The bounty of paradise

isl03 - Lunchmag

Bloody Mary’s, Povai Bay, Bora Bora, Tahiti

Tel: + 689 67 72 86
Closed Dec

“I can’t decide whether to get the grouper or the tuna,’’ I tell my host.

“Get the tuna,’’ he says.

“Really, because I was thinking that maybe’’ – “Get the tuna,’’ he interrupts.

We are standing in front of the most incredible display of fresh seafood imaginable at Bloody Mary’s on the island of Bora Bora in Tahiti. I wipe my chin occasionally lest I salivate like the weasel in Foghorn Leghorn or Wily Coyote.

My shoes are off; the restaurant has a fine white sandy floor. Under a thatched roof a fan circles lazily above us. The fish is on ice, and my host, a Hawaiian for whom the epithet cool could have been invented takes my order straight to the chef.

The floor is sandy and after deciding on dinner we walk over to the bar for one of the restaurant’s trademark drinks, you guessed it, a bloody mary.

The secret ingredient, the barman explains, is ground celery root.

“So why the tuna?’’ I ask.

Apparently they take a 1kg fillet of big eye tuna that was swimming in the bluest of blue waters off the island a few hours ago, give it a herb rub and then throw it on a white hot grill, turn it over a fraction of a second later, and put it on the plate before it hits the grill a second time.

The fish is served with a selection of sauces including wasabi and soy sauce and a cool crisp green salad. I take flakes from it off the central slab in huge pieces.

Somewhere deep in my heart I know I have made a huge mistake – I have been spoiled for all time and will compare all other fish to this perfect dish for all time and throughout the ages and will find all other seafood disastrously wanting.

There are other options, like wahu in teriyaki and they will even do you a burger on the char-broiler. There are even vegetables if you are that way inclined.

Bloody Mary’s has a dock and if you are parking your tender there and your supermodel girlfriends are fussy eaters, and let’s face it, which supermodels aren’t? They will customize their meal for them: the night I was there as I recall my companion wanted a dry Saltine served in a large red bucket.

After a hard day’s jet skiing around the island’s central crater lagoon, there are few better ways on Earth to spend an evening getting your strength back.

Let the perfect meal make itself at home in your being as you motor back to your yacht with your companions, take the shuttle back to your over-water bungalow or even – if you are really down on your luck – walk back to your Bora Boran campsite with a brace of backpackers.

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