Le Bouchon du Village Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos IslandsRestaurant Reviewed November / December 2016
THE BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORIC CITY OF LYON IS CONSIDERED by many to be not only the food capital of France, but the food capital of the world. Here bouchons prepare traditional lyonnaise cuisine which is celebrated for its rich and extravagant dishes. But you don’t have to travel 4500 miles to indulge in this fabulous fare. We have our own Le Bouchon right here on Providenciales, serving up a surfeit of scandalously decadent and delicious French delicacies and local island specialities. The casual, yet elegant sidewalk café ambience is the essence of Parisian sophistication and Caribbean charm.
Le Bouchon has been a runaway success since opening its doors in December 2012. Julien Marizou is front and centre and continues the traditions he learned from the best, his parents. His father, Pierrik has been here longer than any other expatriate chef, well over two decades. Together, they have witnessed and inspired Provo’s culinary evolution and revolution.
The venerable blackboard is still a celebrated fixture and now features daily specials. Its magnetic properties seem to lure every diner as they arrive, eager to read in anticipation of the evening’s culinary delights.
Dishes like Escargots. Arguably one of the bastions of French cuisine, Le Bouchon offers up half a dozen plump and tender snails in a luscious pool of butter, shallots, garlic and parsley. My favourite dining companion paused as she placed each succulent morsel in her mouth, sighed and whispered, "Excellent, excellent."
Enjoy Escargot at Le Bouchon du Village
Another timeless French classic is mussels. And nobody does it better than the French with French fries on the side. These marvellous molluscs arrived incognito; the incredible aromas concealed beneath a lid. Then … Voila. Scandalous scents of garlic and mussels pervaded the air. With skilled precision and incredible self-control, my husband first meticulously and methodically detached each mussel from the shell and plunged them back into the to-die-for sauce, as well as a few French fries. There was only one spoon, and I knew attempts to procure it from him were futile so I improvised with a mussel shell, divine – absolutely divine.
The Tuna Carpaccio is legendary. It’s an incredibly beautiful dish and the essence of simplicity. Uber thin slices of delicate, raw ahi tuna in a luscious puddle of olive oil, with a delightful side of crunchy seaweed salad.
Octopus dishes are a rare and exciting find, and Julien has created some outstanding dishes including Octopus Salad. But this evening, he tempted me with something new, Octopus Carpaccio. We carefully listened as he regaled us with the unique preparation. Cooking it in a pressure cooker makes it tender, then the octopus and its juices are prepared torchon style (wrapped in a towel), the same way the French prepare Foie gras, and pâté. Once cooled, it’s frozen and becomes a solid log. Then it is thawed, sliced and served cold with a drizzle of EVOO, slices of avocado and cream sauce. Say no more, "That’s me!" I exclaimed. The presentation was stunning, and the octopus was delicately sweet and completely tender. "It’s wonderful," I cooed.
When it comes to wine, Julien always makes great recommendations and suggested a 2011 Alphonse Mellot La Moussiere Sancerre Rouge. This medium-bodied Pinot Noir from The Loire Valley had extraordinary complexity and depth.
Steak au Poivre. This entrée needs no introduction. I have reviewed this dish before, and just like this dish, I cannot improve on perfection. I can still remember with joy and haunting detail the first time. As I took a bite from the tongs of the fork, the world seemed to shift into slow motion. The fresh cracked peppercorns that encrusted the juicy morsels of filet mignon splintered on my tongue and mixed in sublimity with the creamy peppercorn sauce. Each and every crispy French fry was perfectly salted and saturated in that outrageously addictive sauce. I was in a state of gastronomic bliss. Ensnared in a culinary chasm I had no desire to leave.
Steak Au Poivre
My husband was preoccupied in his own state of gastronomic bliss, captivated with the intense flavours and melt-in-your mouth tenderness of his lamb shank. Slow cooked, Osso Bucco style and served with couscous, vegetables, and a little bowl of Harissa (hot chilli pepper paste) on the side to add a dab or a dollop if you dare.
The French wrote the book on duck, and my favourite dining companion surrendered her palate to the Confit de Cunard. Slicing through the crispy skin exposed a totally tender duck leg that simply fell apart. Served together with fried garlic potatoes and a light, refreshing chopped green salad with whole walnuts. "Great duck," she complimented.
As my fellow diner raved of his Grouper special, Julien appeared. "It’s a local grouper seasoned with Cajun, a little salt and pepper. Tonight we were pan cooking it. Traditionally we grill it. It’s just simple; it’s simple, good and fresh." Julien offered.
Confit Du Cunard
We asked what has been popular? "Our mussels have been very popular, a lot of people come to the restaurant just for the mussels." We all nodded in unison like bobblehead toys; then Julien divulged the ingredients of the divine sauce. "Shallots with garlic, olive oil, white wine, and a touch of cream." Then he paused and added, "A lot of cream actually. My dad’s always put extra cream in everything." We all laughed, cream and butter, that’s the French way. In season on Fridays, oysters have developed quite a following, popularly paired with a bottle of champagne.
The pâté is always spectacular. Tonight Julien had made a pork and chicken liver pâté. It had a lovely, smoky flavour, wrapped in bacon, with piment d’espelette (a bit of heat) and whole pistachios. Watch for duck pâté on the blackboard.
Talk turned to Steak au Poivre and I began to drool, "It’s amazing every time. It’s so consistent; it is such an amazing dish." Julien just smiled and nodded and said, "We sell more steak than anything." My husband interjected on behalf of his lamb shank. I had to agree; the lamb shank was pretty amazing in its own right.
Desserts are elegant, sophisticated and rich, you can’t help but say, "Oui!" There’s also a great selection of special coffees and other liquid libations too, like Café Liegoise, a double espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We collectively indulged in the beautiful textures and temperatures of Fried Ice Cream and Marquise, basically, a marvellous slab of chocolate ganache.
Fried Ice Cream
Beyond Le Bouchon, actually, right across the street, discover Julien’s Le Comptoir Français. By day, this aromatic boutique and deli specialises in gourmet goods including spices, seasonings, infused oils, salts, Italian pasta, an excellent selection of fine wines from France, Italy and around the world, plus premium rums and Cuban Crafters fine cigars. It’s also a full-service deli open from Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am serving coffees, pastries, bread, salads and Julien’s, now famous, deli sandwiches. By night, and just in time for the upcoming season, enjoy drinks, a glass of wine, or even a bottle of wine at Provo’s newest night spot.
Dine on a sidewalk cafe at Le Bouchon du Village
Photos by Lisa Adara Photography
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