December 15, 2019

Lovely Sunday Fine Dining Lunch at Bistro Manuel - Poblacion, Makati

I don’t see what’s the matter with people who fears or dislike fine dining. Ok, I get the dread of thinking about fine dining etiquette, which spoon or fork to use, etc. But honestly, you shouldn’t care. If you’re there to treat yourself for some great quality food, which everyone of us deserve, really. I mean if you’re working hard for the past couple of years or months, you must give yourself some form of reward, and food is on top of that list. Go all out and drop by that restaurant you’ve been dying to visit. You don’t know what to get, which utensils to use, go ask the server, they’re there to help you out. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with asking, absolutely NOTHING.

Most days, I eat fastfood, convenience store food and the occasional fast-casual. So, it was a breath of fresh air when my friends and I decided to try what Bistro Manuel has to offer. One will be surprised to find this fine dining restaurant in one of the busy streets of Poblacion Makati. When you think Poblacion can’t surprise you anymore, well here it is. You have this connotation that Poblacion is just for partying, more than that it’s a place for gastronomic finds from the meagerest of budget to the extravagant ones.

Bistro Manuel maybe a new name to you, but the people behind it, Chefs Ariel and Mia Manuel are not new to this business as they used to own the well-loved Lolo Dad’s restaurant in Malate. A lot of the patron favorites from Lolo Dad’s menu can be seen at Bistro Manuel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try Lolo Dad’s before it shut down and rebranded. But I know it is famous and one of the best fine ding restaurants in the metro.

Chef Ariel Manuel is best known for his masterful creations at Lolo Dad's Cafe and Lolo Dad's Brasserie, restaurants that had sterling reputations for serving the "most delectable, well plated entrees, with each dessert being a work of art. The good thing is that Chef Ariel opened Bistro Manuel in Poblacion and it’s more accessible to me who’s from the East and someone who works at BGC.

Bistro Manuel can be found on the second floor of Six Axis Center on  B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City (the street is near A.Venue and LubD). Upon the elevator doors opening, you’ll be greeted with a waiting area bearing the huge Bistro Manuel. Inside you will find a huge, relaxing and airy room. It’s no frills, obviously, with just a few classic decorations and paintings hanging on the walls. What I love about it especially during the morning is the natural light brought about by the floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

The restaurant also have an open kitchen where guests can actually watch their dishes being cooked and prepped. You can actually sit on the bar in front of the kitchen if you want to. Also, Chef Manuel told us that the kitchen brought his kitchen equipment from Lolo Dad's to Bistro Manuel which is from what I can remember is already a decade or more old. Bistro Manuel also have a function room that can accommodate up to 20 persons if you prefer a more intimate dining experience.

Bistro Manuel’s menu offers nothing but quality and great tasting dishes. If the ingredients of their dishes aren’t sourced abroad (which is mostly the case) they are from trustworthy suppliers from all over the Philippines. So here are the fabulous ala carte dishes that we got to try:

Freshly Baked Bread and Butter – these are complimentary freshly baked rolls served warm. They tasted great especially with a slob of butter. This alone made me look forward to what is about to come next. 

Amuse Bouche – French lamb’s brie roasted walnuts, tomato marmalade crouton and truffle honey. These Hors d'oeuvre, just like the freshly baked bread stirred up so much excitement in me as they are really good. 

Double Espresso Soup – a combination of tomato and mushroom cream base soups. First off, can I just say how beautiful yet simple the plating of these soups is. I never thought in y life that soup will be served in espresso cups, but seriously this is just genius. You see most times, soups get wasted because people don’t finish them. But these were served in just ample servings that is just enough to fill and warm up our tummies before the mains are served. Also, I am blown away with how much they tasted so good though they just look like simple tomato and mushroom cream soups. 

Romaine Ceasar Salad – something healthy to prep our tummies and this contains crispy Pancetta, 6-minute boiled egg in anchovy, lemon and Parmesan cheese dressing. 

Spinach and Warm Mushroom Salad – this came with smoked bacon and roasted garlic vinaigrette. When most people don’t like eating spinach, I actually love them because of their bitter but flavorful taste. This is also the first time I got to eat a warm salad, because you know most of the times salads tend to be cold. 

Lolo Dad’s Cafe Baked Oysters with Foie Gras – came with angel hair pasta and Parmesan cheese. Chef Manuel actually told us that this is part of the old Lolo Dad’s menu and that patrons from the former restaurants keep asking him for this, so he included it in the Bistro Manuel menu. Which is the best decision ever, if I can say so myself. Man oh man, I have nothing but pure love for these baked oysters. I don’t just only love baked shellfish, but this was just out of this world! The best baked iysters I’ve tried in my entire life! I mean, you can’t get any luxurious than these oysters, with foei gras?! Come on! If that isn’t best thing you hear (or taste), well I don’t know what is! This one is definitely a must try!

Sorbet – compliments of the chef and is the palate cleanser before trying all the main dishes. I think this was a combination of lime and green mango sorbet. It’s also served with dry ice for that cold smoke flair. 

Mild Spice Arabbiata – a tomato base sauce pasta seasoned with basil, garlic and chili flakes. This is one dish that embodies the quote: “don’t judge the book by its cover”. It looks so simple, but my goodness, the flavor of this pasta dish is over the top! I can seriously say, that this is one of my faves. 

