Following up on my previous post regarding my stay at the Sheraton Tokoriki Resort & Spa in Fiji, I would elaborate on the food served inside the resort as guests are unlikely to find alternatives since the resort is one of only 2 lodgings in the island. While there was another resort (Tokoriki Island Resort) within walking distance but I was told by the guard that the restaurants are only for guests of that resort. Thus guests of the Sheraton are restricted to having all 3 meals at either the Flying Fish Restaurant, the Reef or at Sala Bar.
The resort’s main restaurant is named Flying Fish, sharing the same name as the main restaurant at Sheraton Fiji in Denarau, but it does not have the same menu. Featuring the most extensive a-la-carte menu, it is the venue for breakfast as well, and the setting for gala buffet dinners on selected days. This restaurant has plenty of indoor seating though guests could choose to sit at the patio outside if it is not too windy. There are some seating for large groups which can be segmented out and closed off from the main restaurant to provide a space for tour groups.
Next to the Flying Fish is the Sala Bar which serves drinks and dishes like burgers and chicken wings. There are seats by the bar with a TV tuned to the sports channel or diners could sit on informal lounge chairs and sofas.
The outdoor patio extends to the bar area and the deck chairs here have a great view of the sunset for happy hour. Other than these 2 spots, there is an open-air bistro called The Reef located by the swimming pool that has a limited menu of pizza and pasta with some daily specials.
With my SPG Platinum perks, I received breakfast for 2 every day and was able to choose from a variety of dishes served on the buffet. Guests could also order eggs cooked to their preference.
On the buffet counter, there was the usual bacon and sausages with lamb sausages served. However the sausage was mushy and tasted quite bad. Thin sliced omelettes was available on the buffet counter as well instead of scrambled eggs that would normally be found. Another egg dish was poached eggs with some hollandaise sauce over it.
Local dishes served on the buffet was coconut roti which is some coconut filled roti wrap and pumpkin curry. Both of which did not look appetizing and neither did it taste good. I would recommend sticking with dishes like sunny side up with some fried rice or noodles from the buffet here.
On the other side of the buffet, there was pre-made pancakes, waffles and hash browns. Having had excellent crispy hash browns in the Doubletree at Queenstown, the one served here was cold and soggy. Totally a let down. The waffles are not crispy either since it was cooked and left out for a while, so only the pancakes would be edible here.
Pastries and bread can be obtained from the glass cabinet on the left side of the buffet and there was a toaster available as usual. Other dishes in this corner includes yoghurts, some cold cut selection and cheese. They were alright and provided the bare minimum in terms of a continental breakfast.
Fresh whole fruits like apples, bananas and oranges are available as well along with cereal in packet form and from a dispenser. My advise would be to grab a couple of fruits to go if you want to skip lunch and have an early dinner as the food selection here is not the best and one can easily get tired.
For drinks, the server would offer coffee or tea from the pot upon being seated or guests could brew their own selection of tea with milk from the buffet counter. Concentrated juices from the dispensers are available as well, but quality of the beverage was mediocre in general as there was not even any specialty coffees like cappuccino available. Thus I would not rate the breakfast highly in any way. It is probably closer to a basic breakfast in a 3-star establishment.
Lunch at Sala Bar
As I was staying in the resort for a total of 4 nights, I had lunch several times at the Sala Bar, though it was more like a snack on some days. With a limited menu, it would mean that guests staying for a week would probably have to re-order the same dishes again. The only main dish was the burger and fries (FJ$47.50) which ain’t cheap but at least it tasted quite good. the fries served in the resort are thick-cut fries and lightly seasoned with salt though they are nowhere as spicy as the name ‘chili salt’ would imply.
Meanwhile the spiced chicken wings are just but wings smothered with BBQ sauce, and was just basic comfort food. Again I stress the lack of variety meant these 2 dishes are probably some of the better choices. There are a couple of other dishes like braised beef cheek arancini and aloo chop (potato croquettes) but they were not very appealing to me personally.
There are light appetizers like fish ceviche served on nachos that would work for an afternoon snack after a day on the beach. With the limited offering, I can see why the restaurant and bar is not very full during lunch time as most guests tend to skip lunch or probably snack on granola bars while doing a jet ski safari.
