Once overheard at Fleur’s: ‘Who’s John Dory, Dad?’ ‘He’s a fish, son.’ Fish, famous, fabulous fish is what this culinary outpost is all about.
In fact, when renowned British television chef and restaurateur Rick Stein was told by the Daily Mail newspaper that he could go anywhere in the world to write a travel article for them, he chose Fleur’s Place in Moeraki, North Otago. How’s that for world-famous in New Zealand?
Moeraki sure got put on the map. But locals have known that for years. She used to be over in Clyde, Fleur Sullivan did, peddling her outstanding cuisine in a beautiful setting, and when she relocated here to the harbour by the bay, well, she blossomed! And it was the coast’s gain, for sure. The water from whence your catch will come is on three sides of the restaurant, taking the authentic fish dining experience about as far as it can go.
The site is actually an old whaling station, perfectly posited for the boats to virtually unload the catch at the door.
While that’s likely to feature the local favourite blue cod, there’s usually a selection of moki, bluenose, gurnard, sole, flounder, hapuku and even crayfish. Most of the vegetables are locally sourced, organic, often heritage and really do taste as if they’ve just come out of the ground. (Don’t worry, they give them a wipe first).
1. Smoked or marinated delicacies of the sea. All is caught daily by the boats docked at the restaurant. River eel, smoked mussels, elephant fish, pickled mixto and salad in the paua shells, orange roughy, and green lips and scallops in the middle. 2. Mutton bird (Titi). A sea bird that feeds on krill and squid and tastes like anchovy. Fleur came to our table and sprinkled those flower petals about in celebration of our honeymoon. This is my favorite restaurant on earth.
Before you sharpen your knife in preparedness for a piscine plunge, sharpen your senses with a wander around the rest of the Moeraki peninsula and Katiki Point. There is a fantastic and aged lighthouse, and colonies of yellow-eyed penguins and fur seals. You see, all the fish connoisseurs come here...