Navo, named after the sacred island it looks out to, is the Intercontinental Fiji’s top restaurant. Local ‘smiling’ chef Ritesh Kumar, InterContinental Fiji’s Chef de Partie at Navo, was named Chef of the Year 2013 with a total of two gold and two silver medals out of 360 chefs from around the country. Naturally the restaurant is regarded as one of the finest dining experiences in Fiji, not just the exquisite food, but the tranquil beachfront setting.
Navo dinner guests can choose between an Al a Carte menu or Ritesh’s Signature Navo Dinner which combines the chef’s favourite menu items. Ritesh’s Signature Navo Dinner features famous local dishes like Crayfish Kokoda as well as a plethora of fresh seafood paired with a standout wine list boasting names like Ata Rangi and Pewsey Vale with serious bottles from Jim Barry and Rockford lurking in the corners waiting for you to blow the budget.
With a set price of $150 FJD ($89 AUD without wine) the Signature Navo Dinner is a relative bargain and an easy choice if you’re a person that likes to taste a variety of local and recommended dishes. The entrée is delivered as a series of 3 dishes, the Navo Tasting Plate with Sliced Shimofuri Tuna, Natadola Mud Crab Tian and Crayfish Kokoda followed by a Caramelised Pumpkin and Orange Soup and finally a Bush Lemon Champagne Sorbet to cleanse the palate before your choice of main. If you choose it, each dish can be accompanied by a matching glass of wine (paid for by the glass).
For main there is a choice of Confit Vitogo Duck and Yasawa Islands Crayfish Tail which I opted for served with a tomato chilli lime sauce,
olive mash and grilled asparagus. The seafood is incredibly fresh, perhaps made in fresher by the fact that the sea is only a few footsteps away! The Signature Menu finishes with the Navo dessert tasting plate (make sure you get the sticky!) which includes the Natadola Coconut Pannacotta, White Chocolate Mousse with Poached Rhubarb and the Savusavu Chocolate and Frangelico Parfait.
To round out our epic dining experience we finished with a we finished with a 2000 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz from Navo’s cellar, a relative bargain at $290 FJD in a restaurant of this calibre.
I was lucky enough to partake in an afternoon cooking class with head chef Ritesh as he walked me through the local dish Kokoda that I’d tried the night before. It’s a really simple dish that requires no flame and is served cold. Much like Ceviche, lime juice is used to cook the fish. The cooked fish is removed from the lime juice, vegetables are diced and added and then Coconut Cream is poured over the mixture with a garnish of coriander and salt and pepper to taste. It’s a really interesting and healthy dish with no carbs – perfect for a post workout meal.