Monday 25 November 2013

Spices: Florabel

his is the first Chef Florabel restaurant that I got to try out. Not knowing much about her creations, I must say its the 50% off on all wine signage that made us decided to eat here. I liked the resto's chic look and it felt comfortable to dine inside without being too intimidating.


A complimentary warm dinner rolls and butter was served.

Complimentary Bread and Butter

From a pretty good selection of wine, we picked a 2009 wine from the Cotes Du Rhone region to accompany our meal.

2009 Pasquier Desvignes Cotes du Rhone - Php950 at 50% off

To start, we had the Prawn Pomelo Salad. The salad was really good, prawns were perfectly cooked, lettuce was fresh and crunchy, the lime based dressing was excellent and I really liked how the cashew nuts added texture and flavor to the salad. My only gripe about the salad was the pomelo, the slices were already drying out, it didn't have much juice when you bite into it's pulp.

Prawn Pomelo Salad - Php395

I initially thought the Abi pasta would be overwhelmingly flavorful with the use of walnuts and Gorgonzola. But with the use of sauteed spinach and tomatoes as its other ingredients, the pasta was surprisingly light and mellow. The Abi was pretty good though  I would have enjoyed the pasta dish more if the fettucini was al dente.

Abi Pasta - Php420

Our favorite dish for the night was the Grilled Lapu-Lapu with Mushroom and Capers in Tomato Chorizo Sauce. The grilled fish was served with grilled  zucchini, asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Grilled Lapu - Lapu with Mushroom and Capers in Tomato Chorizo Sauce - Php550

The grilled lapu-lapu was perfectly cook, moist and flaky. On top was the thick tasty tomato chorizo sauce, I liked the balance of the sour and sweet flavors of the tomatoes. Plus what made it extra special was the smoky flavor coming from the chorizo. The sauce complimented the grilled fish really well, it's a great alternative from the usual butter and lemon combination.

Grilled Lapu - Lapu

For dessert, the server recommended that we try the Chocolate Decadence Ala Mode.A flourless chocolate cake served with mantecado ice cream. on top. When the dessert was placed on the table, the server told us to eat the cake as soon as possible since the ice cream on top would melt. The chocolate cake was served warm, it wasn't too sweet, tasted of good dark chocolate and it had a dense yet moist center. Eating the cake together with the ice cream and caramel syrup was a treat.

Chocolate Decadence Ala Mode - Php365

To go with the dessert, we had a cup of Illy coffee.

Freshly Brewed Illy Coffee - Php120
I enjoyed dining at Florabel, comfortable atmosphere, food was of great quality and prepared well. There are only a few restos in Podium and Florable is definitely one of the good ones that I wouldn't mind going back to.

Address: Ground Floor Podium Mall, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
Tel. Nos.: 667 3220 / 638 7527

Monday 18 November 2013

Spices: Brotzeit

Upon the mention of German food, the words sausages and beer pops up in my mind. When we passed by the ground floor of Shangrila Plaza and saw how packed Brotzeit was, we decided to give the restaurant a try. Before entering, we were told by the receptionist that the restaurant is a franchise from Singapore, I really didn't mind where a restaurant comes from as long as they serve good food.


Aside from the different imported German bottled beers, they carry the Paulaner brand on tap.

Paulaner on tap in Brotzeit

I was supposed to get a glass of the regular wheat beer but upon seeing the different concoctions, I decided to order a 300ml glass of Russ'n. A concoction made up of Paulaner wheat beer and lemonade. Though I found it quite interesting and refreshing, it's still too sweet for me. I wished I just ordered the regular brew but for non-beer drinkers, this would be a good choice.

Russ 'n - Php175 for 300ml

The resto has a very limited choice for wines, we had a bottle of Lindeman 2011 Shiraz - Cabernet wine.

Lindeman's Shiraz - Cabernet - Php1,240 / bottle

To start of our meal, we had the Seafood Salad. The salad consists of lettuce, smoked salmon, seared tuna, shrimp, dried tomatoes, olives, zucchini and orange slivers topped with sour cream dressing. The salad was really nice, the ingredients used were all fresh and the combination of the flavors was spot on. Veggies and orange slivers were fresh, tuna was perfectly seared, shrimp was moist and the salmon really had that smokey flavor plus the dressing complimented each ingredient well.

Seafood Salad - Php350 single serving

The Salmon Fillet was served on a bed of sauteed spinach with balsamic glaze and served with parsley potatoes.

Salmon Fillet - Php650

The chunk of salmon looked really nice with the grilled marks on top. Though the fish was a bit overcooked, the whole dish tasted nice. I liked how simple the fish was seasoned , spinach was tasty, balsamic glaze complimented the fish and vegetables well and the potatoes were moist and tasted of parsley.


