Normally if you wanted to enjoy the unique hospitality and cuisine of a French Bouchon you would have to take a trip to Lyon in France where typically the emphasis in not on haute cuisine but rather a convivial atmosphere, a personal relationship with the owner and delicious home cooked traditional dishes.
The tradition of the Bouchon came from small inns frequented by silk workers passing through Lyon in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Thankfully for the residents of Koh Samui in order to enjoy a superb Bouchon experience there is no need to travel back in time to the seventeenth century or to take a trip to Lyon in France, because thanks to Jean Michel Guille there is a Bouchon right on our doorstep in Bangrak.
La Bouchon, located close Prana Beach Villas, offers an elegant dining experience, with beautifully dressed tables both inside and on the split level outdoor terrace. The perfectly pressed white table cloths and impressively folded napkins offer the first hint that you are in for a bit of a treat when you take your first step into this remote little tropical corner of France.
After your enjoying a very warm welcome you will find a great place to peruse the menu, and enjoy a cold glass of beer or wine, is at the rather chic red and grey bar with its comfortable but elegant black iron bar stools. Here you can soak up the warm hospitality as your taste buds are tantalized by the incredible aromas that pervade the atmosphere from the spotless kitchen where high quality products are lovingly turned into sumptuous dishes for your enjoyment.
Your dining choices begin on the starter menu that holds the delights of Garlic Bread, Eggs Mayonaise (Le Bouchon), Green Salad (Le Bouchon sauce), Bruschetta, Green salad with chicken liver, French sausage plate, Green salad with seafood, Green salad with tuna or a hot Camembert with salami and salad.
From there comes the difficult choice of deciding between the tempting dishes on the main course menu that include French burger, Pork chop in mustard sauce, Beef skewer, Port tenderloin, Escallop chicken with cream sauce, Chicken legs with cream sauce, Duck breast with cream or pepper sauce, Fondue Bourguignon, Beef tenderloin, Steak Bavette, T-bone Steak, Rib eye, Steak tartar, Lamb chops, Steak Onglet, Rib eye, Veal sirloin with cream or white wine sauce and Fish Filet or Salmon filet. If the accompanying side dishes are not enough to for a larger appetite then you can order a side of French fries or potatoes.
All of the dishes on the menu are freshly prepared and beautifully presented. Jean Michel has personally bestowed all of his cooking skills onto his staff, he has had a lifelong passion for good quality food that was born when his mother taught him how to cook. There is no doubt that the diners in Le Bouchon get a taste of the passion he has put into every dish throughout his love affair with cooking. The steak served at Le Bouchon is particularly noteworthy, whether you opt for imported steak fresh from the French Butchery or the more affordable local version, it is hard to imagine that anybody would not be more than impressed with the quality of the meat and the way it is mouthwateringly cooked to perfection no matter how you like it done.
If you are in the mood for heading from France towards Italy then you will not be disappointed as they menu contains a nice range of pasta dishes such as Spaghetti or tagliatelle with Bolognaise, Olive oil and garlic, Carbonara, Seafood, Beef or Salmon lasagna or Penne blue cheese. If you prefer pizza then you are really in for a treat, here you will find a superb selection of homemade pizzas with homemade bases that are cooked to perfection and all of the traditional toppings you would expect to find but spread perhaps more generously than you would expect! Of course Le Bouchon would not be Le Bouchon if there was not just a hint of the unusual, the Arnenieue pizza is a great choice if you fancy something a bit different, it comes with tomato, paprika, onion, beef, lamb, lemon and olives, if you are lover of the fruits of the ocean then try the seafood pizza with tomato, squid, mussels, mozzarella and shrimp but if it is something really unique to Le Bouchon try the house special pizza with Andouillette, , ham, smoked bacon and mozzarella. Like all of his dishes Jean Michel has painstakingly practiced with different ingredients, combinations, techniques and tastes until just the right balance has been found, and the homemade tomato sauce base of the pizzas are proof enough that it was more than worth the personal time and investment he put on to creating the perfect balance.
The flavors of France, or indeed Italy, certainly do not evade the stunning dessert menu, who could resist a Plate of French cheese accompanied by a small salad, or the desserts of the day that include tiramisu, chocolate mousse and a decadent chocolate fondant. If you want something slightly less hedonistic then perhaps a scoop or two of ice cream or if you fancy something a little more indulgent then a scoop or two of Colonel ice cream with lemon and vodka, of course of you are just to satisfied after your starter and main course to indulge in a dessert then you can always opt for a wonderful Irish coffee.
To accompany your meal look no further then the small but well thought out wine menu, if you fancy a bottle of red then why not try a nice French Belleville syrah merlot, an Australian Rooks lane shiraz or perhaps a Chilean Solde Chile 2011 Merlot. If white wine is more you thing then you will find a very nice Australian Rothbury Estate Sauvignon, a Solde chardonnay from Chile and a rather tempting bottle of Australian Lindeman. If you can’t decide between red or white then go half way and enjoy a Le Poussin, or Les Embruns Rose and if you really want to push the boat out then why not pop the cork on a bottle of E. Michel champagne. Of course there is a packed drinks menu with everything you would expect to find if you don’t feel like tasting the grape.
Le Bouchon is lovely restaurant; it is small and personal, while at the same time being large enough to afford you some privacy for a more intimate dining experience not too close to other diners. It is big enough for larger groups to enjoy a French, or Italian, feast and it is nicely decorated with images of France that will just take your focus away from Samui long enough to remember that you are enjoying the delights of a country well renowned for its cuisine.
One thing that cannot go without a mention, is that Le Bouchon is also something of a gourmet pizza takeaway and serves pizza until midnight for you to enjoy at home, so if you are wondering where to get a taste of something that can only be described as pretty spectacular on your way home from a jolly night in your local bar then this is should most certainly be your last stop.
Le Bouchon is open every day from 5pm until 1am, there is plenty of parking and if you would like to book a table, or order a special dish then Jean Michel will be happy to hear from you, you can call him on 083 392 4178
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