Thursday, May 15, 2008

PURPLE FEET

4 out of 5 stars

My friend, Anna, texted me a year ago, enthused to tell me about this new restaurant, and that for once she's the one giving me the "new resto" scoop. She just mentioned it as a resto in Wine Depot. There are three Wine Depots in the Metro, namely Ortigas, Makati and Alabang. Since I lived in QC, I naturally thought Ortigas, and shrugged her suggestion off, thinking it was probably some random resto in Metrowalk that I wouldn't bother writing about.

I guess I was wrong to assume too quickly and throw her suggestion out the door. 3 months later [this February] (Pao, I'm not lying because I checked the DATES on the pictures and my phone ;P), my foodie friend, Pach, texted me about several of his resto finds. One of them was Purple Feet. Verbatim, "Anyway, the resto is in wine depot in Reposo St. It's exactly where Pravda used to be. It's good for about 30 people lang siguro. Their specialty is nothing and everything. The entire menu is written on a blackboard. You have your different types of seafood, chicken, pork, and US beef as expected, but the catch is, it doesn't say how it's cooked. Why? It's cause you tell them how you want it cooked! They have a chef that specializes in Indian food, one for Japanese, one for Chinese and another for God knows what :) So your choices are endless. Have 'em cook sinigang na tempura curry if you want, but if you're undecided, you can have them suggest. That's what I did. I had a stuffed squid with bacon and cheese covered with bechamel sauce." With a text like that, reiterating the same restaurant, my curiosity was naturally piqued.

A few days later after Pach's text, foodie Pao and I drove to Makati for dinner (Yes, this resto is 3 mos. pending). As can be seen on the left picture, you wouldn't really notice Purple Feet because there's no sign on the outside --- just the wine depot logo. And when you enter the place, it still looks like a wine depot, only that the back portion was reconstructed to fit a restaurant. I have mentioned before that some restos are smart to build themselves around a deli (terry's, bianca's, etc.). In the same manner, Purple Feet is also smart enough to partner with a winery. That way, wine enthusiasts will be thrilled with the excellent pairings.

Pach's text is Purple Feet in a nutshell. And as reviewed by Anton and Sakai, it uses the unconventional method of freestyle cooking. So far, it is the only restaurant in the city I know that does this. But it wasn't the first. Both bloggers have mentioned Chef Henry Canoy's restaurant in Boni Avenue that used to do the same thing. And I myself remember that resto, called "Henry's" quite fondly. I even brought several of my foodie friends there, being one of the first innovative restaurants of its time to use freestyle when the rest of the city hasn't even heard of the term "fusion"! That was around 8 years ago, but I still remember my favorite appetizer as if it were yesterday! It's these cheese sticks wrapped in nori seaweed then tempura battered. It had 2 sauces drizzled on top --- noni juice and pesto. Apart from that, I remember that that was the first time that I ever tasted ostrich, cooking it by "chef's creation,” and of course, adding a small premium to such freestyle technique. But I’m rambling, and this isn’t even about Purple Feet. Moving on…

As was mentioned, the place can only sit around 30 people or less. The menus are written on chalkboards, much like “Henry’s.” (see first picture above) But unlike ordinary menus, only the kinds of meats and seafood are written down, as well as the wine pairings, salads, appetizers and desserts. They also list the bottles of red and white by the glass in stock. Still, all written on the chalkboards by the wall, of course. You have your normal scallops, prawns, lamb or pork, to a little more daring meat like ostrich and rabbit.

Chef Dennis by the White Wine Menu

We started with Croquettas (185 PhP). It was 4 huge pieces of croquettes stuffed with potatoes, sausages, mushroom, bacon and cheese. To make it even more decadent, they serve it with cheese sauce, and garnish it with fried basil. The mushrooms were probably portabello, because it had that distinctive smoky and meaty taste. Anything with that AND cheese is a winner in our books, so we devoured this in less than 5 minutes easy.
Croquettas

I also got a house red to match my ostrich, while Pao got iced tea. Apparently, their iced tea AND water come bottled and imported, so I would rather pay for wine and iced tea rather than water which costs even more than some of the cheaper house wines.

