Review: Cafe des Arts, Seychelles: Praslin’s Best Restaurant?
Cafe des Arts: Praslin Seychelles’ Best Restaurant?
Cafe des Arts,1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 bottle of white wine, 7 cocktails, 1 bottled water: SCR 2895 (US$191, £135, €158). Soups: SCR190-280, starters: SCR250-390; mains: SCR350-900. Cafes des Artes, Cote D'Or Esplanade, Baie Ste Anne, Praslin, Seychelles. Tel. +2484232170
Written by Liam Collens // See other food reviews here.
A tourist favourite restaurant, Cafe des Arts churns outs delectable cocktails and memorable evenings.
The house cocktails deserve their own Praslin bar
Warm service makes you want to stay longer and swap numbers
Prime location overlooking the beach and the Indian Ocean
Menu highlights local Creole food including rare speciality dishes
Unfocused, scattered menu
Technical faults in dishes
A limited dessert menu
Cafe des Arts: Praslin Seychelles’ Best Restaurant?
Cafe des Arts keeps appearing as a must-visit, then I go to Praslin, Seychelles where every taxi driver, hotel receptionist and wandering beach dog with an opinion recommended Cafe des Arts like they each person has shares in it.
Cafe des Arts left everyone’s lips like it was the only restaurant in town. Praslin is a honeymooners island peppered with high-end hotels brimming with international dining. Yet, eating in hotels becomes tiresome after 6 years of living in Dubai. Moreover, when was the last truly memorable meal you had in the hotel? And I mean memorable for the right reasons. This time I want a local restaurant; I want to support a local business. Cafe des Arts became the target as Les Rochers was closed most of my time in Praslin and then fully booked the one-night available. As we pull away from Cafe des Arts after dinner, I mourn the loss of Les Rochers asking “what could have been?”
Cafe des Arts first impressions
Beach-facing cabanas overlooking the Indian Ocean at Cafe des Arts
Cafe des Arts menu
So far, Cafe des Arts’ endorsements are worryingly placed.
Cafe des Arts’ rather disjointed menu falls victim to the trap for many restaurants in holiday destinations. Please everyone and no one in equal measure.
Cafe des Arts food, cocktails and wine
Cafe des Arts serve brisk, strong cocktails effortlessly. The house margarita is alchemy: sharp citrus and fiery tequila crusted in a salt rim (SCR145). To drink only one cocktail requires a deep inner strength I have yet to achieve. There is a strong temptation to just fob off dinner altogether and sink into the cocktail menu. We decide to order dinner anyway.
Plantation Mai Tai; Classic Lime Margarita
Dinner arrives. Our charming, boisterous waitress brings our starter of tuna and jobfish sashimi simply presented under colourful tresses of, well, vegetal matter and modest mounds of wasabi (SCR363). A simple plate of chilled fresh raw sashimi slips down enjoyably, lubricated by a fiery garlic and caper dip that kicks our thimble of soy sauce into touch. Redolent, light jobfish takes the place of a pricier hamachi tuna. I would enjoy it more if the kitchen removed the raw fish skin which leaves an unpleasant, sinewy chew. The kitchen should skin the fish before carving it into sashimi planks. Overall, this dish is a lesson in harnessing good local ingredients and leaving them alone.
Tuna and Jobfish sashimi
Mrs EatGoSee orders a Creole fish curry served with rice, lentils and a local chutney (SCR400). The curry broth is both fragrant and luxuriant enough to bottle as an exotic skin cream. An aromatic, silky coconut broth brimming with warm cinnamon, curry leaf and ginger spice bathes cork-sized fish bites. Seychelles chutneys take a sauerkraut-like form that punches through the fish curry’s richness. It is delicious comfort food, save that the fish is oddly tough. Shame.
My grilled snapper seared “alla plancha” delivered exactly what it should. Moist, firm fish with dressed with thyme and served with a puddle of lemon butter sauce in which to dredge the fish (SCR500). It partners well with the bottle of French La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc (SCR445).
Grilled snapper seared “alla plancha” (first); La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc
Generous Creole Fish Curry spread with rice, lentils and Seychellois chutney
Our server heartily endorses the ultimately forgettable house soft brownie. Desserts do not appear to be a strong suit here.
Cafe des Arts, Would I Return?
Cafe des Arts remains high on my list of better restaurants in Praslin, Seychelles largely due to its easy-go-lucky services, cocktail menu and the will to disbelieve the surroundings. Visitors to Praslin must shed expectations imbued by others about the food. It’s inconsistent where lows pull down the highs. It’s not awful, it just tells of a kitchen that is not fastidious about attention to detail. Moreover, the 44-item menu reminds me of pop albums. Cafe des Arts throws 44 incongruous tracks at you hoping that just enough will go viral and stream. I encourage Cafe des Arts to stand back, cut the menu in half and leave those dishes best sourced locally and offer visitors (who are almost certainly their entire customer base) a meaningful insight into Seychellois cuisine. I did not board a flight to Seychelles – then a boat to Praslin – to eat the Twice Cooked 5 Spice Pork Belly (SCR450). A vegetable lasagna has no place on a tropical island thousands of miles away from Bologna (SCR 350). Seychelles is spoiled with an abundance of fish and other fresh produce. That and I would like to see a stronger dessert menu.
Cafe Des Arts, Who Should Come?
Enjoy the crash of the Indian Ocean in the background. Make your way through the cocktail menu, perhaps starting with the Orange Daiquiris (SCR150). Anyone who likes to go abroad and eat dishes from home.