Monday, January 19, 2009


Aubergine 4.8 - 5 stars

I need not describe Aubergine yet again because of my last review on it, which was already quite exhaustive (to read/reread the previous Aubergine entry, click here). Needless to say, in my next visits here (three, to be in fact), it has remained consistent in providing excellent meals and service. Although there may be others who disagree, I prefer to stick to visits I personally experienced (which, fortunately for me, have been all good). Of course, everyone is free to voice out their own opinions, and I would gladly message any replies that would need my response.

I'll only talk of my most recent visit, because this was the only time I brought out a camera, and I still remember the taste quite vividly. In the next resto reviews to come, I may be inaccurate with the details because the restos waiting to be reviewed have been sitting on a backburner due to the heavy load of my "day job." If only I could do this for a living, I'd be in foodie heaven! *wishful thinking* But enough of my rambling, and back to Aubergine.

When my friend, Anna, and I went to the resto on a Saturday night, the place was packed. I forgot to reserve, which is why we got the bar tables near the chef's window. Even if we were on high chairs and tables, we didn't mind since it wasn't so uncomfortable, plus we got an unobstructed view of the kitchen where you can see the ISCAHM people prepare your food in front of you. (see pic to the upper left)

The complimentary bread and creamed butter was the same as before, as they served it with their signature mascarpone cheese and eggplant spread (that looked like pate, but tasted way better). The bread was kind of tough, though.

Our amuse bouche (the chef's gustatory calling card) for that evening was a breaded fried vegetable ball. Even if it sounded strange, your misgivings would be dispelled when you eat that tiny morsel. I wasn't really sure what vegetable it was, but the flavors were so intense, and I loved scooping it up from its bed of diced cucumber with mint and yogurt, dotted with tomato coulis.

The menu has been modified somewhat, and I guess some of the prices have also gone up because they can afford to do so at this time. The favorites have stayed on the menu, starting with the duck confit (760 now 850 PhP), the Wagyu beef tri tip (980 now 1,100 PhP), the Chilean sea bass (980 now 1,100 PhP) and the baked pesto and horseradish encrusted lapu-lapu (660 now 720 PhP). They've replaced the grilled tuna steak nicoise with coriander and ginger flavored tuna steak, the gindara with lobster tail and fried scallops and the over-roasted chicken with US Cornish game hen, to name a few. Since I've tried all of the regulars but the confit, I chose that dish, while my friend Anna picked the US Cornish game hen.

The food took awhile, and the staff were quick to apologize for its lateness due to the heavy crowd of customers. It's a good thing we weren't ravenous, and kept up our heavy banter of conversation since I haven't met up with her since her side trip to France.

We weren't disappointed with the wait, as our food came to with a grand flourish. The presentation took our breath away, and I have always marveled at their intricate presentation. Anna's US Cornish game hen two ways (690 PhP) is an oven roasted leg stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras and grilled breast served on sauteed spinach, rosemary flavored potato gratin and Grand Marnier jus. I didn't get to taste her chicken, though she was raving about its flavor, being cooked two different ways. I did get to try her gratin, which was flavored in rosemary, and gave that wonderful je ne sais quoi, the delicate aftertaste of the herb lingering in the back of your tongue past the cream, cheese and potatoes. It went well with everything, even dipped in froth and the Grand Marnier jus, blending acid and starch in a merry mix of savory flavors.
US Cornish game hen two ways (690 PhP)

My French Duck Confit (850 PhP) was served with creamed brussel sprouts and parsley marbled potatoes. Confit is a cooking method that renders the duck in its own fat (considering that duck is pretty fatty anyways), and they cooked the duck to perfection. The skin was even and crispy, and the meat was so succulent, that I couldn't stop eating. The food even made me stop talking, which is quite a feat for a chatterbox like me. I also loved the brussel sprouts, and how it didn't taste bitter as I normally expect it to be....but hey, it was creamed, so you can mask a lot of unwanted flavors that way, I guess. However, I found the potatoes too sparse, as well as the duck's own jus, with the cream overpowering the rest of the flavors. They also seem to decorate most of their dishes with the same technique to the foam, which may be novel in some but not all the dishes.
French Duck Confit (850 PhP)

Even with that critique, I loved my food, and it won't stop me from going back here again when they have a menu overhaul. The service was top-notch, and I was even embarrassed that Chef Schallenberg asked on how our food was during two "extenuating" circumstances --- one, I was mid-conversation with a client on the phone, and the next I was chewing on a mouthful of duck! I had to garble out a "delicious" and really, it wasn't just lip service.
complimentary pralines

click to magnify MENU. Degustacion to the right.

beside HSBC, across S&R
32nd and 5th Building
5th Avenue cor. 32nd Street
Fort Bonifacio 1634 Taguig
(02) 856-9888
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

*Be sure to reserve before dining.


TM™ said...

yes to 4.8 - 5 stars and not just because chef meg used to cook here. not a fan of game though. yes to foie on roasted pakwan.

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