Despite the fact the guide on my sea kayaking trip, Kevin, said that Akaroa is not actually that French (and being a Frenchman, he would know), I was still looking forward to having a good French meal while in the small harbour town. I hoped that, with a name like Ma Maison, my restaurant for this evening would have at least some of the French food I craved on the menu.
When I arrived, I got a bit of a shock — Kevin was actually one of the waiters at the restaurant as well! That made the restaurant immediately more friendly and it was nice having a familiar face around while I was dining on my own.
Once I had my menu, it didn’t take long for me to choose what I wanted. There was not much French food on the menu, surprisingly, but I’d found exactly what I wanted — I was going to have duck a l’orange for my main and a crepe suzette for dessert. I felt like my parents would be a little bit jealous, especially since my mother and I share a love of crepes. I had no idea what wine would be best with the duck, so Kevin said that if I trusted him he would choose for me. This choice turned out to be a lovely pinot noir from Chard Farm in Central Otago.
The restaurant itself seats a fair number of people but seems small and cozy. It has a great outdoor area where you can have lunch or a few happy hour drinks while looking out towards Daly’s Wharf and across the harbour. Aside from Truby’s, which someone recommended to me as having outstanding views and great fish & chips, this has to be one of the best places to get an unobscured view of Akaroa and its harbour.
Kevin had warned me it would take about thirty minutes to prepare the duck, but it didn’t seem to take too long…and in any case, even if it had taken an hour to prepare, it would have been completely worth it. It was surrounded with two sauces (one an orange cacao sauce) and a sweet potato puree, all of which had a unique, delicious taste to them. The duck was cooked to perfection, with the skin lovely and crisp while the breast was still succulent, and it was on a bed of what looked like red cabbage but had the most divine orange taste. I made sure that I didn’t leave a drop of sauce or a scrap of food on the plate!
The dessert crepe was just the right size and had a lovely orange taste to it as well, mixed with both cream and ice cream. Complementing it was a cup of vanilla and raspberry tea.
So while Ma Maison was not quite the French eatery I was expecting, I would still highly recommend it, both for the sheer beauty of its location and for the lovely food. Eating there was a great way to end a fantastic day in Akaroa.
Ma Maison is located at 2 Rue Jolie in Akaroa, near the boat ramp at Daly’s Wharf. They open at 10am and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.