Tuesday, October 20, 2009


4.5 out of 5 stars

I may be a bit rusty with my descriptions, but I'll give it my best with this restaurant that I've visited again quite recently after the Bar. La Regalade is located in Pasay Road, home of several well-established restaurants such as Milky Way or Nihonbashitei. But it also has relatively new restaurants like Azuthai and fellow French eateries La Cabane or Cicou. Certainly, this strip of road will never die out of places to eat when restaurant ideas fizzle out of your head. And gratefully, La Regalade is also open on Sundays, where most other fine dining restaurants remain closed for weekly cleanings or days-off. It gives families with busy work schedules options for other places apart from mall or chain restaurants.

There is nothing too striking with the ambiance of the place, compared to the cozier feel of Cuillere or cool modern spaces of La Cabane. But it has made its mark by gracing us with a menu created by Chef Raye, a two-star Michelin chef. The food is rich and hearty, far from the frilly and overtly fancy French dishes that one expects. Yet, in as much as people have reviewed their portions to be hearty, my friends and family say otherwise. But hey, maybe French food in general have small servings...and this may probably be why "French women don't get fat" as quoted from M. Guiliano's title.

La Regalade has finally given out its own menus, apart from the last time I visited where its offerings were posted solely on chalkboards and chalkboard pillars. Yet, the chalboard remains for daily offerings that change with seasonal ingredients as well as transitory dishes.
warm, crusty bread

One of the dishes I ordered on my first visit was the Salad Foie Gras (490 PhP), which was actually a simple but clean-tasting salad of mangoes, nuts and mixed lettuce on vinaigrette. Unfortunately, they don't serve it now, but for that pan-seared foie gras craving fix, you can actually order it on its own by request, since the one on the menu is terrine accompanied by country bread and house salad (that does not serve people like us who aren't fond of terrine well). Their pan-seared version is accompanied by cooked mangoes with a balsamic reduction. Even with the fruit, it was so rich that I asked for lettuce to munch it with. They were quite agreeable about it and gave us some salad lettuce with a mild dressing that made the starter all the more delicious.
Salad Foie Gras (490 PhP)

Along with the salad, I remember ordering the Duck Leg Confit (980 PhP) and Lamb Navarin (865 PhP) as main of our first visit. It's been so long ago, but I do remember enjoying the duck, and a tad less for its Lyonnaise potato siding since its lard-y taste was overpowering. However, I can't help but compare it to the confit of Aubergine, which has consistently had a crispier skin and juicer meat the three times I've ordered it.
Duck Leg Confit (980 PhP)

Indeed, the star of that meal was the Lamb Navarin, where the sauce was light and flavorful, and the meat firm enough to hold its shape, but practically melted in your mouth. Even the vegetables absorbed the rich flavor the sauce, and was a treat to eat. This traditional lamb stew tasted almost like caldereta, but a richer one, with hints of wine and rosemary.
Lamb Navarin (865 PhP)

At another instance, we got three orders as starters: the Escargots en crouton (290 PhP), Assiete de fromage (400 PhP), and Pan seared foie gras (by request). My parents loved the escargot on tomato confit, with herbed butter sauce and served with sourdough crouton. They said it was tasted better than the order that they got in Lemuria. The cheese platter was also simply presented with a side salad with radish sticks and some walnuts. The cheeses were goat cheese (the white balls), bleu cheese (the triangular spotted ones) and brie (the clear and rectangular cheese). We liked the goat cheese the most, since it was so fresh and creamy without any sour aftertaste.
Assiete de fromage (400 PhP)

Foie Gras de Canard Poelé (Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras)

For main, we got four pieces of Piece de Boeuf, sauce a vin rouge (steak, 6 oz. at 1050 PhP), Grosses Crevettes aux Poires et Oignons (Roasted Prawns with Pears and Onions, 870 PhP) and Boeuf Bourguignon (solo at 400 PhP) with a side of couscous (100 PhP). I find it amusing how my family always gets steak in whatever restaurant we go to, even if it’s not a steakhouse, and this is no exception. The rib-eye was served with a bed of roasted garlic and onions and a small tower of French fries. The steak was succulent, and though it had big chunks of fat, the family says it tasted a lot like Elbert’s. High praise indeed, for steak amounting to less than a third of Elbert’s price. The steak was very meaty but could be sliced easily with a butter knife, the flavor also coming from its high marbling of yummy fat. It still tasted good even without the sauce, and the family actually preferred it without, choosing the peppercorn sauce from time to time when it arrived.
Piece de Boeuf, sauce a vin rouge (steak, 6 oz. at 1050 PhP)

Dad said the prawns were just okay, and we all laughed when he said that manang could whip up something like that. Of course, he was just kidding. The Beef Bourguignon was also just okay, especially compared to the Lamb Navarin which was also a stew that tasted much better. Considering that they simmered the beef for several hours in wine, it was still kind of tough, and the sauce was lacking but overpowering. Good thing there was couscous, and it was very good to scoop up the sauce which also counterbalanced its strong flavor.
Grosses Crevettes aux Poires et Oignons (Roasted Prawns with Pears and Onions, 870 PhP)

Boeuf Bourguignon (solo at 400 PhP)

I forgot to take pictures of the desserts, but we did order the Puit d’Amour (Baked meringue, 220 PhP), Ile Flotante (soft poached meringue on crème anglaise, 180 PhP) and the La Tarte au Chocolat Tiede (warm chocolate tart, 250 PhP). They were all good, but we liked the tart the most, and the baked meringue the least. The latter was served with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. We though this would be the best dessert, but when it came, there was just too much hard meringue for the chocolate syrup frozen on a small portion on the center of the plate. Could say the same for the ice cream stuffed inside the meringue. The Ile Flotante was good, the soft meringue being topped with crystallized caramel and almonds. It tasted like a fancy brazo de mercedes, and I liked it because it wasn’t too sweet unlike the previous dessert. Finally, the icing on the cake was the warm cocolate tart. It was actually molten chocolate cake served on a hard chocolate cookie crust. It was warm, gooey and perfect to top off our French food feast.
Ile Flotante (180 PhP)
picture care of allanko.net

All in all, the dining experience was great and fun; not mind-blowing, but very pleasant. The staff was very attentive, though may not know all of the menu; some of the food were just average, but the remarkable dishes of escargot, steak and chocolate tart more than made up for it; the portions were not as big as expected, but the food is truly warm and hearty comfort food. This is a place where one would be excited to take a date to, bring an intimate group to celebrate some event, or take the family to have those fancy Sunday dinners.

Menu. click below to magnify.

French Bistro, Makati
820 Arnaiz Ave.
Makati City, Metro Manila
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th: 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Su, Sa: 12:00 mn - 1:00 am
F, Sa: 6:30 pm - 12:00 mn


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