The majority of tourist-visitors to Noumea would go straight from the airport to one of the many beach resorts, and ensconce themselves there for the duration of their stay. Not a problem. plenty of good restaurants in Anse Vata and similar area’s. However, if you find yourself in town for the day, and don’t want to go to yet another overpriced restaurant overlooking yet another beach of golden sand, there is an alternative.
Five hundred metres east of the Ferry Terminal in ‘downtown Noumea’ is Le Saint Hubert. Situated on Rue Anatole France, which commences at the Ferry Terminal (aka international cruise ship terminal), the restaurant is adjacent to and overlooks the Place de Cocotiers (that’s the big park in the middle of town). It is very close - 25 metres close - from the corner of Rue Anatole France and Rue de Sebastopol.
Due to the slope of the land, Le Saint Hubert is above street level and catches a nice breeze. Tables are available inside, overlooking the park, or in a shaded larger deck area. The food is french, the beer & wine is french, the menu is in french, and the wait-staff speak french. If you have difficulty deciphering the menu, you should either travel more often or ask for the english-speaking (?) waitress.
After consuming several glasses of excellent icy-cold draught bière francaise, we commenced our degustation with a glass of the highly recommended and good value de jour vin blanc ordinaire. The food arrived quickly, and was hot, well-cooked, nicely presented, and plenty on the plate. My first selection was an exotic sounding Crabe farci au piment d’Espelette et curry. Beautiful crustacean meat, rich with butter and cream, lifted with spice. Next I put the chef to the test with the traditional french bistro dish of Crepinette de cuisse de lapin a’ la moutarde. It was simply superb. The rabbit was obviously farmed as fortunately there wasn’t any rank, strong gamey taste. The mustard and pepper content was subdued also so as not to overpower the meat. And the salad was perfection to the palate in between nibbles of the rabbit.
The table we chose overlooked Place de Cocotiers and was shaded and quiet, even the Rue Anatole France below was quiet with very little traffic noise. Thoroughly enjoying the ambience we took our time getting through all the food, even requesting another basket of the wonderful oven fresh, sliced, complimentary baguettes. The staff were only too happy to oblige, and constantly enquired if we wanted more water, bread, wine, beer – anything !. They were a very cheerful bunch, and seemed very amused at our ‘dialect’ and our method of tasting and appreciating every morsel of the food – and wine.
A very memorable quiet 2 ½ hour lunch of fine, fresh, french food and wine, professionally cooked and served, in a very clean and modern bistro, for not an extreme amount of money
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