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Au Bout du Monde on Easter Island: like dining on another planet

Last month, we ran a RAMMY Awards contest in which we asked you, the reader, to submit your best dining experience from the past year. We had a number of good submissions, but your semi-friendly Y&H had the honor of picking the winner and the runner-up, who will both receive tickets to this year’s RAMMY Awards.

Vicki Axarlis finished second with her story about a meal on Easter Island, which included some nice, vivid details such as this line: “I watched as the head chef sent another restaurant employee outside to cut off leaves from a small palm tree to serve as part of a meal presentation.”

You can read Vicki’s entire story after the jump.

In November of 2009, my friend Jeff and I traveled to South America to visit Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island. While we ate amazing food throughout our travels, no restaurant experience was as memorable as our visit to Au Bout du Monde.

The trek to Easter Island was long, and the minute you stepped off the plane you felt like you were on another planet. The rocky shores and desolate landscape made you wonder how people ever survived in such a spot. In speaking with a fellow traveler, we received a tip to visit a restaurant that was at the far end of town (there’s only one “town” on Easter Island—Hanga Roa) overlooking the water. Jeff and I made our way to this hidden location and were amazed at what we saw. Inside was a chic and modern restaurant owned by a lovely Belgian woman named Delphine, who was also our waitress that evening. The restaurant overlooked the violent ocean, and gave us views of an amazing sunset. Inside, our view was of the chefs working in a tiny open kitchen. I watched as the head chef sent another restaurant employee outside to cut off leaves from a small palm tree to serve as part of a meal presentation. Talk about fresh!

The food at Au Bout du Monde was by far my favorite part of the experience. The restaurant specialized in producing unique seafood dishes (using the freshest of ingredients) with an Asian flair. I ate prawns with the most flavorful sweet sauce of coconut milk and ginger, while Jeff ate a local fish in a Tahitian vanilla sauce. We split a decadent chocolate mouse as a dessert. The flavors from our dishes lingered on our tongues for hours, and later in the evening we were still discussing them. While the location truly was au bout du monde (at the end of the earth), you’d swear that the food was crafted by chefs in one of Europe’s most celebrated restaurants.

It was a truly incredible experience and my only regret is that we only had the opportunity to dine there once.

Photo courtesy of Au Bout du Monde