed to drink it, but you shouldn't have a problem finding it in Port Vila. We even bought powdered to bring home, and my bro seems to like it a lot. He loves reggae too, what an Island boy!
There was a cultural band too. I loved the Foival piano and big box bass. These guys represent Vanuatu in cultural exhibitions around the world!
Now, the food.
Top: Baked fish
Bottom: Beef skewers, Chicken wings
Top: Amazing beef curry, Baked cassava stuffed with mince
Bottom: Baked banana laplap, Baked root vegetables
Snake beans stuffed with mince, Island cabbage stuffed with banana
Also on offer were a creamy pumpkin soup, Tahitian fish salad, potato salad, coleslaw, green bean salad and rice. Dessert was a simple mixed fruit salad.
The food was delicious, and I thought that the Melanesian feast was a great way for us tourists to introduce ourselves to 'exotic' Vanuatu food. Baked cassava, island cabbage and the national dish of laplap - a doughy mix of root vegetables cooked in banana leaves on charcoal - are all wonderful, but can definitely be an acquired taste for Western palates.
Breakas has a bar with a small yet well-rounded cocktail list and selection of spirits. When we were there, the new F&B manager Ross was in the middle of revising and expanding the list, so if any of you guys end up going, I hope you will enjoy it!
Tusker is, of course, on the menu (550VT), and all the cocktails are pretty and island-themed - little umbrellas, fruit wedges and flowers galore!
Can't remember what this cocktail was called - Island Dream or something like that.
I'm pretty sure they can do all the standards too (Long Island Ice Teas, Toblerones etc). If the lovely barman Steve is there, ask for one of his special off-the-menu creations - delicious.
The Views and the Water
The 2-storey villas, on the other side of the restaurant/pool/reception from our hut. Check out the clear clear water.
And at night...
The infinity pool, with ocean on the right, and the (under-construction) pool bar. Breakfast/dinner tables on the left.
And at night...
The infinity pool falling into the Pacific Ocean...
Breakas is right in front of a coral reef, so it's a great spot for snorkelling, especially during high tide. We could borrow gear for free and went a couple of times, spotting lots of blue starfish and heaps of other fish. It's possible to surf further out, but I think you need to bring your own gear, as I vaguely recall reading somewhere that there are no places to hire surfing gear on Port Vila.
I absolutely loved Breakas. We did visit a couple of other resorts during our holiday, to have dinner and drinks, but I am so glad we chose Breakas to stay. It's a little smaller than the big resorts (Iririki, Le Lagon etc), but I loved its friendly, intimate vibe. The staff were so nice and friendly! For example, one time we were standing outside the resort waiting for a bus at night, and the owner spotted us on his way out, and gave us a lift into town! How nice! I can't imagine a manager at a Westin/Hyatt/Shangri-La doing that; it's just a totally different style. We had a chat with him in the car, and he said he purposely keeps the resort small to maintain the atmosphere. (Technically it's 3 stars, but it feels so much more luxurious).
The accommodation package we bought was pretty good, and had lots of inclusions, like a free bottle of champagne, village tour, breakfasts, massages, the Melanesian feast and more. I assume these deals change frequently, so probably best to contact the resort or your travel agent if you're interested.
And don't forget that view...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
11/18/2009 11:18:00 PM Sarah 12 comments