Located in the heart of Papeete, Le Soufflé is a quaint bistro that serves traditional French fare. Like the bistros of Paris, the menu isn’t static and changes depending on which ingredients are in season. In addition to the paper menu, the waitress also brought over a large blackboard, which indicated the daily specials of the day. This was all written in chalk and reminded me of the old school charm of Bistro Paul Bert. However, one problem remained. It was all in French! Luckily, I had enough basic French to get a gist.
Soon after, we were presented with a complimentary hor d’ oeuvre; potato bacon chowder and a piece of puff pastry. The crisp puff pastry was studded with thyme, perfect for dipping into the velvety soup.
The octopus salad was very moreish. Roast potato, bacon, and fresh mesclun greens accompanied pieces of grilled octopus. The octopus had great flavour, and was beyond tender.
The other appetizer was tofu carpaccio. Although it doesn’t sound extremely appetizing, it was executed great. Thin slices of silky tofu were bathed in a pool of fruity olive oil. Topped with fresh salsa verde, this verdant vegan appetizer tasted simple, yet the fresh ingredients spoke for itself. In addition, I thought the dish looked very appealing visually.
With a name like Le Soufflé, it would be unwise to not order the signature dish of the restaurant! The soufflé took over 30 minutes because it has to be freshly made to order, otherwise collapsing into a heap of mess. I had the lobster and shrimp soufflé, with a side of salad. The soufflé was piping hot when it arrived, as I accidentally discovered by foolishly touching the ramekin. There were succulent pieces of lobster tail and shrimp inside, cooked just barely by the steam. The soufflé itself was feather light, with a nutty gruyère and chive flavour. The cognac shellfish bisque was quite flavourful, but I found it salty and unnecessary. Just the soufflé on its own had good flavour. Despite the stellar flavour, the soufflé seemed a little flat. The dessert soufflé had better luck rising.
For dessert, we ordered the passionfruit mango soufflé with vanilla ice cream. Like its savoury counterpart, it was delicious! The passionfruit had a fruity fragrance, and it’s tartness contrasted well to the sweet mango. The vanilla ice cream was a cool welcome after the soufflé.
This was our last night in Tahiti before catching a red-eye flight back to LA, then Toronto. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best plan to eat such a full meal before boarding the plane, but YOLO. This concludes my French Polynesia trip. I had an amazing time and hopefully, someday, I’ll come back again!