Years ago, a popular donut brand advertised its croissants to the strains of French music to convey authenticity. In the same vein, a popular coffee brand showed a couple sipping their instant coffee in lieu of café au lait with Paris in the background. Then, there was also a time when two French-themed bakeries went head-to-head to stage their version of the French Revolution, armed with baguettes and French bread. You’d think by now a lot of Filipinos would be more familiar with French cuisine but ask the casual foodie what his/her favorite French food is and most likely you’d get a blank stare. Or pray you don’t get “French fries” for an answer.
Well, that must be because we don’t really have French influences in our culture, including our cuisine, much in the same way as our neighbors such as Vietnam and Cambodia have, being French territories in the past. Much of what the casual foodie knows about French food points to either the ‘Filipinized’ taste of French breads and pastries or the gastronomic treats that sound intimidating to the ear and even more so to the pocket. Which is why an invitation to sample French comfort food at Cuillere in Serendra at Bonifacio High Street, came as a refreshing and welcome experience, sans pretensions and intimidation.
Lagal[og] said: We came to have lunch on a stormy day but it was nice to sit down to a warm, homey place while waiting for the rains to taper off. The brasserie is pretty but not showy, not pompously big but spacious enough. The attention to details is exquisite – from the meticulously sponge-painted exterior to the mosaic at the counter, from the un-frilly but elegant chandeliers to the tasteful murals.
Ironwulf said: The sponge-painted crimson exterior and elegant wall lamps make Cuillere Brasserie stand out from the row of restos in Serendra. The lighting is warm and inviting and I was delighted at the details — from the murals to the type of chairs used. The place is spacious enough to seat up to 40 persons. The menu is up for an upgrade but the chalk board lists items not on the menu and the day’s special.
Lagal[og] said: To prime up our taste buds, we had the Salade Maison (House Salad). It was a good start indeed as the salad is a delightful compendium of crisp greens, picture-pretty asparagus, scallops, and prawns with sautéed potatoes and bacon thrown in for texture and flavor. It came with Hollandaise dressing that is light yet just creamy enough to suffuse the greens and other ingredients with flavor.
Ironwulf said: We also had a piece of their Mini Baguette fresh from the oven. The outside was thin and crisp while the inside was soft and really flavorful but not too heavy. The truffle laden on small bits of Portobello Mushroom was another lavish appetizer I enjoyed. I remember finishing up the last morsels on the last piece of bread on the plate.
Lagal[og] said: We couldn’t resist the lure of tasting the Foie Gras Sandwich before having our main course. And while I’m not big on Foie Gras, the sandwich is really, really good. The taste is very clean, not at all “fishy”( for lack of a better adjective). The bread, which like all the breads served here, is decidedly-uncommercial tasting.
Ironwulf said: Admittedly, Foie Gras is an expensive delicacy, I was fortunate to try it before and was astounded at the price of two duck livers amounting to thousands. I have an aversion for innards like liver but I must admit that the Foie Gras was really rich and buttery. When I saw the Le Foi Gras Sandwich and its price tag in Cuillere, I was surprised by the value, especially because it also comes with sweet potato chips and a salad. The footlong sandwich was large enough for four people to share. As expected, the foie gras with raspberry sauce was really smooth and buttery rich. I never thought it could go well with the home-made baguette. Definitely exquisite and worth a try at Cuillere.
Lagal[og] said: We eschewed the more popular steaks for the Beouf Bourguignonne (Burgundy Beef Stew) and were amply rewarded for it. It wasn’t even served yet but the air was already redolent with the appetizing smell of red wine and beef. One bite was all it took to imagine how much time was spent stewing this dish as the wine has evidently seeped into the very tender beef and mushrooms.
Ironwulf said: Since we were eating a lot of meat, I thought I should order fish for a change along with Ratatouille Rice. We got Dory served hot with steam and smoke drifting in the air. Dory is fairly safe as an order but I must confess that I tasted some disappointing renditions. The Dory Papillote was cleanly-baked and the fish meat was creamy soft when chewed with a hint of lemon. You have an option to pair it with Ratatouille Rice which is good in itself. However, I prefer the original Ratatouille as it’s close to that pizza-like flavor which would certainly go well with the light flavor of the Dory.
Lagal[og] said: As the Confit de Canard (Duck Confit) came highly-recommended, we knew we had to have it. The duck bears the flavor of slow cooking, every bite revealing its richness, with crispy skin to boot. Certainly not for the cholesterol-watcher. The duck was served with the Cassoulet (Soft beans with Fresh Pork Sausage and Bacon Strands), which was a delicious and filling meal in itself.
Ironwulf said: It’s ironic that the main dessert of the house, Gateau Moelleux Au Chocolat or simply called the Flourless Chocolate Cake is not on the menu due to a layout/printing error. But make sure to ask for it. The Chocolate Cake is heavenly rich but not devilishly sweet. Along with the Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Strawberry with Chocolate Syrup stylishly laid out on the plate, I’m sure you’ll crave for more.
Lagal[og] said: Along with the Flourless Chocolate Cake, we also had something that wasn’t even on the menu yet – Eclairs. Like the Gateau Moelleux, it wasn’t too sweet which is how I like my dessert. Now, this would be great with a cup of Café au Lait to cap a great meal.
Serendra, Bonifacio High Street,
Bonifacio Global City
Tel. No. 916.7394 • www.cuillere.com.ph