Fijian Buffet Dinner
With a light lunch selection, we had the Fijian buffet dinner which was the theme dinner while we were there. Over the course of one week, this is served probably once or twice and I would recommend it as one of the better dinners during our stay. The cost for the buffet was FJ$98++ per person though as SPG Platinum members there was a 20% discount. Considering a full 3 course meal at the restaurant would have been more than that or similar, I thought the price was acceptable. Dishes on the buffet includes starters like salad, a variety of ceviches and kokodas (ceviche in Fiji style with some coconut milk) and spinach with prawn in coconut milk.
There was also soup in the buffet and the selection that day was a local vegetable broth. Accompaniments for the soup was to be found around the pot.
For the main course, it was skewed heavily to vegetables, with up to 4 different all-vegetarian-friendly dishes with fried root crops, a stir-fry of potato and okra, a local Fijian dish of Palusami made of taro leaves and a curry vegetable dish.
However that is not to say there are not anything to eat for non-vegetarians. Meat choices includes a roast pork that is carved with BBQ sauce on the side and a roast chicken dish.
My favourite here, though was the seafood which was fresh since we are on an island. There was reef fish cooked in cream sauce and a seafood lolo which is like a stew with a coconut milk base with assorted seafood like clams, mussels, prawns and vegetables inside. These dishes all taste great with the coconut rice provided alongside. With the buffet, it is definitely great for choice and should satisfy most guests.
Finally for dessert, diners can choose from small portions of Vudi Vakasoso (banana in coconut milk), sego pudding and coconut cake. Since some of the dessert taste like classic Indonesian sweets, I enjoyed them. There was fruits and a bread pudding dish for those who desire classic desserts to end the meal.
This particular buffet dinner was probably my most memorable meal in the resort and I enjoyed it since most of the dishes tasted delicious and the ingredients felt fresh. I figure if guests staying in the resort should not miss the Fijian dinner buffet on the day it is served as it is not every day you would be able to get this in the resort.
Dinner at Flying Fish and The Reef
For the other nights at the resort, we ordered a variety of dishes such as tuna poke and the classic Fijian kokoda which are appetizers in the menu at the Flying Fish. On their own the dishes were alright but not particularly memorable as I believe one could get better dishes from a good seafood restaurant anywhere else in the city.
For the dinner at Flying Fish, we tried the squid ink linguine and the wild fish fillet. I would say the dishes are what would be served in a mid-end bistro. I did not think they were cooked particularly well and they were just alright. For a dinner costing around FJ$130++, I did expect something higher in terms of quality.
Over at The Reef, my friend had the Chicken Parmigiana which is like a fried chicken chop dish that did look good, while I had the mussels served with roti. The mussels lacked sauce or gravy and the portion was somewhat small as I expected something closer to a main course. With just 2 main courses, the meal came down to around FJ$80++ after the SPG Platinum 20% discount, so it is probably easier to stomach.
So the food here is not that great, but what was even worse was the state of service in the resort. On one of the days, we were told during breakfast that The Reef bistro would be closed for a private function and thus reservations should be taken for dinner at the Flying Fish restaurant. It turns out the bistro was still open that evening. On another day we made reservations for dinner and was assigned a late time slot at 7:45pm but in the evening when we went to the restaurant it was empty and thus we just sat and ordered. Basically there does not seem to be order here at all and the service was just disastrous in the restaurants.
In conclusion, staying at the Sheraton Tokoriki reinforced my view that offshore island resorts rarely have good food that is worth the asking prices on the menu. This was no exception. From the low quality dishes in breakfast to small portions of food and limited menu offered, it can be hard for guests staying a week or more here. For picky guests, I do expect them to probably bring some cup noodles, potato chips and granola bars just in case nothing in the menu catches your fancy after a few days. I was glad I made the decision to purchase some instant cup noodles before arriving at Tokoriki Island. Even with just 4 nights, I was getting tired of the breakfast and dishes in the resort, which is one of the reason I most probably will not return to this resort again.