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Restaurant Le Chamarel – Out of this world!

Le Chamarel Restaurant, standing on a hillside in Mauritius’ southwest corner, was opened in 1993 and, since then, has continued to attract visitors in search of a delicious Mauritian cuisine, which favours local produce, with the added attraction of outstanding views of the sea and coast below.

photos : manoj nawoor

As it enters its twentieth year, Le Chamarel, which lies on the outskirts of the village of the same name, is a restaurant that specialises in the kind of traditional local dishes that are often overlooked. It is perched on a rocky crest known as Rontaunay, with fine southerly views towards Brabant Mountain at Le Morne and westerly towards the Tourelle du Tamarin Mountain.

Whilst dining on generous portions of delicious and very reasonably priced food under the shade of a large badamier tree, eyes wonder across beautiful countryside, stretching from the coast to the seemingly endless blue of a lagoon dotted with little islets. It is easy to understand why this is the most photographed view in the southwest of the island.

Le Chamarel is run by the Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre, which is part of Rogers’ Real Estate and Agribusiness activity sector. It has the advantage of being within a stone’s throw of some of the area’s main attractions, including the Seven-Coloured Earth phenomenon, which draws some 300,000 visitors each year. Indeed, the restaurant project itself is part of a policy that seeks to promote eco-tourism and inland areas of the country.

The building extends to some 4,000 square feet and its 120-seater restaurant aims to be a shop window for Mauritian cuisine, complemented by an architecture that makes considerable use of natural materials such as wood, stone and thatch.

The accent is on tasty and traditional local dishes, with subtle modern touches – Filet of babonne on a bed of mixed bredes, Grilled camarons with coconut and coriander, Sea bream, Creole-style rice, Black lentil fricassee, Chutney and Achards, Ourite curry with green papaya, Coconut chutney and Pipangaille – tasty-sounding dishes but even more delicious in reality. The desserts are equally tempting, with Iced parfait with Café de Chamarel, Crème brulée with combava and Banana caramelised with vieux rum, as well as Pineapple Bavarois with red fruit coulis.

The quality menu focuses on fresh produce and exotic items such as palm heart, root vegetables such as cassava, arouille and yams (sweet potatoes), seasonal tropical fruit and – obviously – Chamarel coffee. In the hunting season from June to September, there is also a game menu, with products from
the Domaine de Bel Ombre – venison, pheasant and cochon marron.

The international tourism site, TripAdvisor, surely made no mistake in awarding Le Chamarel restaurant its Certificate of Excellence two years in row in 2012 and 2013. In good food terms, it’s out of this world!

New-look commercial centres

Chamarel lies some 1,000 feet above sea level, inland from Black River and Le Morne. It owes its name to Antoine Regis Chazal de Chamarel, equerry and infantry captain in the Régiment de Provence, who benefited from a large land concession in the area, granted to him on 28 January 1786.

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