Restaurant Marmite et Tire Bouchon, 5 Rue Jules Garnier, Noumea, New Caledonia

We arrived ...

a little late! Our coach transfer was slightly delayed but given we'd booked an early table and "island time" prevails, it wasn't a problem. We were a group of 20 and this was our special farewell dinner at the end of a superb four-night stay together in Anse Vata.

We chose here because ... one of the couples in our group had dined here last year and highly recommended it. Online reviews are consistently superb. They offer a two- or three-course fixed price menu with a tempting array of dishes that makes group dining easy.

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The restaurant is often referred to as one of the best in Noumea. Photo / Supplied
The restaurant is often referred to as one of the best in Noumea. Photo / Supplied

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Our first impression was ...

relaxed, friendly, classy. Jordane and his efficient team welcomed us warmly and tended to us with impeccable French flair. The wine selection (Le Cave) is extensive and impressive.

We started with ... choice of mangrove crab, Asian duck or vegetarian ravioli. All were tasty and beautifully presented; the ravioli took first prize.

Main course ... It was hard to choose between miso salmon, braised pork bacon or coconut prawns tempura. All got the thumbs-up. Marmite does not feature. In French, marmite = cooking pot; and tire bouchon = corkscrew!

Dessert was ... outstanding – a choice of roasted apple; raspberry/pistachio macaron; or Snickers-style almond biscuit. The apple won, and those who had only gone for the two-course option were peeved with their restraint when ordering!

The highlight of the night was ... warm camaraderie among our group as we reflected on a wonderful short break together. It was easy to talk, spirits were high and the Sancerre was exquisite!

Come here if ... you're seeking fine French food and wine in a casual yet stylish atmosphere by the sea. Be sure to book, it's a much-sought-after restaurant, popular with locals and tourists. Ambience galore.

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The bill ... New Caledonia is not a cheap destination but the meal was surprisingly reasonable, especially given the quality. Two courses were XPF3800 (about $58) and three courses XPF 5000 (about $75). Wine and beer prices were similar to New Zealand. Processing individual payments was swift and streamlined.

Final thoughts ... A top-notch and sophisticated dining experience, without fanfare – whether dining as a couple, family or a larger group, attentive service and quality food/wine is assured.