Lamb Shawarma Grilled Pizza – one of the charcoal grilled thin crust pizzas at Bistro Manuel that is topped with lamb belly, tomatoes, onion and yogurt chili dip. This is the extravagant lamb shawarma you’ll ever taste in your entire life made into a pizza. 

“Only for the Rich” Pizza – when you think that Bistro Manuel’s Lamb Shawarma charcoal grilled thin crust pizza is extravagant, well then, you’re wrong! Just let me tell you about this pizza called “Only for the Rich”. Why is called as such? Well, this only just contains lobster, foie gras (duck liver), scallops, Prosciutto, smoked salmon with carabao’s milk cheese and truffled tomato sauce. Need I say more? Didn’t think so!

Pan-fried Fillet of Salmon – one of Bistro Manuel’s main dishes with a fresh salmon served with caramelized onion, potatoes and bacon butter sauce. I am in love with salmon and I can live off of it. The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy. It was just heavenly and truly exquisite!

Roasted Duck Breast – Moulard duck breast on compressed potatoes. Well, I don’t really like to eat duck but this dish from Bistro Manuel changed my mind, if I have to eat duck, this will be  the only dish I’ll ask for. That perfect sliver of duck fat on each slice was just divine!

Seared Scallops and Scampi – one of Bistro Manuel’s signature dishes and served with lemon cream filled pasta. I believe this was one of our favorites because this was gone in a jiffy. Just goes to show how good this dish was. 

Lamb and Lamb with Lamb – roasted lamb rump, stewed lamb breast and fried lamb sweetbread with sieved potatoes and mushroom mousse. If you love lamb (like me) you will definitely love this dish. It’s lamb overload and the lamb dish of your dreams!

US Rib-Eye Prime Steak – another of Bistro Manuel’s signature dishes with very high-quality steak meat with rendered fat, truffled mashed potatoes and chilled hollandaise. You can’t get any better than this! My goodness gracious, this steak almost melts in your mouth and was cooked medium rare, just how I liked it and how steaks should be served. I’ve got nothing but love for this steak dish!

Now let's get on with the desserts. No perfect meal is not capped off with great tasting desserts and Bistro Manuel has got some of the most best tasting and exquisite desserts that I've ever eaten in my entire life. These desserts are creations of Chef Ariel's wife Chef Mia Manuel and I have nothing but praises for each! 

Freshly Baked Apple Tart with Rock Salt and Olive Oil Ice Cream – slices of granny apples in crispy Filo dough bread with vanilla sauce and olive oil ice cream 

Lemon Meringue Pie with Chocolate Ice Cream – huge ice cream shaped lemon-flavored meringue with chocolate ice cream on the side 

Baked Cheesecake with Orange in Spiced Syrup – fluffy cheesecake with orange slices in spiced syrup for that extra citrusy flavor

White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Berry Tartlet – the name of the dessert says it all and my goodness how beautifully plated this dessert was that we almost didn’t want to eat and ruin it. 

Tiramisu Souffle with Vanilla Sauce – who can resist a tiramisu and more so a tiramisu souffle? And filled with vanilla sauce? Guess no one right?

Declension of Mango and Mascarpone Cheese with Vanilla Frozen Cream and Dulce de Leche Sauce – – just check out that description and if you are not salivating by now, I don’t know what is wrong with you! Hahahaha! This dessert was easily everyone’s favorite as it was gone in an instant! I mean literally gone in 60 seconds or less!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Ganache Cake - super moist chocolate cake made with Ghirardelli chocolate topped with strawberries. Chef Ariel learned that it was my birthday the day before and treat me with this!

From appetizer to mains to desserts, me and my friends were blown away! Each dish is unique and an arena of flavors in itself. You might spend more than the usual, but I’m telling you, every bite will be all worth every penny! I loved everything that Chef Manuel and his team served us plus their warm welcome and service. Clearly, I liked every dish ved everything, but I gotta pick atleast my top 5 favorites including the desserts. So here are my top five dishes (excluding the desserts and in no particular order): Double Espresso Soup, “Only for the Rich” Pizza, Pan-fried Fillet of Salmon, US Rib-Eye Prime Steak, Lolo Dad’s Cafe Baked Oysters and Mild Spice Arabbiata. For the desserts my faves were, ok I can't decide because I love them all! Hahaha!

Btw, Bistro Manuel is spacious enough to cater to your friends or family gatherings this holiday season. They acccept any kind of events or functions, like birthdays, christening, bridal showers and others. Chef Manuel can curate a special menu for you, your friends/family depending on your budget. I’m sure it’ll be a great party and gastronomic experience at the same time if you hold your special occasions here. It’s also a perfect date spot, you can order ala carte from their menu or try the Degustacion Menu priced at PHP 1800. Surely you and your partner will find it romantic and filling. Maiba naman, mag fine dining get-together naman tayo or kayo! Drop them a call or send a message via their social media for inquiries. I’ve listed their contact avenues down below. 

2F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street,
Poblacion, Makati City
Contact Nos: 02 88718566, 09267341067
0998 3423566.

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Bistro Manuel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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