Penfolds Shiraz & Vanuatu Grass Fed Beef

Roadside flowers

First, check out my latest Forbes articles on five restaurants in southwest France and reviews of 124 wines from vintage 2020.

Now, the Pacific region …

Almost two years ago I received an email asking if I’d like to manage an infrastructure project in the Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea and northeast of Australia. I said yes and have been doing so—remotely—since.

Flying over western Guadalcanal island

Just over a week ago I flew into the Solomon Islands where I will live and work for three months. The Solomon Islands includes nine main island groups and almost a thousand smaller isles. The capital city is Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal, where pivotal battles took place during World War Two.

Hotel compound in Honiara

After a bout of flu, I recovered this weekend and recalled how an acquaintance mentioned there is a French restaurant in the city.

Honiara and bay seen from nearby hills

I took a cab there. Most cab rides take between two and six minutes along the single road in Honiara, and cost the equivalent of between one and two U.S. dollars.

Interior of Club Havanah

Online, the restaurant is called Club Havanah. However the menu calls the restaurant Le Cinquieme. And cab drivers know it as associated with Honiara Hotel.

Light, spacious, airy interior

The restaurant structure is grand and ancient and beautiful—all wood with an open air side, ceiling fans above, orange lanterns, large tables, a live musician and staff—in true Solomon Islands fashion—exceedingly kind and soft spoken.

Room for large groups

Dish and Wine.

I ordered Duo de Boeuf et Langouste. This is a grilled, natural grass fed beef fillet from the island nation of Vanuatu, together with a half crayfish tail—served with a spicy pepper sauce.

Grass fed beef and crayfish

With this, I paired a bottle of 2021 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz from Australia.

Classic Australian wine producer

The restaurant atmosphere was slightly otherworldly. I had expected a small room on the second floor of modest sized brick building. Far from it, this space has a large, intricate and airy wooden interior reminiscent of Vietnamese architecture, while the gloriously saturated colors of dusk light reminded me of a dinner on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island during the churning glow of sunset.

The food was delicious, the wine rich and satisfying. The portion was huge, so dessert was out of the question.

Looking north and east from the eastern side of Guadalcanal

Insider Angles –

I only recently arrived in the Solomon Islands. The people are amazingly friendly. The road potholes are ample. The short bursts of torrential rainfall are uncanny. The skies are moody and lively and change by the minute. Local organic fruits—pineapple, melon, watermelon—are delicious. Apparently some outer islands, as I will discover, are beautiful with imposing jungle coated mountains and huge lagoons.

A quiet, low-key airport
This photo is a collage of images of carvings in front of the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara
View from my office window
The hills to the west and behind the city of Guadalcanal

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Glad you are better Tom

    1. Thanks David! Hope Colombia is Sweet …

    2. Thanks David. Was knocked out for a week. Beautiful isles, but there’s always some illness floating around …

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