Monday, 17 May 2010

Hotel Banu in La Foa

This place is just a gem - yummy food, eccentric owners and decoration that was started in the 60s and just added to since then.  The Hotel Banu has a funny mixture of bungalows and almost dorm-style accommodation and it even has a pool out the back.  What I like best about it, is that it's right on the main street and as soon as you walk in, you feel as if you are in the heart of La Foa.  The coppers come in for their lunch, the locals, the tourists - everyone.  
The front bar is covered in hats - we added a NZ Defence force one in to the mix. You could spend an hour in there checking out where all these hats have come from.  Walk through to the (airconditioned!) restaurant and you come into a mix of 60s/70s/80s kitch that is a little overwhelming and very entertaining.  Go out the back and there's a little garden (complete with garden gnomes) and a row of toilets that Max thought was hilarious...
As already mentioned - the food is delicious.  And you can stop by for a plate of hot chips for the kids or a delicious slow-cooked stew that will fill you up for the rest of the day.  We opted for a classic old roast chicken - copious and yummy.
I think you could go up to many of the people having their lunch in the Banu and have a fascinating chat about the history of New Caledonia, 'Les Evenements' during the 80s and all of the many things that have spiced up this place's history.  Everyone here greets you with a smile and I reckon that each wrinkle on their faces comes with a tale.  
If you're passing by La Foa, stop at the Banu - even if it's just for a coffee - it's totally worth it.