When we were staying at Barrier Beach House the manager recommended we visit Deco Stop Lodge. He said, ‘You must at least get there for lunch because it has one of the best views in Santo’. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for a visit.
But then we did.
We checked into the airport for our 50-minute flight to Port Vila and there was a slight situ in that there wasn’t a plane at the airport. We were told the plane was on its way from Noumea and would arrive in about an hour.
Despite the sign telling us not to leave the airport, we thought finding somewhere we could enjoy lunch would be therapeutic. Now was our opportunity to visit Deco Stop. Along with a couple of other passengers, we ran out of the terminal and into a bus.
The ride to Deco Stop Lodge took less than 10-minutes. The lodge is situated on a hilltop with expansive views of Luganville. It looks out to the picturesque Canal du Segond and directly below is the town of Santo that is just 5-minutes away. Deco Stop is a boutique resort offering budget accommodation in motel-style rooms with continental breakfast included.
Ben and Kim are the hosts and were there to greet us and show us into the restaurant. They are all smiles, very relaxed, welcoming and friendly. We had previously been told the restaurant is popular with ex-pat locals and sure enough, we saw Megan from Santo Horse Adventures who confirmed she is very much a regular.
The resort is rustic with a lot of traditional Vanuatu features. The restaurant is undercover and leads to the swimming pool that’s surrounded in timber decking. The view, even on a cloudy day, is very special. Sitting down at a table and taking in the view, immediately had us feeling relaxed and unfrazzled.
The lunch menu has no surprises but the choices are adequate for a quick lunch. Except it wasn’t quick. The food took an extremely long time to emerge from the kitchen which was making us anxious as we didn’t want the plane to start taxiing the runway without us. However, it is fairly standard on Santo to expect a fair wait between ordering and seeing anything at all, emerge from the kitchen.
Alfie was being difficult and couldn’t be encouraged to order anything other than a ‘mocktail’. He chose the Deco Favourite with banana, coconut cream and tropical juice. I thought it was beautifully presented with the pineapple and frangipani flower garnish but Alfie hated it. Had about two sips and declared it undrinkable. There was nothing wrong with it and it was a very refreshing drink.
Drew was trying hard to do his ‘light diet’ thing and ordered a salad roll with egg. At a cost of around $10.00 it was generous with the fillings and a perfectly fine light lunch.
Our friend, Lou, ordered the salt and pepper calamari. While she did enjoy the calamari she found it quite oily and there was a little pool of oil on her plate.
The others all ordered burgers where you can order extra goodies like egg and bacon. Archie ordered his burger with all extras. The burgers are generous in size, have lots of fillings and are a great way to satisfy the appetites of young adults.
I ordered the Thai Beef Salad with crispy noodles. It was definitely a beef salad but there was nothing Thai about it. I couldn’t taste any of those traditional Thai flavours like hot, salty, sour and sweet nor were there any Thai herbs like Thai basil, coriander and mint. However, if you remove the word ‘Thai’ from this dish, it was a really lovely beef salad that because it’s not too filling, is perfect on a lunchtime menu. The salad was crispy and crunchy and the famous Santo beef, very tender. I think I ordered the best meal.
We didn’t think we had time for dessert so we quickly paid the bill and raced to the airport. In typical Santo-style, the plane still had not arrived and we had another few hours of waiting in the terminal before we were finally on our way to Port Vila.
Deco Stop is centrally located and provides budget accommodation in a picturesque setting. If you don’t choose to stay at the resort, the restaurant is well worth a visit because it’s a very relaxing atmosphere and the view needs to be experienced.
Verdict: Adequate food in a very special setting.
Deco Stop: Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Ph: +678 36175