Canadian-Turkish Chef Finds Culinary Sweet Spot in Mauritius
MAURITIUS — Ahead of Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort opening to international tourists later this year, the property has transformed its food and beverage offering.
The head chef and his team have put a new emphasis on European and Asian dishes with a Mauritian twist, local ‘kajak’ tapas options, more live stations in the Mercado international restaurant, a new beachside dinner menu at Bar Bleu, and a completely fresh approach to international and vegan options at Edgewater.
Canadian-Turkish chef Guven Uyanik has used the temporary shutdown of tourism to enhance dining options. Tradewind flavours are now more to the fore in the resort’s colonial-style Plantation Club restaurant.
“With the new menu, the Plantation Club interprets Creole cuisine according to the wild game, vegetables and herbs found in different parts of the island and our herb garden,” says Guven. “We are proud to offer diners a modern presentation of traditional Mauritian flavours.”
Chef Guven draws attention to four favourites that he and his team have created: Dhal Puri with Foie Gras from the neighbouring village of Souillac (a dhal puri filled with orange zest, confit duck leg, foie gras and jackfruit compote, pomegranate); Duet of Wagyu Beef (with wild mushrooms, celeriac pave and natural jus); Chamarel Venison Loin (with local wild berry achar, marinated beetroot, sweet potato, smoked natural jus).
The Slow Cooked Pork Neck, meanwhile, is marinated for 24 hours before being slow cooked with Creole flavours such as vanilla puree, glazed raisin and star anise sauce.
Lighter touch Mauritian ‘kajak’ tapas options have also been added to the Mercado restaurant, the resort’s main international outlet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The live stations in Mercado now have themed evenings, with a different emphasis every night for 14 days: Sicilian, Greek, Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, French, Indian Ocean and South American, to name a few.
Keeping things simple and a la carte, General Manager Cyrille Carmona says there is also a big new choice of classic and European favourites at the refurbished open-air Bar Bleu. “After a great meal in a relaxed family setting, enjoy live music and sumptuous desserts and Bar Bleu drinks.”
Slow Cooked Lamb Shank
Informal dinner highlights at Bar Bleu now include Mini Souvlaki, Roasted Lobster (with Cafe de Paris butter), Slow Cooked Lamb Shank, and Prawn Guvec (with fragrant pepper sauce and feta cheese).
Chef Guven has also introduced new lunch and dinner menus to Edgewater open-air outlet beside the resort’s jetty. This is the place to head for a la carte salads, steaks, burgers, pastas, seafood options and more. Among the many international choices with a local twist, Chef Guven recommends Local Venison and Mung Bean Curry for guests keen to try African flavours.
Vegan options abound at Edgewater and include Roasted Beetroot Salad, Vegetable Turkish Briam (couscous, feta vegan and menthe), Artichoke and Fresh Palm Heart Salad, and many more.
Chef Guven says it has taken him three years in Mauritius to fully bring out the best from the island and reach what he calls that “sweet spot” — the right combination of Mauritian flavours and international choices.
“I’m using spices better than ever before,” he says. “We’re growing our own herbs, vegetables and fruit. We’re adding Creole flavours to French cuisine, even Wagyu beef. Our fishmonger in Tamarin knows what I like and calls me when he has a special catch come in.”
Before running the kitchen at Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, Chef Guven worked in frantic city hotels and restaurants in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vancouver.
“In Mauritius, I’ve learned patience. I’ve learned how to fish. I’ve evolved my approach to herbs and spices…. You know Mark Twain said that heaven was modelled on Mauritius. My idea of culinary heaven now has more than a little bit of Mauritius in it.”
Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort information and bookings are available at outrigger.com
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