I was looking forward to eating the Currywurst, the curry pork sausage looked promising. The sausage was a good foot long with curry powder on top and chili sauce at the bottom, served with potato wedges. But as soon as I cut a piece off and took a bite, it was downhill from there. The sausage was so disappointing, the texture and flavor was like a regular supermarket bought hotdog, it didn't even tastes like the premium ones. The only good thing about this dish are the fried crunchy potato wedges.

Currywurst - Php430

Looks like a regular hotdog

I was happy with all of the other dishes that I tried except for the sausage. It's always expected that when you eat at a German resto, you'll get to feast on good sausages. I haven't try all of their sausages yet but from what I tried, they really have to drastically improve the quality of the sausage. You can't be called a German resto without having great tasting sausages.

Address: 112 Streetscape, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong
Tel. No.: 631 1489

Sunday 10 November 2013

Spices: Cafe De Paris (Currently Closed)

Ever since my 'feel good' resto, Cafe Othello closed down decades ago. I've never found a restaurant that has replicate that sense of joy I felt whenever I dined out. It was more than just the great food, service or ambiance, it's an inexplicable warm feeling that whenever you dine at that place you always feel welcomed whole heartedly. Just recently, I've found my new 'feel good' resto, Cafe De Paris.

Cafe De Paris

When we entered, we were greeted and led to our seats by Jean-Louis, the owner of Cafe De Paris. I also automatically took notice of Chef Christophe, who was in the kitchen, he had a calm and relax demeanor while cooking. The resto had a very casual relax vibe, everyone inside was holding glasses of wine with smiles on their faces. I browsed the menu and decided to order the special tasting menu for the day, the main theme was duck. The dinner set cost Php890.

Duck Tasting Menu - Php890

A complimentary basket of the most delicious baguette was served. I haven't tasted baguette like this before in bakeshops and bread stores in Manila. The baguette had a crunchy crust with a dense, soft and chewy center.I asked both Jean and Christophe if the bread are Eric Kayser's, they just both smiled and said it's a secret. They said the bread came from France and we can't find those baguettes in Manila.

Complimentary Baguette

For the amount, I really didn't expect much then came the first course, Duck Pate, Foie Gras and Smoked Duck Fillet. On a nice and warm plate were three slivers of duck fillet, foie gras terrine, duck pate, mangoes, fruit berry syrup and pieces of crostini.  The dish was presented simple and straightforward.

Duck Pate, Foie Gras, Smoked Duck Fillet

As I took a bite out of each starter, I was speechless. Only the sounds of oohss and uhmss came out. Everything was delicious, I liked how smooth the terrine was, I enjoyed the smokey flavor of the fillet and the duck pate was absolutely superb. I also like how the duck starters were served together with the mangoes and fruit berry syrup. The sweetness of the fruit and syrup compliments the rich and slightly salty flavor of the duck starters.

Duck Starters

For the main course was Duck Breast with either an orange sauce or foie gras sauce. Still dazed over the starter, I went for the foie gras sauce. Just like the starter, the dish was presented straightforward, a huge chunk of charred duck breast sits on a golden foie gras sauce with mashed potato on the side.

Duck Breast with Foie Gras Sauce

I cut the duck breast in half and what greeted me is a gorgeous pinkish center. Charred on the outside and pinkish center, duck breast was cooked to perfection. The foie gras sauce is so rich and tasty that I wanted to pick up the whole plate and slurp the whole thing down. I rarely see duck breast being served like this in restos here in the metro, I don't even remember even trying one here. If you're someone who loves a  juicy piece of steak, this is a must try.

Perfectly Cooked Duck Breast

For dessert, Christophe personally brought out the Fondant Chocolate Brulee. The chocolate molten cake was served with fresh orange slivers on the side.

Fondant Chocolate Brulee

Christophe told us to break the brulee in half and as I did, a glistening gooey chocolate oozed out. I'm really not a fan of chocolates but this is one chocolate dessert I wouldn't mind eating over and over again. The cake had a slightly crunchy crust and it went so well with the creamy center. It wasn't clawing sweet and I loved how it tastes of dark chocolate. Christophe said that he used 70% dark chocolate and he's concocting up a fondant chocolate brulee with chillies, I'll surely wait for that.

Chocolate oozes out...

Aside from the tasting menu, we also ordered additional items on the menu. The first of which is the Egg Cocotte.This is my first time to encounter this type of egg dish, on the center of the hardboiled egg white was a yolk mixture. The yolk center was so smooth and creamy plus it had delicious subtle flavors. I'm not sure what the ingredients were but I tasted cheese, an herb and white wine. Looks so simple and tastes so good.

