Marc and Rosie Joinville, the owners of Big Chef Steakhouse and the adjacent Tapas on the Bay, believe in making your dining experience memorable. The food alone achieves that but they have gone one step further by frequently presenting some of the island’s best performers: pianists, chanteuses, saxophonists and guitarists.
When I passed by Big Chef one Thursday evening in February I was greeted by the seductive sounds of Kenson Hippolyte on the restaurant’s baby grand piano. I ordered a Royal Bellini (passion fruit and mango puree topped with Prosecco) from the cocktail menu and spent the next half hour being soothed by the ballads and the bubbles.
Rosie informed me that Shannon was singing next door so I popped round to Tapas on the Bay to hear this young lady belt out some classics. Oh Rosie! Normally I am spoilt for choice by your menu but that night it was by the music!
Word arrived that my order of bruschetta was ready so I returned to Big Chef. The restaurant’s wine list has an impressive selection of champagnes, sparkling, white, rose and red wines by the glass and by the bottle so I gave my palate some more pleasure with a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio – a perfect partner to my bread.
The Big Chef menu emphasizes steaks but includes a wonderful selection of soups, salads, seafood, chicken, ribs, burgers and pasta. I did my usual and ordered a steak cooked blue rare, opting for the Sirloin Oscar: grilled top sirloin with shrimp, scallops asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. The entrée is served with a choice of potato, rice or house salad; I chose the Parmesan fries. It took me a while to finish my meal but it was so good that I was determined to eat every last bite. Besides, Kenson was still pleasing diners with his piano-playing.
Big Chef offers live music four nights a week. The other regular artists are the expert guitar player Boo Hinkson accompanied by vocalist Semi Francis, and accomplished pianist Richard Payne. Tapas on the Bay presents a live musical performance every Thursday evening by talented Shannon and alternate Friday evenings by saxophonist Rob Zi Taylor with songstress Phyness, or by the very able Kenson.
My belly was happy and I was enjoying the entertainment so I felt in no rush to leave. I asked Kenson to play a request – a Brazilian bossa nova jazz song – and he obliged. It’s now hard to say if it was that or the dessert that made my evening so special. I rounded off my dinner with apple crumble and ice cream, made all the more delicious with a drizzling of ginger butterscotch sauce.
Big Chef Steakhouse is one of my top choices for a dinner on a special occasion. With the added bonus of live music I foresee that I shall be dropping by more frequently to enjoy the sounds of Saint Lucian musicians. These artists are proving popular so I recommend that you make a reservation to ensure a table for an evening of great food with equally great music.