Waterfront Bar & Grill, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Warning:  Dud photos ahead.

Leaving Espiritu Santo we flew to Port Vila where we were going to spend 24-hours before flying home to Sydney.

Signage on the highway

Signage on the highway

I’ll spare you the details but basically our day of sightseeing in Port Vila never happened because our Air Vanuatu flight was firstly delayed an hour and then another hour.  As we were seated in the terminal I could quite clearly see there was no plane at the airport.  I asked someone in a uniform if the plane might be flying in any time soon.  She said the plane had been delayed in Noumea and should be arriving ‘soon’.

On again...

On again…

‘Soon’ is subject to interpretation and so it was a further two hours before we boarded.  It was like stepping into a sauna as the air-conditioning wasn’t working.  We taxied to the runway and sat and sat and sat going nowhere.  The captain then told us there was a problem with the plane and they were trying to fix it before take-off.  That’s a comfort.  But alas, the problem couldn’t be fixed so it was back to the terminal to disembark and sit for another 30-minutes.

Off again

Off again

Back on the plane the ‘problem’ had been fixed but not the air-conditioning.  I’ve never been so hot in all my life and I’m quite sure it must have been close to 50C (122F) in that cabin.  So by the time we arrived in Port Vila the day was over but we wouldn’t have been able to do much anyway as the rain was unrelenting and had been for some time so the streets were flooded and getting around the city, now very difficult.

A very tropical ntrance

A very tropical ntrance

At the apartment where we were staying there was a consensus it was too miserable to go out and we should instead just order a pizza or two but that’s not a good way to see a city.  So the manager of the apartments suggested the Waterfront and we are very glad he did because we had a fantastic night and it was so much better than sitting in an apartment and eating a takeaway.

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

Buses run up and down the roads of Port Vila all the time.  As far as I could make out, there’s no timetable and no bus stops; you just stand out on the street and when a bus sees you it will stop.  And traveling by bus is very inexpensive and will cost the equivalent of a dollar or two.

Such a wet night

Such a wet night

The Waterfront is positioned on the water directly opposite Iririki Island Resort.  It’s a bar and grill with a lot of outdoor seating but on the night we were there, there was no chance of sitting outdoors.  Due to the heavy rain, most people had deserted the town and so the restaurant was just about empty which was a shame because we had such a fun night.

House specials

House specials

The restaurant is very traditional and rustic in style with lots of timber and a large thatched roof.  There are international flags hanging from the roof, a large bar area, a stage for live music and a dance floor.  It was a very dark night and extremely dark inside the restaurant making photos very challenging.  Apparently the Waterfront is one of the liveliest places to be in Port Vila but not when it’s raining cats and dogs.

A very dark restaurant

It’s like eating in a blackout

Having eaten very little all day, (no trolley service on the flight), we wanted something very quickly so instantly ordered the garlic bread.  Having been used to waiting fairly lengthy periods for food to arrive in Santo, we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the garlic bread came from the kitchen.  It was very hot and very buttery and we took no time to finish this loaf.

Garlic Bread:  550 vt ($7.00)

Garlic Bread: 550 vt ($7.00)

There is a children’s menu but Alfie becomes indignant if you even suggest that to him so he ordered from the ‘proper’ menu and chose the Salt and Pepper Calamari from the entree section.  It arrived on such a large plate that the serving looked a little sparse but Alfie enjoyed his ‘proper’ meal.

Salt and Pepper Calamari:  950 vt ($11.00)

Salt and Pepper Calamari: 950 vt ($11.00)

Drew and Archie ordered the Thai Chicken with Thai-style noodles and peanut sauce.  It wasn’t as genuinely Thai as they were expecting and at just over $30.00 it did seem fairly expensive.

Thai Chicken:  2850 vt ($32.00)

Thai Chicken: 2850 vt ($32.00)

Arabella ordered the penne pasta with spicy meatballs but was disappointed the meatballs were bland rather than spicy.  Again, around $30.00 does seem a lot to pay for a bowl of pasta.

Penne Pasta with Spicy Meatballs:  2850 vt ($32.00)

Penne Pasta with Spicy Meatballs: 2850 vt ($32.00)

I ordered the beef curry that they say is their specialty.  It came with homemade chutney and condiments and was served with jasmine rice.  It pays to stick to the house specialty because I absolutely loved this curry.  The curry had the right amount of heat and I loved the banana and fresh coconut sambal with its lovely texture and it was very refreshing and complimented the curry so well.  The meat was extremely tender and the portion so generous I was unable to finish it – plenty of helpers around the table though.

Beef Curry:  2850 vt ($32.00)

Beef Curry: 2850 vt ($32.00)

But at the Waterfront it’s not just about the food as there’s fabulous live music.  Polynesian people are very gifted with rhythm and musical talents.  There was a musician and a singer performing that night and they harmonised beautifully.  They performed a series of gospel songs and when they took a break I went and introduced myself.  I said, ‘Hi, I’m Charlie from Sydney’, and the singer said, ‘And I’m Prince Philip’ and as he shook my hand I said, ‘I never thought I’d get the chance to meet you, Prince Philip’.  We talked about gospel music and I told him my husband sings Elvis gospel songs and his favourite is How Great Thou Art.

