Wednesday, May 9, 2012


 4.5 out of 5 stars

Never mind that the proprietor chef harnessed experience in far-flung parts of Europe.  Never mind that he knew his focus in life early on, learning primarily from New England Culinary Institute.  Never mind that he works like a perfectionist and expects nothing less from his peers and employees.  What we should mind, it seems, is the stunning food you could come across eating in La Girolle.  And true to its name, quite a lot of mushrooms!

Access to this restaurant makes it unbeknownst to passers-by.  With no sign at eye level or obvious directions,  this restaurant was made to be ostensible only to food-hunters.

The place does not give much of an impression upon entering.  It carries much neutral undertones with unremarkable but well-made furniture in a modest-sized area.  It leaves the kitchen exposed to its customers, with a special chef’s table directly connected to the side of the kitchen.  In hindsight, the spick and span ambiance clearly gave way to the complexity of the food. 

The amuse bouche of soba was really a teaser, marinated in an uncharacteristic but neutral base and topped off with a few sprigs of vegetables.

This was in direct contrast to the sophisticated panache of the Tartare of Australian Lamb Loin.  The meat was luscious and well-seasoned, with hints of olive and rosemary.  Its quality was not masked by the tomato confit, cocktail vegetables and egg that lay on top.  My only misgiving was that the meat was not minced too finely, and I, at one point, ate a substantial portion of the rubbery raw meat.
 Tartare of Australian Lamb Loin
The salad was a breeze of fresh air and warm citrus notes laden with orange, tomatoes and beets.  However, I wanted to taste a little more of that white cheese that lay hidden beneath the bitter salad leaves (purslane).
 Le Girolle Salad

What else it there to say about this next starter but perfection?  Mushrooms, ravioli, foie gras, oxtail jus……  Simply rich, earthy and tasty.
Ravioli of Foie Gras and Oxtail

I wasn't too pleased with the sorbet.  It looked and tasted as if it were a confused ice cream and sorbet all at once, and didn't seem to have that palate-cleansing effect.

Their best-seller, the Braised Lamb Shank, was good and couldn’t have been more French than how it tasted.  It was presented with the lamb jus poured by the attendant in a very careful manner.  The strong ubiquitous taste of aromatic spices infused the tender portions of the meat.  I found it a tad oily, though, and if it were to be so, I’d have much prefer it to be the slightly crunchy portions of my friend’s Confit of Lamb Shoulder.  The latter was truly a magnificent dish.
 Braised Lamb Shank

 Confit of Lamb Shoulder
I didn’t get to try all of the dishes that were ordered, but it would be criminal not to post them as they were truly visual works of art:

Compressed Korubuta Belly of Pork

 Pan Seared Snapper

Never to miss dessert, I opted for the custard-based  Pot de Crème.  It was anticlimactic, as its simple taste did not compare to the complexity of the savory dishes. 
 Pot de Crème

The other desserts, though were a sight for sore eyes, particularly the Caramelized Lemon Tart.  As with the entrees, I cannot leave these pictures out even if I didn’t get to taste or have an opinion of them:

 Caramelized Lemon Tart

Chocolate Truffle Tart

 complimentary truffle chocolate

All in all, La Girolle has great potential to be the go-to in fancy French cuisine.  Though it may break the bank (tasting menu - P3,000+, four courses - P2,000+, three courses - P1,750+; all served with amuse bouche, sorbet, coffee/tea), you see that no effort has been spared in preparing the dishes with passion and precision.  But don’t take my word for it.  Go try and see for yourself!

Menu. Click below to magnify.

2/F, Blue Sapphire Bldg., 2nd Ave cor 30th St.,
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
M, T, W, Th, F: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 7:00 pm - 12:00mn

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