Monday, January 14, 2008

KATRE

4 out of 5 stars

There are only a few restaurants that come into mind when dining in Tomas Morato area: Uno, Fleur de Lys, A Taste of LA, Zucchini’s or Katre. The rest are just a confusing mix of fast food fads and mid-priced fares serving unspectacular food in gigantic portions.

A good friend of mine, Anya, flew home for a holiday hiatus from her stint in Kent State, Ohio. Since I usually end up recommending where we eat for my friends, I suggested that we (meaning Reia, Anya, Paolo and I) eat in Katre, a Mediterranean fusion restaurant as they call themselves (or Mediterranean fused with Filipino sensibilities, as I personally think so). We were all coming from the north anyway (La Vista, Katipunan, ABS-CBN), so Tomas Morato would be an agreeable compromise.

Katre would be hard to find coming from the Scout’s Circle because it’s hidden by big restos that flank the main road of Tomas. Katre isn’t really in Tomas, you see, though a lot just say it that way in order to make things easier. It’s really found in a small street/ “eskinita” called Dr. Lazcano, that is perpendicular to Tomas Morato road. Nevertheless, its street is near Alfredo's or it's the street right after (if you took the E. Rodriguez road) or before (if you're from Scout's Circle) taking the turn to A Taste of LA (review to come!)

Katre almost looks unrecognizable before its renovation. Before, it was only this one-floor restaurant, with subtly ornate furniture, very cozy and dimly lit. Imagine being in the Orient Express in the early 1900s, and you could imagine being in the old Katre --- including the dimensions! (it was long and narrow)

Fast forward to today, and it’s a refurbished white space, keeping up with the trend of modern minimalism. Yet with the stark white space, it maintains its warmth by having country or native furniture here and there, wooden floorboards as well as flowers and candles strewn on the tables.

This is definitely fine dining, and I absolutely approve of their linen napkins, tablecloths and chilled glasses. None of those avant-garde paper tablecloths, odd-shaped utensils and other surprises. And it’s a wonder how its location several kilometers away from the more busy Ortigas or Makati could do wonders to the price! Expect to shell out on average 300 pesos for a main course….not bad! Don’t think its quality would suffer, though. It rivals any good Makati restaurant, yet without its snootiness. Feel free to let down your hair and dress down to smart casual.

Pao and Anya started with soup, Cream of wild Mushroom and Seafood Bisque respectively. I got a salad of grapes, capers and Kalamata olives in bleu cheese. Pao’s soup was fine, though it was a little bland. Anya’s was very tasty, with added yogurt drizzled on top. My salad was delicious, tossed just the way I like it, where the dressing just coats the leaves and doesn't drown them down. The ingredients were fresh, and there was a generous amount of shaved Parmesan, which I scooped off with Pao's bread that accompanied his soup :) My only complaint was that there was too much oil rather than balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup served with Tortilla Crisp,
Tomato Brunoise, Parmesan and Parsley (180 Php)

brunoise is just a fine cut or dice, making the vegetables almost look like confetti


Seafood Bisque with Crab Meat,
garnished with a dollop of Yogurt and Scallions (195 Php)



Field Green Salad with Grapes, Capers and Kalamata Olives served with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Bleu Cheese (180 PhP)


The main courses were also a sight to behold, looking like edible skyscrapers. My only problem with them was that the plating looked alike, most using caramelized onions, green peas and parsley as garnish, and the same red and green sauces on the side (check out the pictures below). Otherwise, everyone was raving about their food, and we didn't even bother to talk while we were relishing each bite.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Calico Scallops
sauteed in garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, capers and bell peppers (358 PhP)
Calico scallops are small, less expensive and more numerous than bay scallops, and are cooked by steaming and aren't shucked by hand.


Seared Tuna served with Tuna Ceviche and Wasabi-Beets Puree
served with Squid Ink Risotto (315 PhP)
Ceviche is a French dish of usually fish marinaded raw in an acidic liquid, or alcohol, which chemically 'cooks' the fish, much like our local "kilawin." Anya said her tuna was good, perfectly seared on the outside, and tender pink on the inside.


Barbecued Spareribs with Fennel, Cinnamon and
Star Anise Essence, served with garlic rice (290 PhP)
Star anise is a spice that is star-shaped and is licorice-flavored. Pao had this dish, and as much as everyone were praising their dishes to the high heavens, he thought this dish was just "alright." It wasn't as good as he expected (or read off the menu), but he said it was still good enough for him to go back here and try a different dish.


Navarin of Lamb with Couscous Pilaf, flavored with
Bell Peppers and a variety of Morrocan Spices (395 PhP)
Navarin is a French term for a stew of lamb with root vegetables or generally carrots, turnips and onions. The lamb was quite delicious, being fork-tender with the couscous also not being too dry. However, they could improve on the lamb by adding more stew juices, especially since the couscous absorb a lot of sauces beautifully.

All in all, Katre is a wonderful restaurant to go to whether as a first-timer or as a regular. They constantly have new dishes, the service is courteous and prompt, and most of all, the flavor of the food alone will make you want to go back... One thing's for sure, they certainly didn't sacrifice the taste even if their prices are more reasonable than others. And because of this,
Katre makes a good alternative to those restos far away in the Makati traffic.

The menu is quite long, but I just took a picture of mostly entrees.
click to magnify. Menu - Meat and Seafood

click to magnify. Menu - pasta, sandwiches and meats


Katre Restaurant
103 Dr. Lascano St.,
Brgy. Laging Handa
Quezon City
373-4705

Su, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Su, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

*Be sure to reserve before dining.

3 comments:

banonymous said...

congratulations on the blog! hope this gets us free meals to the new restos haha.

Ruy said...

Their foie gras on salad is just lovely.

This restaurant is one of my favorites. Excellent service and consistently good food!

grey eats said...

ruy: that's true! I've been a loyal customer more than 4 years ago, and I'm still raving about it till now :)

banonymous: thanks, haw! :)

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