I’m jumping over a month’s worth of restaurant reviews and fast forwarding to last Friday’s (4/9/2010) dinner. It’s important for me to get this review out as soon as possible. I need to share our experience so others will be informed on what to expect at La Régalade.
It was Rochelle’s birthday and her beloved hubby, Warren asked me for suggestions on where we can eat. I recently read an article on the Philippine Star about Michelin two-star chef Rayé having a two week food festival at La Régalade Manila. I thought this was our chance to try food cooked by such a renowned chef. So I suggested we have dinner at La Régalade.
The original branch of La Régalade is in West Vancouver, Canada.
We were all smiling before dinner. Ariel was in Manila for very sad circumstances. We invited him to dinner to cheer him up a bit. In the end it was all of us who went home sad and disgruntled. Wait I’m getting ahead of the story.
moi, Rochelle and Ariel
Dinner was off to a good start. We were served warm, crusty bread that was delicious. I later learned the bread came from Lartizan. No wonder it was so good. We kept asking for more bread and it took so long to get a refill.
I will let my friends tell you about what they ate. I have two guest writers for this post, Db and Chris. We will start with THE GOOD (enough).
Db or Debbie (her real name) had the parmesan cheese tart w/ tomatoes for her appetizer and the red snapper for her main course.
Db: As for the pan-seared red snapper, the fish was okay. I didn’t taste/smell much of the lemon zest, hazelnut and rosemary. I could smell the mixture of herbs and spices, but I didnt really smell the lemon and rosemary. One thing though, the fish was cooked just right, it wasn’t dry and it wasn’t too flaky. And the serving was generous. I always thought that French food followed the “minimalist” principle, but the servings last night were big. (note: Ariel had the fish too)
red snapper w/ hazelnuts & rosemary P650
THE BAD (it’s downhill from this point on)
Chris had the gazpacho, red beets salad and veal cheeks.
Chris: The bread made me expect that i will have an exciting dinner. I wanted to be adventurous so i tried out their Gazpacho soup. The waiter called my attention that it was a cold soup. I normally want my soup hot but since it was summer, I thought it would be a refreshing treat. When I tasted it, it was like eating pureed salsa dip. If I had brought my fave Tostitos Chips with a hint of lime, i would have used it as a dip. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular either. But given the soup that my companions ordered, I felt so lucky.
Chris: Since I am very fond of red beets, I ordered La Regalade Red Beets salad. But it was a disappointment. The waiter should have “warned” me that the salad would be slightly warm. The beets were boiled but I thought they would chill it before tossing in the dressing. It was boiled and a bit soft and it tasted like soil. I didn’t know whether I should add salt or pepper or what but since it costs P410 I forced myself to finish it.
La Regalade red beets salad P410
I tried the potatoes and they were good. It was the only thing really good we ate aside from the bread. But then how could anyone mess up potatoes cooked in cream and cheese?
potatoes au gratin served with the veal cheeks
Poor Rochelle. First her soup was too salty, next her escargot didn’t have any flavor. She had to add lots of salt and still wasn’t satisfied. We took it home and added Knorr seasoning and it became good.
escargot en crouton P390
Warren and I had the extreme misfortune of ordering the crab bisque and lamb chops. I loved the prawn bisque at Restaurant Cicou so I thought the crab bisque would be as thick, creamy and full flavored. Instead I got lukewarm, thin, light crab scented water. I’m not kidding! I know that to make a seafood bisque you need to make a stock from crab or prawn shells and let it simmer a long time for the flavor to build up.
With this soup it tasted like they made the stock in five minutes. I told the waiter that my soup wasn’t hot and it tasted bad. They replaced it with another lukewarm soup that tasted exactly the same. That meant the soup was made in advance and probably sitting in a large pot waiting to be served to the poor, unsuspecting guest. Warren and I returned the soup. The manager came and I explained that the taste was horrible. She was nice enough to listen to my explanation and asked if I wanted something else. I declined since I was scared to try anything else.
crab bisque w/ roasted pistachios P290
The braised lamb chops was a very generous serving. It was my first time to try lamb chops that weren’t grilled, baked or pan fried. The lamb chop I tried was very tender but the sauce tasted like very strong wine that wasn’t allowed to evaporate. That’s all I tasted. It badly lacked flavor and body. It was just sour. Warren, Rochelle and I had our lamb wrapped up after one taste. We couldn’t bear to eat it. I suggested I fix it at home and we’ll have it for dinner the next evening.
lamb chops w/ potatoes, onions & fresh thyme P890
The 3 orders of braised lamb chops filled up my entire pot. I added lots of seasoning and thickened the sauce a bit and added some sliced olives. We all loved it. It was really good. Rochelle and Chris ate it with lots of rice. It fed 4 adults with some leftovers. The servings were indeed generous.
The ladies room was a beautiful place for me to sit down and cry in shame for suggesting the place for Rochelle’s birthday and for Warren to pay the big bill for food we barely touched and didn’t enjoy. I really wanted to do that. It’s a good thing I have nice friends who didn’t blame me.
I hope anyone planning to try the food festival by Michelin two-star chef Rayé at La Régalade will read this first and hopefully they will have a better experience than us. I don’t know if their regular menu is better but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to try it. For much better French food try my favorite Aubergine. We went to Chelsea in Serendra for more food and dessert since we were not satisfied with what we ate or didn’t eat.
820 Arnaiz Avenue Makati City
telephone: 750-2104, 750-2105