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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Comfort Food a la Francaise

Ooh la la! Another French restaurant in Makati caught my attention during one of those times that I was in Salcedo Village. It had an inviting homey facade, and so I towed the first few people who were available to try it out with me - my brother and daughter. Both were willing companions for my food samplings especially since for my daughter, we are always in search of alternative providers of her favorite dessert - the chocolate souffle.

La Cuisine Francaise is located at the ground floor of Paseo Parkview Condominiums, which building is just across the Paseo Uno commercial center. Upon entry, we were greeted by a polite staff in a very cozy ambiance filled with flowers and well-set tables. We settled ourselves in one of the tables lined against the wall and the seats were plumped up with French toille pillows. We were instantly served with a small plate of amuse bouche and our glasses filled with water to whet our appetites.

An examination of the menu told us that they are quite proud of their terrines, so we tried the Duck al'Orange which was served with a side of salad. It arrived in a serving that was good enough to be shared between two people together with a basket of hot baguette slices and rolls of creamy butter. The terrine slice (Php245 per) was served thick and taste nothing but of fresh, clean ingredients. This was accompanied by a tangy mustard dijonnaise. On another day, I would take this as a light meal on its own. But I'm here to try and get a taste of everything. So, in the spirit of everything la nourriture confort, my daughter had the Normandy Porkloin with apples (Php475). This is normally served with mashed potatoes but the kitchen was very accommodating when she preferred it with plain rice. While normally, it is quite hard to expect a porkloin to be tender, this one was, oh so almost melt-in-your-mouth, but not quite, so you can enjoy its meatiness. The apple sauce wasn't heavy either and the natural fruitiness just came out to complement the pork. Truly comforting.

My brother, on the other hand, ordered the Roast Chicken Provencal (Php350) which is a quarter of a spring chicken, all perfectly roasted together with the cloves of garlic, served with a gratin of potatoes, and a side of greens clothed in home-made French dressing (what else?). Chicken may be the usual "safe" choice you make when you are in a new restaurant, but the freshness of the ingredients just takes centerstage and you'd suddenly wonder why not take the "safe" choice?

For my part, I was hoping that my Moules Mariniere (Php615) will be that equally simple stew I was expecting. However, I was surprised that it came in a saffron-based broth with a generous sprinkling of minced vegetables. While the mussels stew was indeed flavorful, it was my preference that it be simply braised in the mussel's own broth, white wine, and garlic. I think I prefer Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara's version (at Cuillere, Serendra).

The Chocolate Souffle was another disappointment. It wasn't completely cooked so it came out like a chocolate egg - solid on the outside, but liquidy on the inside. I don't know, but this isn't how I know a souffle should be. So I suppose, for my daughter, the chocolate and vanilla souffles of Zuni (Greenbelt) still reign supreme in Metro Manila.

Nevertheless, La Cuisine Francaise is a place I'd like to come back to, but maybe when I get my bonus. It's homey and welcoming atmosphere, their very attentive waitstaff and well-timed kitchen has its price, of course, but will certainly feed le corps et l'ame.


  1. the beer is expensive for a restaurant like this, but i guess rich people won't mind, even rocio's bunny got drunk above. but i will have the Roast Chicken Provencal anytime!!! we will see how consistent they are in freshness of cooking. we should have wine with this kind of food next time

    for fellow foodies like us, the Salle family, here's the map of the place. red X marks the spot

  2. by the way, follow me too!