Patrons of fine gourmet back in the day when Manila had not many choices would remember Lolo Dad’s, an ancestral house in Leon Guinto turned into a restaurant where the discerning food patron would always frequent to get his or her fix of the famous duck confit plates. The restaurant had to move forward with time and it closed down a few years ago. Well, the hipster Poblacion kid welcomed Chef Ariel Manuel to its funky neighbourhood with three-concept punch restaurants. There is a proper tapas bar that serves Filipino-Spanish small plates called the Taperia, then of course Bistro Manuel and for the post-dinner game drinks– The Sippery.
It is actually our first time to try Chef Ariel’s food, but our snooty Titas in our family fondly shared their Lolo Dad’s wonderful dining experience back in the day.
As we traverse the weeknight traffic going towards Makati, Bianca and I were exchanging notes as to which dishes should be on our list to try.
That night that we arrived at Bistro Manuel, we saw Chef Manuel in their open kitchen doing what he does best- making sure that every plate that comes out is to the tipping point of perfection. When introductions were made, he casually discussed each dish that was coming out one by one, there wasn’t any bit of tenure arrogance , nor eh was anyone that we expected- as starry eyed as we were because of all the dedicated past culinary feature articles that we read about him — The Ariel Manuel’s stature in the industry. All our inhibitions were proven wrong! He was kind, warm, and ever so wise!
Lightly poached shrimps are sweet that is swimming in a light seafood bisque.
Double Espresso Soup
Combination of Tomato and Mushroom cream-based soups. Creamy with concentrated flavors of tomato and mushroom served in witty separate espresso cups.
Angel hair pasta, foie gras, oysters, and cheese
On the menu were Lolo Dad’s oysters, which were a favorite back in the day, so we immediately ordered added them to our “Must Try” roster. The oysters were baked on angel hair pasta with cheese and topped with foie gras.
Duck Leg Confit (Crispy duck leg with Mediterranean duck foie gras rice)
Chef Ariel’s crispy duck game is strong on this plate.
Home Fish Platter (Smoke salmon, salmon gravlax, condiments)
Lamb and Lamb with Lamb ( roast lamb rump, stewed lamb breast, and fried lamb sweetbread with sieved potatoes)
A gumbo of components found may be found on this dish, but you know once you have your fill it satisfies in that way only a good protein dish can.
Perfect in technique execution souffle with a crumbled cake on the side.
Declension of Mango and Mascarpone Cheese (Vanilla frozen cream and Dulce de Leche sauce)
This Napoleones dessert with vanilla frozen cream, mascarpone cheese, and dulce de leche.
Looking around the room we see patrons enjoying their time feeling excited and nostalgic with each bite of their meal. Then again, don’t come here just to reminisce about the past. Although the pillar that is Lolo Dad’s was able to set the fabric of expectation for Bistro Manuel, this restaurant is the perfect rebirth and it comes in three; Taperia, The Sippery, and Bistro Manuel.
Should you find yourself craving for proper European cooking, look for that non-descript building along the side streets of Burgos and seek out Chef Manuel’s cozy nook.
Bistro Manuel, Taperia, and The Sippery are all at 2/F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
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