I have the best dad anyone can ask for. He turned 55 this past friday. He’s the perfect example of age being just a number because he does lots of groovy and hip things like wear yellow pants and dance like Michael Jackson in front of hundreds of people (but that’s a blog entry for a different day). You would never think he’s 50+.
This year our family had two reasons to celebrate – Dad’s Birthday and his 1-year anniversary of being smoke-free. While we usually throw a party on his birthday, this year was a quiet celebration at Aubergine, an upscale restaurant serving French contemporary fare.
When we arrived, there were TONS of security. Turned out P.Noy decided to join us for dinner. NO he wasn’t with any women. Haha. But, he smokes a lot, our President. He stepped out no less than 4 times for a cigarette break. I think he should take “quit smoking” tips from my Dad. Here is my brother checking out the parade of bodyguards as they pass back and forth.
Without the dozens of Presidential bodyguards loitering around the dining area, it is actually quite nice. Trendy, quiet, cozy and intimate. It’s not very spacious so when I say “intimate,” I really mean that you’re close enough to the next table to share their food and listen in on their conversation.
My lovely parents. Notice how close we are to the tables next to us.
Here is my brother, looking very presidential and formal.
Sibling photo. As the photographer, I rarely get to be in the picture, so I have to include this.
You have a clear view of the kitchen, which I liked, it was nice to gaze at the chefs at work.
They have an Ala-Carte Menu & a Degustation Menu (3 appetizers, entrees, cheese plate, dessert.) We all did Ala-Carte, my brother did the Degustation Menu. I shall make the distinction in the reviews. I apologize in advance for the photos, the lightning was far from ideal. Also, as we were there to celebrate more than to review, I didn’t take the time to sample all the dishes served and can’t speak to all of them.
They started us off with a complimentary amuse bouche of lentil panna cotta. Amuse bouche is a bite-sized hors d’œuvre. It was okay. It tasted like bean custard/jello.
They also serve you generous rounds of warm bread, butter and garlic hummus.
Starter (Dad’s) – Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced Parma Ham & Melon Salad – He said that this was quite delicious. Flavors were fresh and clean. Perfect for an appetizer.
Degustation Starter 1 – Foie Gras Terrine – My Brother has never had Foie Gras before so this was interesting to him. This was his favorite among all of his starters. Though he couldn’t quite describe it to me so I will just leave you a picture and let you visually judge it for yourself.
Degustation Starter 2 – Lobster Bisque with Mango Wonton – Very tasty, says my brother. Consistency not too creamy and not watery either. So, just right.
Degustation Starter 3 – Shortrib – Pardon the crude description but I quote my brother verbatim when he says that this tastes like “ribs in smoked hickory barbeque sauce.” He liked this a lot, mainly because he likes BBQ which is sweet and smokey. He said the meat was quite tender.
Dalandan Sorbet – Complimentary – served in a mini teapot with dry ice fog flowing out of its spout. Very yummy. I wish they give you an entire bowl of this. However it’s just meant to cleanse your palette. If you would like to order this for dessert, which my mom did, you can. P60/scoop.
Degustation Main – Lamb – brother devoured this before I could even ask. So I guess that means it’s delicious, if you are a lamb lover.
Ala-Carte – Aubergine Seafood Medley – Website Description: Chilean sea bass, Norwegian salmon, prawn, scallop, New Zealand green lip mussel and lobster tail, served with saffron potatoes and vegetables in bouillabaisse fizz. It’s quite a beautiful plate of food. Mom loved this. It had all different types of seafood with a nice side of salad to go with the richness of some of the flavors. She liked the scallop and shrimp the best.
Ala-Carte – Marriage of Beef & Fish – Description from the website: Grilled Chilean sea bass on spinach-snow pea ragout and oven roasted Australian Mulwarra beef tenderloin in Parma ham on sautéed French beans accompanied by walnut gnocchi, Madeira jus and sauce Dijon. If you can’t tell by this description, this marriage is quite a rich one. There was quite a lot going on here. The steak was quite tender and cooked perfectly. It had some sort of topping which I couldn’t identify very well. But it didn’t do much to add to the dish. I thought it would’ve been nice to have the steak without all of the bling-bling. The Seabass was real yummy though. I liked the sauce that it came with, while it was also rich, it wasn’t that overwhelming. The walnut gnocchi were a nice surprise. I liked the nutty flavor that they brought. While I’m glad I tried it, I would say it’s not an instant favorite.
Ala-Carte – Wagyu Steak – I asked my dad how it was and he said “Okay lang.” I’m not sure what this means. I mean he finished it and said it was good but he seemed a wee bit underwhelmed. I suppose that means our quest to find the best steak in Manila continues.
Degustation – Cheese Plate – For an extra P200, you can get a cheese plate with your degustation menu. My brother doesn’t like cheese but I do so I happily took this option. I love cheese. The stinky ones are the best. Aubergine selected some good ones here which I can’t remember the exact names. Both soft cheese – a brie and a bleu. However, not to sound like a cheese snob I was confused because there was no hard cheese. Cheese plates are usually are a showcase of different types (hard vs. soft, cow milk vs. goat milk vs. sheep milk) and textures (a hard parmesan vs. a crumbly bleu cheese). But all the same, I was happy with their selection.
Degustation Dessert – Chocolate with raspberry – “very decadent” says my brother.
Mango Trio – Okay this is NOT what it is officially called. But this is the dessert that I had and you can easily spot it on the menu. Mango Pannacotta, Mango Spring Roll & Green Mango Sorbet. Panna cotta – nothing spectacular. Mango Spring Roll, very rich and sweet. Rolled in cinammon with a cream cheese-mango filling. I was super full at this point so the cream-cheese was a bit much for me. Green Mango Sorbet = Winner.
Dad’s Complimentary Happy Birthday Dessert – Chocolate Pyramid – it’s a pyramid with chocolate inside. It looks a lot better than it tastes.
Other things to know:
Price – At least P2,000 per person – Appetizers are over P500 and Entrees typically over P1,500. Be prepared to spend especially if you will also indulge in wine.
Service – Spotty at best. They were friendly however not very attentive with clearing the table. Also, a lot of them need to work on their pronunciations. I’m not trying to be elitist, I promise. In any restaurant it doesn’t matter but when you’re paying over P2,000 for your meal it kinda ruins the ambiance when they say “SEHfood Meedley” and “Beep & Pish.” AND they do the thing which I abhor – memorize your order when you are dictating it. I hate when restaurants do this because almost always, they will forget something and/or mess up your order. Please, just write it down. I’m not impressed that you can memorize my food order.
32nd & 5th st. Bonifactio Global City (Above McDonald’s)
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