Egg Cocotte - Php290

I would have wanted the pasta in the Seafood Pasta to be more firmer. Still, I love how simple and rustic the pasta dish is, fresh shrimps, garlic, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, parsley make up the dish. I found myself mopping out every little piece of morsel out of the plate.

Seafood Pasta - Php450

I enjoyed dinner so much that I knew I had to go back. When I did, the resto was offering a different tasting menu, the resto changes it's tasting menu every so often. Even before I got to open the menu, Christophe got hold of it and said, "you won't be needing this." I happily let go of the menu and told him to take care of me. For that evening, they were serving a French Riviera tasting menu.

French Riviera Menu - Php790 (photo courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

For the appetizer, a Prawn Ceviche with pieces of crostini was served. I think this came as complimentary since it wasn't listed on the menu. I've eaten different versions of ceviche before and each one has a common denominator, the strong sour mouth pucking sensation. This is due to the use of either vinegar or any citrus fruits. Christophe's version is the most pleasant and smoothest I've tasted. Though it also has a squeeze of lemon in it, it didn't have the sour mouth pucking feel, it was deliciously mellow that taste of cilantro and basil. More importantly the chopped shrimps were so plump and fresh. Something to die for.

Prawn Ceviche

The Mediterranean Trilogy  starter  consists of a slice of Pissaladiere, Egg on Ratatouille Bed and Fish Pate. The fish pate was fresh, smooth, creamy and tasty. I really enjoyed the runny yolk on the egg as the yolk added creaminess to the perfectly stewed tasty vegetables.

Mediterranean Trilogy 

It was my first time to taste Pissaladiere, Christophe told me it's French style pizza. The Pissaladiere had caramelized onions, garlic, olives and anchovies.  As I took a bite out of it, the sweet aroma and taste of caramelized onions filled my senses, I didn't even have to chew on it as the stewed onions just melts in your mouth. For onion lovers like me, I'm pretty sure you'll also love this savory pie.

Egg on Ratatouille Bed, Pissaladerie, Fish Pate

After trying out the Petits Farcis main course, I looked it up and found out that Christophe's version was special. Usually the regular version uses one kind of stuffing for the different vegetables, the one I tried has different fillings for each vegetables. The eggplant has pork, the sweet tomato has beef and both the zucchini and bell pepper has seafood stuffed inside. Served with white rice on the center and a lemon on the side.

Petits Farcis

Christophe told me to squeeze the lemon on the breadcrumb coated stuffed vegetables. He also pointed out that the breading had just a slight crunch so that I'll be able to enjoy the textures of the meat and vegetables. I squeezed the lemon all over and took a bite out of each vegetable, everything tasted so clean and fresh. I imagined myself eating this on a clear sunny day staring out to the sea, it's the perfect dish for it.

Petits Farcis

To cap it all off, a Orange Granita and a 'still on fire' creme bulee was served for dessert. Served on a tall martini glass, the granita had freshly squeezed sweet orange juice and basil leaves, so refreshingly delicious. The creme bulee was so creamy and had just the right amount of sweetness, I wanted more of it.

Orange Granita

Of course a classic French Bistro wouldn't be complete without wines and aperitifs. Cafe De Paris offers wines by the glass, by the carafe and by the bottle. They carry mostly French wines and one thing I noticed is that they don't really marked up their wine prices too much.

2006 Saumur Chateau de Beauregard -Php1640

2010 Bordeaux Chateau Thomas Laurent

On both occasions that I was here, I ended up staying way past closing time. I found myself chatting and drinking with Christophe, Jean-Louis, the staff and fellow dinners.  Christophe and Jean-Louis being great hosts made sure that we had enough to drink, their love and passion for good food is so evident.

That's Christophe in front and Jean Louis at the back



Every once in a while, you'll find a special restaurant. A restaurant that serves fine and exquisite food that won't cost you an arm and a leg. A restaurant that you can go as you please, be casual as you can be, nothing fancy and still be welcomed warmly. A restaurant that feels like more of a home and you being treated as it's guests. Cafe De Paris is that special restaurant to me, it's a restaurant that I'll surely frequent whenever I want to eat  really well, drink good wine and have good conversations. Bump into me in here and I'll gladly share my bottle of wine with you.

Cafe De Paris
Address: 154-C Forbeswood Heights, Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig City
Tel No.: (02) 403 4149
Facebook Page:

* With a heavy heart, the restaurant is currently closed down until further notice