Friday, November 29, 2013

Boucan at Hotel Chocolat

The exclusive cacao cuisine and spectacular setting has made Boucan one of St. Lucia's most popular foodie destinations. Inspired by the rare cocoa growing on Rabot Estate, the exclusive menu uses cocoa sometimes as a light and subtle spice, sometimes as a delicate infusion, but always in a natural, healthy and exciting harmony.  Located in the Hotel Chocolat, Boucan is a modern restaurant perched among the luscious mountains of Soufriere, St. Lucia.

After our first full day in St. Lucia, we wanted to venture out of our exclusive villa for the night and made reservations for dinner at a nearby hotel.  Our resort arranged for a taxi driver to take us there and bring us back, which was extremely helpful as you cannot simply flag down a cab in this remote part of the island.

olive oil with cacoa nibs, butter with cacoa nibs, dark chocolate sauce
The Boucan restaurant itself is open-aired and it was too pitch black to see anything, though we were seated at a table right by the ledge.  The staff were all very professional and gave top notch service throughout the evening.  I was looking forward to a chocolate infused meal, akin to a DC favorite Co Co Sala, and really experience the locally sourced ingredients.  First off, Keith ordered a mojito made with local dark rum.  It was much sweeter than the typical cocktail, so Keith later switched to wine.  Sliced bread arrived with a trio of cocoa infused oils and butters.  I also appreciated the addition of a cacao nib grinder next to the pepper and salt ones.

As an amuse bouche, we were presented with a small shot of hot spinach and goat cheese soup.  It was an earthy start to set the tone of a cocoa nib explosion that was to soon follow.  For starters, Keith and I shared the Risotto of Portabello Mushrooms.  This creamy risotto with pan seared portabello mushrooms was served with cacao nib oil and organic micro-herb leaves, and can be ordered in a full portion as a main dish as well.  The cacao had a coffee-like quality that married with the rich portabello mushrooms.  We also shared the Tuna & Dorado Tartare with mango, papaya, croutons, cacao nib condiment and herbs.  The fish was roughly cut, yet had a nice citrus combination to balance out the spice from the peppers.

For my main dish I ordered the seasonal fish, which was a Cacao Butter Roasted Red Snapper.  A thick cut of fish was presented with bacon spiced lentils and creamy potatoes.  The fish was expertly roasted in cacao butter, which had very subtle cocoa flavor.  I really enjoyed it.  The cocoa was much more prominent in the sauce that accompanied Keith's dish of Aberdeen Angus Prime Beef.  The dark chocolate Port wine sauce was matured and infused with cacao nibs, but was presented on the side and would have been better if it was incorporated more with the meat.  His steak came with hand cut fries and a cacao nib local spinach, that tasted "earthy - like soil" according to Keith.

The main courses were high quality and I was expecting a lot from the dessert.  Being it was a chocolate themed restaurant, we knew we had to order something with chocolate in it.  The Rabot Estate Molten Chocolate Cake caught my eye.  It was a traditional contrast of  chocolate sponge on the outside with semi liquid chocolate sauce on the inside.  Made with special Rabot Estate 65% dark chocolate and served with chocolate sorbet, the chocolate was very intense.  However, I was a little underwhelmed.  I think the dark chocolate was too monotone in this dish and it needed something sweet like berries to offset it.  Lastly, we were presented with house truffles of dark chocolate with a soft center.

All in all, we had a lovely chocolate infused experience at Boucan.

Total Rating: 3.88
Food: 4, Price: 3.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 3.5

What I ate:
Risotto of Portabello Mushrooms
creamy risotto with pan seared portabello mushroom
served with cacao nib oil and organic micro-herb leaves

Tuna & Dorado Tartare
with mango, papaya, croutons, cacao nib condiment and herbs

Cacao Butter Roasted Red Snapper
roasted in cacao butter with bacon spiced lentils and creamy potatoes

Rabot Estate Molten Chocolate
traditional contrast of chocolate sponge on the outside
with semi liquid chocolate sauce on the inside. 
Made with special Rabot Estate 65% dark chocolate and
served with chocolate sorbet

Plus Keith ate:
Aberdeen Angus Prime Beef with Dark Chocolate Port Wine Sauce
matured and infused with cacao nibs, hand cut fries,
port wine chocolate sauce and cacao nib local spinach

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