Our chef that guided us through what to order was named Dennis Dennison (I’m not so sure about the spelling). When I asked him why Chef Mark Legasto chose the name “Purple Feet,” he said that that was the result of people manually foot treading vats of grapes in the past to make into wine --- purple feet! Going to our orders, Anton’s blog recommends that artists work best if you give them an end result rather than specify the nitty gritty details (i.e. feed me, I’m hungry….I want my food to be exotic….Surprise me!). However, the opposite worked best with us. For example, Pao followed Anton’s advice (without reading his article). He just mentioned Cobbler (400+, probably around 700) and wanted it “Mediterranean.” I, on the other hand, went into a deep conversation with him on my dish:
“I’m getting ostrich.” (400+, probably around 900)
“Yes, ma’am. How would you like it?”
“I don’t know….what do you think is the best cuisine to fit ostrich in?”
“How about Western?”
“Okay…..and that would mean?”
“Mashed potatoes…”
“Huh? That’s it?” Then I went into this long explanation on how much I wouldn't mind paying a lot if only they were quality ingredients. I was implying that it must be more than just turkey . I mean, I was here already, so I might as well go all out.
“Fine, ma’am. We can put in truffled mashed potatoes….”
I started nodding my head. Anything with truffle oil is always good. “Not bad....but just that?”
“How about we add a foie gras dip?”
“Sold!!”

I probably would have gotten less if I didn’t prod Dennis. Of course, it would probably cost less, but then since you’re there already, you might as well go all out!

Point being, when the dishes got to us, Pao’s cobbler didn’t taste as good, considering that he gave them such a free hand with his Mediterranean dish. It was Mediterranean, all right, with the flavors of olives, capers and peppers standing out of the tomato-based dish. But its flavor didn’t really know where to travel. The cobbler was poached, and had an almost bland taste. Adding tomatoes helped it somewhat, but when you put it on top of risotto, which is equally bland, it leaves you with nothing much for the risotto to soak up. Pao’s cobbler was big, and yet, its presentation was a little messy, as can be seen from the picture. Actually, the only reason why I rated this 4 out of 5 stars was because Pao didn’t like his dish. And in the other blogs I’ve read, they’ve also had their own share of hits and misses.
Mediterranean Cobbler

Good thing my ostrich was a hit (rather than a miss)!!! It was grilled to perfection, the meat very tender in pink in the middle. Since ostrich is very meaty (after all, they grow to be such big animals), it tasted rather like a good piece of steak, with less of the fat (being poultry). It was paired with foie gras dip and mint jelly. It didn’t have that aftertaste associated with lamb, so I didn’t use the mint jelly at all. However, I licked the foie gras dip clean, and was happily eating my mashed potatoes laced with truffle oil. The dish was so good that I told my friends about it. One of them made me text this dish, and got a replica of the same ostrich dish. It goes without saying that she enjoyed it, too.
Grilled Ostrich with Foie Gras Dip and Truffled Mashed Potatoes

To cap off our meal, we got the Molten Chocolate (220 PhP). Yes, we’re suckers for lava cakes. We can’t help it. And this one was just as good as the best of them. It was drizzled with a raspberry and chocolate syrup, and garnished with a chocolate-dipped strawberry. What a great way to end our gastronomic night!
Molten Chocolate

Menu. Red by the glass.
(White by the glass menu is in the picture above with Chef Dennis)
















217 Nicanor Garcia (formerly Reposo) Bel-Air,
Makati City
8973220/8978167
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Closes 10 pm; Monday to Saturdays

**No need to reserve unless you have much company.

4 comments:

whiffandasip said...

Both my friend and I had one hit and a miss each with Purple Feet so it's still up there on our 'we can re-visit' list. Great thing about Purple Feet is the wine at wine depot prices!!! I hate paying for wine with huge mark-ups!

Sakai said...

"It's these cheese sticks wrapped in nori seaweed then tempura battered. It had 2 sauces drizzled on top --- noni juice and pesto. Apart from that, I remember that that was the first time that I ever tasted ostrich, cooking it by "chef's creation,” "
my sentiments exactly....:)

graey eats said...

whiffandasip: A lot of people have mentioned that (getting good and bad dishes). but I will post on a revisit soon :)

sakai: :)

banonymous said...

mukhang kaning-baboy yung mediterranean cobbler haha

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