Poblacion is a known hotspot for cool bars and night life. With its easygoing vibe, it’s no wonder Poblacion is the favourite go-to area of millennials and even foreigners who all have a common goal: TO HAVE FUN! What is your definition of FUN? For me it’s all about the excitement or when you are looking forward for something to happen out of the ordinary, just like learning about this fine dining restaurant in the midst of the beautiful chaos that is Poblacion.
Bistro Manuel is owned and operated by Chef Ariel Manuel. He’s known by many especially by the patrons of Lolo Dad’s, but I knew him because of Taperia and The Sippery. With us venturing to a gastronomic experience with Chef Manuel, we didn’t know what was coming but we were sure that it is going to be very sumptuous and exciting. We didn’t need to manage our expectations, because it’s always a transcendent experience with Chef Manuel and that is why let’s now get to it! Prepare your tummy!
It all started with atypical appetizers that made me wish it was like this for every restaurant I visit. But come to think of it, Bistro Manuel is a fine dining restaurant so expect nothing less but sophistication. The Home Fish Platter (Php 580) is an example of what I’m talking about. It’s not every day you get to eat smoked salmon and salmon gravlax with slightly grilled watermelon and other condiments. To add to that is the Bay Crabs (Php 540) that is soft shell crab fritters with crab and cucumber rolls. And last but not least is Lolo Dad’s Cafe Baked Oyster with Foie Gras (Php 230/pc) that is atop the bed of angel hair pasta and parmesan cheese. There’s a subtle quality in every dish and the nuances of flavour and fragrance cannot be described accurately. It’s complex and technical and you’ll just end up saying, “Damn! It’s good!”
What they served next has got to be one of the most amazing creations of Chef Manuel. In all honestly, I don’t order soup when I eat out but this Double Espresso (Php 295) really deserved that spotlight. It’s a combination of Tomato and Mushroom cream base soups that are both in espresso cups. It’s meant to be taken easy like your morning coffee — smooth, aromatic, and mood setter. And before we head on to the mains, we had a tropical and citrusy palate cleanser to wash all the tasty memories of the starters to give room for the game changers.
This Sauteed Shrimps, Mussels, and Scallops Pasta (Php 620) is bathed in truffle butter sauce. When we were trying to decide which pasta to get, there had no arguments needed as soon as we saw the magic work — Truffle. Not many people fancy the mysterious mouthfeel or just the strong-smelling presence of truffle, but many people also agree that it’s more than just a trend and actually is a testament of the success of culinary evolution. There’s just so much story going on about this dish. The seafood in itself is without a doubt an eye-catcher, more so with truffle. Holy freakin’ moly!
While I’m still in the process of getting over that truffle pasta, we got this U.S. Eye of Ribeye Prime Steak (Php 2,200). Rendered fat, truffled mashed potatoes and chilled hollandaise is how the menu described it. I’d say this 300 grams of meat is very tender and rich in flavour and is simply over the top delicious! The serving is good for sharing, but I don’t mind being selfish at times. 🙂
I have so much trust in Chef Manuel to the point that I ate something I refused to eat ever since. I’m not a fan of duck in any form of cooking, but I just can’t let this one pass just because I knew I might regret it later on. This Duck Leg Confit (Php 1,150) is partnered with foie gras rice. I know it isn’t my favourite, but I found myself having seconds. 😉
Lamb and Lamb with Lamb (Php 860) is obviously a lamb party! Roast lamb rump, stewed lamb breast, and fried lamb sweetbread with sieved potatoes. I don’t get to eat lamb that much and that’s why I find this interesting and very intriguing at the same time. In a short amount of time, I tried this meat in different profiles and I’d say it’s worth it!
These White Chocolate Creme Brulee with cranberry compote tart, Tiramisu Souffle with coffee mousse and vanilla ice cream, and Declension of Mango and Mascarpone Cheese with dulce de leche and frozen vanilla are the perfect finale. It was so hard to eat these desserts because I can’t imagine the effort they had to exert to make it that presentable and that it’ll be gone in seconds. Each spoonful is heavenly, incomparable and like no other. Chef Manuel didn’t just master cooking, but also mastered the art of making his customers leave the restaurant beyond satisfied! Also kudos to his team!
Bistro Manuel Six Axis Center 4347 B. Valdez St. Poblacion, Makati Reservation: (02) 871 8566, (0926) 734 1067 FB: https://www.facebook.com/bistromanuelph/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/bistro_manuel/