Le Bouchon du Village Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsRestaurant Reviewed November / December 2013
Dine on a sidewalk cafe at Le Bouchon du Village
Chef Pierrik Marziou needs no introduction. One of this island’s true culinary entrepreneurs; he holds the favoured and auspicious distinction of being a chef on the island of Providenciales longer than any other expatriate chef. For more than two decades, Pierrik and his lovely wife, Daphne, witnessed and experienced firsthand the culinary evolution of Providenciales. Their immensely popular restaurant evolved into a family affair to include son, Julien and daughter, Justine. Then the unthinkable happened. Word on the street was that Pierrik was hanging up his toque … he was going to retire. Sacre bleu!
Le Bouchon's Tuna Carpaccio
Thus began the historic French famine. His legendary dishes became palatable memories; often-told culinary tales of the exquisite escargot, the delectable duck and the spectacular steak au poivre. Then the unthinkable happened. The island was rife with rumors; the anticipation was as thick as a slice of foie gras.
Together, Pierrik and Julien would end the famine for fabulous French cuisine with Le Bouchon du Village in the Regent Village. The new essence of Parisian sophistication and Caribbean charm with that well known Marziou family warmth and hospitality. Honorable mention must also be made to Chef Rueben, who’s played a significant role in the Marziou kitchens for well over a decade.
Enjoy Escargot at Le Bouchon du Village
Our evening at Le Bouchon was somewhat of a ‘last supper’. While we could now feel secure that the French famine was in the past, Silly Season was looming ahead. It’s when many restaurants close for the slow months of September and/or October. In anticipation of this transitory deprivation, devotees cram for one last fix of their favourite dishes. Already with a bit of a faraway glint in his eye, Pierrik regaled us with the holiday tactics for the Marziou family. I couldn’t help but remark, “You would think that after working together all year long, holidays would be individual pursuits.” Pierrik just teasingly laughed and said, “There’s no blood on the wall yet!”
The familiar, prominent blackboard displays the menu offerings. It’s a perfect union of French delicacies and local island specialties. ‘Regulars’ will recognise many dishes that have never been touched by a chalkboard eraser.
Fresh Tuna Tartare at Le Bouchon du Village
This evening, Julien turned the tables and entertained us with his intuitive knack and telekinetic talent to pair dishes to each of us, beginning with one of those long-time favourites, Tuna Carpaccio. Superb in its simplicity – uber-thin slices of fresh, delicate tuna were enveloped in a luscious puddle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and served with a delightful side of crunchy seaweed salad. It just doesn’t get any fresher than … “my god that’s good”… this!
Lethal aromas of garlic flooded the air surrounding my favourite dining companion; wafting from her bowl that was brimming with succulent mussels submerged in what could best be described as “garlic porridge”, rich, thick and absolutely creamy. Julien nodded in agreement with her analogy and confessed, “I drink that stuff!”
Local Octopus Salad at Le Bouchon
The Pate de Foie Gras never ceases to take my breath away. I was still taking pleasure in our celebratory champagne, so this food and wine pairing was for me, the epitome of velvety richness and the essence of epicurean extravagance. Also synonymous with epicurean extravagance are the Escargots. Engorged with butter and garlic these decadent and infamous morsels are another legendary bastion on menus past and present and I think it’s safe to prophesy, future.
A ‘chip off the not-so-old block’ Julien is making trends of his own on the culinary scene, and most recently, introduced local octopus to the Le Bouchon menu. His Octopus Salad creation had us in raptures; the sautéed octopus was superbly tender and delightfully warm, perched on a bed of cool, crisp greens and vegetables. We thought it was a work of perfection. Imagine our surprise to discover that a key ingredient was missing … chorizo sausage. My imagination and my palate were already a step ahead, envisioning those tender morsels of sautéed chorizo in this already amazing dish.
Seared Fresh Tuna with Vegetables
Pierrik returned and talk quickly turned to the good old days, and then to what wine to order. “May I make a suggestion? Beaujolais!” Pierrik heartily proposed. A Beaujolais Cru from Fleurie, this 2011 Domaine de la Bouroniere was an instant crowd pleaser. With an abundance of fresh, ripe berries and a hint of black pepper, this lovely wine paired well with each course.
The tuna was “straight out of the ocean” Julien boasted. Local yellow fin tuna with a black and white sesame seed crust was seared and cut into strips and served with a tomato, garlic and ginger confit. Not quite able to identify where the ‘smokiness’ was coming from, Julien divulged the secret. The pan is preheated and the fish is left to smoke in the pan for two to three minutes – the result is ‘juicy’ tuna with an incredible seared crust.
Seared Scallops over Risotto at Le Bouchon du Village
Returning to hear our verdict, Julien observed our speechless smiles. “I told you! That’s what I had tonight … I could have had two of those!” he mused. We couldn’t agree more.
Scallops would be my destiny this evening. Perfectly seared and pleasantly plump they teased my taste buds with a wonderful, delicate sweetness. Not to be outdone, the accompanying risotto was shockingly rich, creamy and to-die-for. The French seem to have been born with an innate talent when it comes to delivering a succulent duck, and these moist and tender slices of breast arrived drizzled with a decadent Port-based demi-glace, but it was the crispy skin that pushed this dish over the edge. “It’s the strip of fat!” we all zealously agreed.
Tarte Tatin at Le Bouchon du Village
No story about Le Bouchon would be complete without Steak au Poivre. A fêted and praised dish throughout these parts, I can still remember with profound joy and haunting detail the very first time my husband and I experienced this dish; and the pivotal moment when I brought the first bite to my lips. As I gently released the meat from the tines of the fork and began to chew, the world seemed to shift into slow motion. The fresh cracked peppercorns that encrusted the juicy morsel of filet mignon splintered on my tongue and mixed sublimely with the absolutely divine, creamy peppercorn sauce. Each and every hot and crispy French fry was perfectly salted and saturated in sauce. There was no need for words or cutlery. We simply smiled and nodded together in gastronomic bliss, engulfed and trapped in this culinary chasm from which I had no desire to climb.
A Chocolate Tart at Le Bouchon du Village
When it comes to desserts, I think the French wrote the proverbial cookbook. Elegant, sophisticated and rich indulgences - you just can’t help but say, “Oui!” Chocolate Mousse, Crème Brulee, Chocolate Marquise and Strawberry Melba, no one does it like the French.
Beyond Le Bouchon, take a short walk to check out Julien’s Wine & Deli, a European-style delicatessen located in the Caicos Café Plaza. Next door, Daphne’s boutique Rumeurs is a veritable gallery of Asian-inspired fashion, accessories, gifts, jewelry, art and furniture. And with an unfathomable passion for the sea, Pierrik enthusiastically and frequently trades his toque for a captain’s hat; operating private, customised charters aboard his 42’ Regal Luxury Sport Boat, Anette Charters.
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