Prince Philip

Prince Philip

When Prince Philip went back on stage he said, ‘Could the man who sings Elvis gospel songs please come up on stage’.  So I pushed Drew out of his chair and soon he was up on stage and that’s pretty much where he stayed the rest of the night.

A little bit of Elvis

A little bit of Elvis

Meanwhile we left our table and sat up at the bar to watch the show.  Prince Philip was very entertaining not only in the range of songs he performed but also with his dance moves and interaction with the audience.

'Sing for your supper'

‘Sing for your supper’

If we had been staying in Vanuatu another night we would have been back to the Waterfront in a flash.

Verdict:  So much fun.

Waterfront Bar and Grill:  Kumul Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu

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  1. In spite of the miserable, it sounds like you evening ended up being lovely. Thanks for sharing the clip of Drew singing “Love me Tender”. His voice was wonderful as always.

  2. I was hoping there would be a video of Drew singing! Beautiful voice, what a great finale to your holiday.

  3. All of that plane nonsense would have driven me crazy! I’m glad to hear you made it safely…and got to enjoy a little bit of town!

  4. Everything looked good! Glad everyone had fun!

  5. Oh, wow, Drew does sound just like Elvis. If he lived in the U.S., he could get a job in Las Vegas as a full-time Elvis impersonator. Or anywhere in the country. Beautiful.

  6. What a fab night at the Waterfront. Much better than staying in a hotel room and getting pizza delivered. You ate well, made a new friend and got to hear the old fella sing. 🙂 He was singing to you, right??

  7. Whoa, 50C is unbearable! But at least all’s well that ends well. With a good note brought to us by Mr Hotly Spiced 😉

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  8. What a great way to end your vacation. Love the clip of your hubs singing.

  9. I love how you and your family turned the proverbial day of lemons into lemonade. Looks like such a fun night for all, though I was a bit surprised at the prices for what looks like fairly basic, straight-forward food. Drew is pretty amazing–thanks for sharing.

  10. Drew (still want to call him Carl) has such a great singing voice! He does a great Elvis and that’s a high compliment since I grew up about 28 miles from where Elvis was born. Looks like a really fun night after a very hot, wet and tiresome day.

  11. How cool is that Charlie? Wow! Your husband sings gospel à la Elvis! Looks like they should have handed over that pasta and Thai chicken over for free! Duly noted, by the way, next time when traveling, I’l remember to order the house special…..I hope though I won’t be subjected to loose interpretations of “soon” when on my next sojourn =)

  12. LOVE IT! 🙂 Miss Drew’s singing too! Liz xx

  13. Love the clip Charlie, I’m so glad your last night was such a success instead of a damp downer 🙂 It does seem pretty pricey though, at least you got the good meal for a change! Xo

  14. Well if Sydney life ever get too much from Drew we’ll know where to find him!

  15. At least the holiday in Santo was great – even if getting there and back was a mission and what a fun night in Port Vila.

  16. Sounds like your night was a blast despite the rain and flight delays! Drew has an awesome voice! I want to party with YOUR family!!!

  17. Drew has a lovely voice! I cannot even imagine being stuck in a small plane that is that hot. I felt like I couldn’t breath just reading it! Awful. I would have had to been drunk to survive that. lol Glad your night turned out well. 🙂

  18. Eeek, I would hate being so hot, how awful… glad the evening turned out ok in the end… good garlic bread… and your man is a fab Elvis impersonator! : )

  19. P.S. I have gone to weekly email updates—hoping folks will like those better. I moved my whole mailing list over, so you should get an update in the morning. If not, there’s a subscribe to my weekly email box in my right hand side bar. Feedburner would do wonky things with my photos :/

  20. That’s good that you ended up going out. We had a super long delay in NZ once, it was six hours! And those prices are very high. Dare I say higher than Australia (it’s not often you say that!).

  21. This really reminds me of when we lived in Mauritius, although it would have been nice to have Drew singing for us.
    Have a wonderful Saturday Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  22. It looks like you had a great time abeit short. The food looks disappointing with the exception of your curry. Drew did a great performance, the restaurant should have comped some of your food and drinks!
    Don’t get me started on the practices of information dissemination of airlines, it’s abismal! Coming home from Chicago one year in December, our flight was delayed 10 hours and they kept telling us in 2 hour increments! Fortunately now with Twitter and appropriately hash tagged comments, it’s not nearly as easy to get away with. No A/C? I’d encourage you to write a complaint to the company. One time about 25 years ago our commuter train not only had the A/C fail but the heater malfunctioned and they couldn’t turn it of to the point where anything metal was too hot to touch! Fortunately we were able to get fresh air when the train stopped but it was brutal, I couldn’t imagine what that would be like on a plane.

  23. Wow you have an Elvis in the family! That made me laugh, so cool 😀
    But 50 degrees? I melt at the thought!

    Choc Chip Uru

  24. There is a silver lining to every dark cloud. I think you should open your place – your family has the human resources across the board food and entertainment. What a great night it must have been!

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