Dinner at La Regalade

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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

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The interiors were nice and classy yet comfortable.
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Chris and Ariel

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open kitchen

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bestsellers

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Chef Alain Raye
Chef Alain Rayé

The original branch of La Régalade is in West Vancouver, Canada.
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This was the special menu for the food festival. The choices were very limited but we were quite happy with the selection. So we thought.
la regalade specials
picture from La Régalade’s website 

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.
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moi, Rochelle and Ariel

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Ariel, moi, Db, Rochelle and Warren

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.
Lartizan bread

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: For my appetizer of parmesan tart with tomato topping, the presentation was very inviting and did not disappoint me in terms of taste. It was just right that it came with a bowl of salad because if I were to eat the tomato-cheese tart alone, it would be “nakakasawa or nakakaumay”.  Eating it with the salad with the tart dressing somehow balanced off the dish.

parmesan cheese w/ tomatoes
parmesan cheese tart w/ tomatoes P290

side salad
side salad

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
red snapper w/ hazelnuts & rosemary P650

sauteed fresh vegetables
sauteed fresh vegetable served with the fish

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.
gazpacho
gazpacho P290

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.
red beets salad
La Regalade red beets salad P410

Chris: Then came the main course and I was starting to get worried since my expectation was already going downhill.  The only reason I ordered the veal cheeks was because of the dark chocolate.  I come from a family that loves dark chocolate & I was curious how it would mix with the veal.  When it landed on my table, I wasn’t impressed with the plating because everything was so dark!  As dark as dark chocolate indeed!  I smelled it to see if I could smell dark chocolate but it smelled nothing but stewed beef.  I couldn’t taste a trace or any hint of dark chocolate.  Maybe they forgot to finish it dark chocolate?  In general, the veal just tasted like slow cooked beef stewed in Bovril (thick, salty meat extract).

daube of veal cheeks
daube of veal cheeks P720

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
potatoes au gratin served with the veal cheeks

Rochelle said her cod soup was too salty. It was perfect for dipping bread though.
cod soup w/ chorizo, potatoes & leeks
cod soup w/ chorizo, potatoes & leeks P290

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
escargot en crouton P390

I asked Warren how he liked his avocado salad. He just replied, “It tastes like guacamole.”
avocado, basil, coriander & prosciutto salad
avocado, basil, coriander & prosciutto salad P410

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
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
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 lesson is when a restaurant gives you ‘lemons’ bring it home and make it better. After our dinner at home I think Warren and Rochelle forgave me for suggesting La Régalade.
lamb stew

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.
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THE UGLY
la regalade receipt

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.

La Regalade Manila
820 Arnaiz Avenue Makati City
telephone: 750-2104, 750-2105

4 thoughts on “Dinner at La Regalade

  1. you should have included in your blog that after paying an arm and a leg for simply looking at our food at La Regalade, we decided to go to a restaurant with a NON-MICHELIN CHEF, Chelsea.  Oh the food was much much better! Compare it to the La Regalade food we had, this is a 5 Michelin Award! (if there is such a thing but i guess not… so let’s make it a 5 spoons instead) and 5 doggie bags for La Regalade!!!!

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  2. yeah…5 doggie bags!  And one fell near your dog when we reached your house!  Thanks for the reincarnated leftovers…i will give them a 🙂   🙂   🙂   🙂   🙂  award! it was really good..and we had a fun choco fondue dessert too!

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  3. Dined 3xs in La Regalade & the parmesan sable is 1of the most delicious starters I’ve had in a long time; I”ve had gazpacho in Andalusia but Raye’s, w/ a dab of garlic & coriander cream is by far the MOST toothsome version I’ve had of this cold soup! Loved the escargot w/c I share since its so rich and tasty; & the daube of veal cheeks w/c, as you know, is stew w/ meat tender as a baby’s butt. Dark chocolate blended w/the stew gives it a sumptuous finish. I’ve had similar dishes in Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir & Pierre Gagnaire in Paris similar to Raye’s version..Cicou &Marc Aubry’s Je Suis Gourmand both ok, tho can’t match Raye’s unpretentious comfort French food(w/c is what cuisine bistro’s all about) You must go to Paris & eat in the best bistros there; food there & at La Regalade’s are at par!  Today, 12:55:48 AM – FlagLikeReplyDeleteEditModerate

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