La Kaz a Lea (Saint-Pierre, Reunion, France)

After the great laundromat kerfuffle, the next day went a lot more smoothly. We first visited the Saga du Rhum, a most excellent museum about rum, distillation, and Réunion’s history… with a most excellent tasting room allowing you to get free samples of most of the island’s many different rhums. After finishing at the Saga du Rhum, it was time for lunch. We headed back into Saint-Pierre, and settled into Kaz à Léa (Creole for “Lea’s House”) for lunch, right as noon prayer was sounding (Saint-Pierre has a sizeable Islamic population, and we were about a block away from the major mosque). And hey, how can I resist… it has “Kaz” in the name!

Kaz a Lea is a rather pleasant atmosphere, basically being a converted East India-era wooden house with several of the rooms and the large terrace turned into a rather pleasant little restaurant. The menu is primarily “Creole”, but also has a few more modern and traditional French dishes available as well. But again, we can get French food on our return trip through Paris, so we focused on the local offerings.

In my case, I opted for what was basically a chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage stir fry (I forgot the French name for this). This was one of my very few forays into Reunion’s take on Chinese food, and I have to say, it was quite pleasant. The stir fry was, conceptually, very similar to a lot of the more authentic stir fries I’ve had at better Chinese places in the US, without the cloying sweet sauce that seems to work its way into Chinese-American restaurant food. But you could also tell this was a Réunionnais-inspired dish, since it had a very notable fresh herbal note common to many dishes I had on Reunion, with particularly strong notes of ginger and verbena. Overall, a few nice dish.

Carol was more adventuresome, getting the Carri Zourite. This was your standard Reunion-style carri, with a very nicely spiced and flavorful tomato-based sauce, rice, beans, and the ever-present fiery green hot pepper rougail. The one difference: the carri itself was… octopus. A particularly nicely done octopus at that: fairly small octopus nicely cooked to the point of tenderness without any rubbery texture, this was one of the finest carris of the trip.

Overall, Kaz a Lea was a very pleasant, and pleasantly affordable, dining location right in the heart of Saint-Pierre. While the neighborhood has rather a lot of dining options of all varieties (Saint-Pierre is by far the most metropolitan city on the island), Kaz a Lea held their own, and I would be pleased to go back and explore their menu in more detail.

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