Monday 23 March 2015

Spices: Duck and Buvette

When I read about a French Bistro opening in Shangri-la plaza, I really got excited to try it out. In fact I went there when they were still on their soft opening and I've already dined here twice.


Being a French Bistro, it was not surprising for me to find wine on the menu, I actually expected it. It's typical for restaurants to have option for a glass or a bottle of wine. But in here you can choose to have a carafe or half a bottle of wine if you picked one their house wines.

Chateau les Tuileries - Php1,300 / bottle

I asked for bread and butter but the server told me that I had to pay for it which was disappointing. For an order of 4 slices of Baguette and a bowl of butter, it cost 100php, 50 for the bread and 50 for the butter.

Baguette and Butte - Php100

I got to try two starters, The Gnocchi Escargot and Truffle Roasted Cauliflower. The tube shape gnocchi is roasted with butter, don't expect any snail meat or flavor on the dish. It was named as such because of the shape of the gnocchi. The dumplings were pretty good, nice and chewy. Served with bread, it was perfect to soak in the butter from the dish.

Gnocchi Escargot - Php160

The Truffle Roasted Cauliflower was simple, chopped cauliflower roasted in the oven then drizzled with truffle oil and olive oil. Nothing really to rave or rant about but it's worth mentioning that the cauliflower still had a nice crunch.

Truffle Roasted Cauliflower - Php185

The Goat Cheese Ravioli would have been a hit, the pasta dumpling had a nice springy bite and the goat cheese filling deliciously went well with the roasted fresh baby vegetables. My biggest gripe was the lemon garlic sage sauce, it didn't taste of it. I wished I picked the the tomato based sauce option instead.

Goat Cheese Ravioli - Php320

The Pan Seared Hake with 3 Grains Risotto was pretty good. The sliver of fish was cooked well, skin was crunchy and the flesh was moist and flaky. The red butter sauce on top was nice and velvety. The risotto was also done well, al dente to the bite, flavorful and creamy.

Pan Seared Hake with 3 Grains Risotto - Php460

Now for the house specials, the Slow Braised Beef Burgundy which was stewed in Burgundy wine for six hour was divine. The beef ribs and pork belly has that melt in your mouth feel and texture, the gravy or sauce was tasty and so hearty. Having been cooked for six hours, the alcoholic taste of the wine has evaporated and what's left is the wonderful sweet, aromatic flavors of the red Burgundy. Served with plain rice, this is something I would love to have again.

Slow Braised Beef Burgundy - Php620

Beef Ribs

The D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit is the resto's bestseller. On my first visit they ran out it considering it was relatively early in the evening. Luckily I had the 2nd to the last serving on my 2nd visit. The duck confit looked beautiful and delicious, fried to golden brown perfection, it came with whole grain mustard, reduced balsamic sauce, duck rice and cranberry carrot side.

D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit - Php980

Some parts of the duck had crispy skin while some didn't have any crunch. I just loved how it was cooked this way, I get to enjoy the skin's crispiness as well as the skin's fattiness. The duck meat was to die for, it was so moist, tender and had a full bold flavor. Both the mustard and balsamic sauce went perfectly well with the duck, personally I loved the sweet sour balsamic reduction sauce better. The confit can be pricey but for its size and quality, it is a must order.

Duck Confit

I didn't have any idea of Intelligentsia Coffee when I dined there, it was only after that I found out that this came from Chicago. I picked the El Diablo since it was what the server recommended. On the menu, it stated that it was dark roasted but the pour over coffee didn't taste of it. Flavor was more on the pale to medium roast side. I'm not sure if it was the barista's fault or the coffee beans itself that made it taste this way.

Intelligentsia Coffee Counter

El Diablo Pour Over Coffee - Php160

We also got to try the Black Cat Classic Espresso, it was pretty good compared to other American brands I've tried. But not as aromatic compared to European brand of coffee.

Black Cat Espresso - Php110

To go with our coffee, we ordered an Almond Croissant. If I remember it right they bake their own bread. The croissant was a big joke, not only it didn't look like one, it didn't taste like it too.

Almond Croissant - Php160

Though there were some hiccups, I would love to dine here again. Dishes are prepared and cooked well, the duck confit itself is enough reason to come back. It's one of the best you can find in the metro.

Duck and Buvette
Address: 2nd Floor Main Wing, Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong City
Tel No: 631 0675

Sunday 8 March 2015

Spices: Wildflour

It was sort of an accident that I got to dine here. We only planned to have coffee in Toby's Estate but after seeing Wildflour which was a few steps away, we decided to give it  a try.

The resto carries a great selection of wines, they carry both old world and new world wines. From looking at their display, the wines they have are not run off the mill cheap ones yet it was still so affordable.

Vinas del Vero - Php750

Cotes de Ventoux - Php1,100

Great thing that bread and butter are complimentary. The small baguette is house baked and its one of the best I've tried in the Metro. It was crunchy outside and it had a dense moist center. As our French expats friends said, the baguette here is almost like the ones you can find in France.

Baguette and Butter

We got to try a few of starters, the first of which is the Goat Cheese with Honey. I'm not a big fan of goat's cheese, I find it too gamey and too overpowering for my taste. But this one was so good, eaten with honey, the sweetness took away the gamey-ness. This practically change my view on goat's cheese. The whole dish disappeared minutes after it was placed on our table.

Goat Cheese with Honey - Php330

We ordered two baked dishes. The Cauliflower Gratin and The Chorizo Fondidio. If you like the stretchy gooey texture of cheese, you have to order any of the two or better order both. I liked the Cauliflower Gratin better because of the vegetable's crunchiness but still both were deliciously wonderful.

Cauliflower Gratin - Php160

Chorizo Fundido - Php380

We truly enjoyed the Prawn Salad. The greens and mangoes were fresh and the chunks of plump prawns were perfectly cooked, moist and juicy. I liked the play of sweetness from the mangoes and the sour flavor of the vinaigrette.

Prawn Salad - Php390

I didn't expect the pasta dishes to turn out well. The Squid Ink pasta was perfection, pasta is al dente, the sauce taste of tasty squid ink and the pieces of shellfish, squid and prawns were perfectly cooked.

Squid Ink Pasta - Php450

The Cacio E Pepe was cooked really well and it tasted how it's supposed to be. Again the pasta was al dente, the dish smells of aromatic black pepper and taste of tasty good quality Pecorino and Parmesan cheese.

Cacio e Pepe - Php450

I normally wouldn't order a burger but since our expat French friend was impressed with the breads we had, he wanted to try out the buns of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger. The beef pattie was topped with strips of bacon and crunchy fried onion rings served with a glass of french fries. Though I'd prefer my onions caramelized the beef pattie itself was pretty good, it was juicy and it didn't have much extenders. The bread buns impressed our French friends again, it was had a slight char and it was so soft and fluffy. The fries needs improvement,  it was soggy and I felt that it was under cooked.

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger - Php450

The flavors of the Seabass dish was nice but it needs some fine tuning. It was served on top a luscious buttery mashed potatoes and it had bits of mushroom and sun dried tomatoes. Flavor wise the fish was good, my only complaint is the skin, it didn't have any crunch at all.

Seabass - Php695

Known for the wonderful bread they bake, it was a pleasant surprise that they also serve great tasting dishes. This is one the restaurants that I would go back to again and again. Amazing bread, great tasting food, good selection of wines, casual and cozy ambiance, good service....I'm smitten.

Address: V Corporate Center, 125 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Tel.No.: 8087072
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