I bypassed all my back entries to feature the spectacular meal I had last Monday in a brand new restaurant in Makati called Allium headed by Chef Mark Tan of the former Studio Kitchen in Alabang.
Allium is located in Grand Midori building which has it’s main entrance on Legaspi Street. Allium is located at the back of the building and can be accessed through Bolanos Street. There is street parking along Bolanos and Legaspi streets.
Kudos to their manager, pictured below, who was very knowledgable about the food and the service of her team was excellent.
Chef Mark Tan used to have a restaurant called Studio Kitchen in Alabang. We’re very happy he decided to move to Makati. Chef Mark invited us to try the food while the restaurant is in the soft opening stage. We were quite excited to start eating since the chef was very passionate in telling us about the ingredients he uses which are sourced abroad and locally.
We took at look at the gorgeous kitchen on the 2nd floor. They have a dumbwaiter to bring the food to the ground floor dining area.
Right next to the kitchen in the future Chef’s table which I suspect will be the most popular place to eat since you can watch the chef and his staff prepare the food. Right now it’s being used as an office for the boss, Chef Mark’s mom. The restaurant is a family operation with the chef’s dad doing some of the marketing of fresh seafood from Palawan.
Our table had a single vase with pretty purple flowers which we found out was chive flowers. The restaurant’s name Allium is a plant genus which includes onions, garlics, chives, and leeks.
Since I was first to arrive I was served with my own bowl of warm tiny freshly baked chorizo cheese bread.
This bread is just like Brazilian pao de quiejo which uses cassava flour and has a chewy texture. You can bet I finished all 6 pieces. I just wish there was more Grana Padano cheese used for a slightly saltier flavor.
I don’t eat raw food just because I never liked it. My thinking was why eat it raw when you can eat it cooked? Well all my preconceptions were wiped out with this meal. When you have ultra fresh ingredients raw is the way to go.
My introduction to raw food began with baby steps with this ceviche of dorade fish. It’s not really raw since the fish has cooked in vinegar. What really amazed me was the small sliver of dehydrated Kurobota pork belly that tasted just like lechon kawali skin without the fat. The only thing lacking was about 5 more pieces of pork.
We had a degustacion menu. Most of the dishes are in their regular menu.
I love Chinese oyster cake, fried baby oysters, oyster Rockefeller. You get the trend. These two oysters were number 6 & 7 in the number of raw oysters I’ve eaten in my lifetime. These two babies were imported from Brittany France so I was assured of their quality. I didn’t realize that different oysters had different flavors and textures. I liked the David Hervé on the left which was your typical plump and briny oyster. The Jean Luc Le Gall oyster on the right was chewier much saltier because these oysters were finished in brackish water. My favorite was the touch of fresh wasabi which elevated the freshness of the oysters.
I didn’t even notice the raw fish which was which was delicate with subtle taste from créme fraiche and wasabi. Funny but what stood out was the delicious brioche.
I appreciate a perfectly cooked scallop after having tried some that resemble rubber slippers. The scallop simply seasoned and seared benefitted from a rich and creamy yuzu-uni sabayon. The scallop’s mantle is the edge that’s usually discarded. Chef Mark cooked it to a crisp and it went well with the succulent scallop.
I don’t need to say anything about this fish. Just look at the picture. I assure you it tastes as good as it looks.
Even the veggies got a simple press on the plancha and I liked the charred taste of the fresh baby corn, flattened cauliflower and broccoli. Another group favorite was the sweet piperade made with chopped bell peppers. I pick out bell peppers on pizza but I loved this sauce.
One of my favorite (yes I have a lot) courses was the salmon. The bottom of the fish was barely cooked while the skin of the fish was fried until it was super crispy. I normally don’t eat the skin of the fish but this was fabulous. The fish sat in a light delicate broth made from homard lobster and honkareibushi nage. I wish the broth was tastier but other than that it was perfect.
The veal cheeks was cooked in sous vide and I didn’t need a knife to cut it. Even a spoon will do! The cauliflower was a revelation, as creamy as mashed potatoes but with the unique taste of cauliflowers.
After all those small seafood dishes the main course came out all at once.
I love the way Chef Mark prepared the steak, pork and fish with just salt and pepper. You don’t really need much when your meat is a very good quality. The steak on the right was cooked medium rare while the one on the left was cooked medium for me.
Both were cooked to the right doneness and it’s one of the best steaks I’ve eaten in Manila. The exterior was charred and it has a nice crust while the inside was juicy.
I didn’t get a good picture of the the pork but trust me it had very little fat. I’ve eaten Kurobota pork cooked a number of ways but this was the only one I truly appreciated the flavor of the pork. I finally got why Kurobota pork is so special.
I was too full to appreciate all the sides but what little I tried of each was good.
Our pre-dessert (don’t you love that term?) was Chef Mark’s homage to Chef Michaels Laiskonis’, the executive pastry chef of New York’s Le Bernardin (where Chef Mark had a short stint) creation “The Egg.” We were told to scoop from below to get all layers. The bottom was milk chocolate pots de crème with caramel foam on top. In the middle there was a drizzle of maple caramel syrup and a sprinkling of maldon salt. Needless to say we all loved it.
The main dessert was called mocha parfait, a simple name for a not so simple creation. Milk chocolate mousse made with Valrhona chocolate spiked with espresso and topped with tart créme fraiche. I wish it was dark chocolate but other than that I have no complaints.
My wonderful dining mates were Jin of Jinlovestoeat, Andrea and Sharlene. The best people to eat with are foodies like these ladies. An amazing meal and hilarious conversation, what else can I ask for on a Monday night.
I applaud the chef’s style of producing simple, straightforward dishes with subtle flavors that maximizes the ingredients with seemingly little effort. This is the place that will soon be on everyone’s lips and social media accounts.
The degustacion meal we had wasn’t on the menu but you may request for the exact menu by booking in advance. You can also plan your own menu with Chef Mark Tan. I’ve been telling my friends to try this restaurant. I am definitely going back although I can’t decide what to order. I think it’s a choice between the Wagyyu stripling or Kurobota pork rib. I highly recommend everyone try this restaurant. Now I don’t have to go all the way to Tagaytay to eat really good food.
From their Facebook page here are the directions to the restaurant:
The restaurant entrance is located on Bolanos St. at the rear of the building. Coming from De la Roas St. heading towards Makati Med turn left on Bolanos St and the restaurant will be on your right. We can also be accessed through the main lobby of the Grand Midori on Legaspi Street. Just ask the front desk for directions if entering through the lobby. Our current operating hours are M-F 12pm – 2pm and 6pm – 10pm Sat 6pm – 10pm.
The Grand Midori Condominium
160 Legaspi St. Legaspi Village Makati (front of the building)
telephone: (02) 519-1088, 099-96943068, 0916-3563663