ATELIER VIVANDA - TWO-STAR MICHELIN CHEF MAKES CULINARY DEBUT ON PHILIPPINE SHORES

Published at Rouge. Photos by Patrick Diokno 

Rogue‘s sneak peek of Chef Akrame Benallal’s new Manila restaurant reveals a Michelin-worthy menu

 

A slab of meat, properly rested, crusted by salt and fire. A glass of bold red – French, of course. And pommes, glorious pommes.

This is the center of Atelier Vivanda’s universe.

It is the latest big restaurant opening in the BGC area, and it’s looking like a future hit already.

The wizard behind the curtain is Frenchman Akrame Benallal, he of the two Michelin stars. That’s a pretty big deal – and the first chef of his caliber to set up shop in our corner of the world. In this food crazy city of ours, you know that people will come on the merit of that alone.

His menu is deceivingly simple, yet nuanced enough to make it interesting for even the most jaded of diners. But to be fair about it, his crew have the chops to please just about anyone. Often, simple is better.

A soft-boiled egg dish, something chef Akrame insisted on serving because he noticed Pinoys love ordering anything with an egg, is topped with beautifully plated mushrooms, mayo and cottage cheese.

Potato soup is given some oomph with smoked haddock and Comté cheese – both of which ultimately give balance to this hearty starter.

A lobe of foie gras is kissed by some vanilla bean celery coulis, and small bits of candied kumquat to give the richness a sweet and sour chaser of flavor.

All these starters are just the opening chapter, with the mains the star attraction of the whole experience. Steak is the order of the day, of course, salted aggressively and made to order.

Ribeye is good and solid – like the good ol’ boy whom locals all know and love.

Even better, and not something you usually see in these parts, is the seared duck breast, rare, and juicy, and so satisfying.

For a little extra, you can go nuts and order a massive Holstein beef slab for two.

Wrapping up the savory parts are potatoes of all sorts, available in unlimited quantities. Yup, as much as you can eat of that creamy gratin, or the heavenly pommes dauphinois. Not eating carbs? Suck it, man. You’re going to want this.

Desserts aren’t bad – the standout being a chestnut cream and yogurt combination that brings you in for a soft landing.

Atelier Vivanda is the kind of restaurant that you know will do quite well. It is familiar and yet still exciting. It is contemporary, and yet rooted in classics. It is delicious and will be the home of many good meals to come.

Atelier Vivanda is located at U-A8 Forbes Town Center, Forbes Town Road, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Call +632 8482632.



Weekend musings

If you're looking for an indulgence today, you may want to venture to @lepetitsouffleph in @centurymallph and taste this crazy roasted bone marrow with steak tartare. NUTS!

Roasted bone marrow with steak tartare.

Roasted bone marrow with steak tartare.

If that isn't enough, you many finish with this #Echire butter mille feuille.


Rather snazzy, @tuantuanmanila . Welcome to the BGC 'hood😁 Classy stuff

This great turnip cake with XO sauce from @tuantuanmanila at @smaurapremier   😍   Classic stuff!

This great turnip cake with XO sauce from @tuantuanmanila at @smaurapremier 😍 Classic stuff!

Earth Kitchen BGC

Today I checked out the new kid on the block, #EarthKitchen. It's one of the best looking restaurants I've seen in awhile, and man, their food is pretty good -- using locally sourced and organic ingredients if possible. A welcome addition to BGC! Can't wait to go back!

A simple (and beautiful!) salad of watermelon, arugula, kesong puti, edible flowers and pili nuts dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.

A simple (and beautiful!) salad of watermelon, arugula, kesong puti, edible flowers and pili nuts dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.

Hey, they got meat at   #EarthKitchen   too! This one took all of us by surprise at how tender and yummy it was: braised bacon, red cabbage and baby potatoes. Well done, guys!

Hey, they got meat at #EarthKitchen too! This one took all of us by surprise at how tender and yummy it was: braised bacon, red cabbage and baby potatoes. Well done, guys!

I don't know what it is about these beef rib kebabs (served with tzatziki and Ifugao rice pilaf) - but it also won us over!

I don't know what it is about these beef rib kebabs (served with tzatziki and Ifugao rice pilaf) - but it also won us over!

Ooma

A bowl of uni udon from #Ooma - udon noodles, uni, uni cream, mushrooms, nori and scallions. Carbonara lovers are gonna dig this!

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One of my favorites from last night at #Ooma - a corn and oyster fritter, which you dip in kimchi mayo and nori salt. Fun stuff - I kept on reaching for these!

Welcoming the Age of #Ooma with these nutty peeps.😜 Congratulations, #MomentGroup and #BruceRicketts - looks like you're certainly going to shake things up around these parts! Oishi!

Kafe Batwan

SHETKAAYLABYU!!!😜🙌 Congratulations, #SarsaGroup! #KafeBatwan is another winner! It's a great space and the food is innovative yet still somewhat familiar! The local cafe scene just got a boost, global Filipino style!😁

New. Rockwell. Born of the almighty #Sarsa - so you know what you're in for. When fully open, drop it all and CHECK IT!!!

What to expect - twists and turns - and an attempt to create a global Filipino cafe! Here's some new style palabok - with a firmer noodle, sautéed baby squid, chicharon, a slow cooked egg and crablets. One of many cool new dishes!

Do yourself a favor - order this, their ignored masterpiece: sautéed shrimp in "mixed bean sauce" (basically mongo and mashed red beans with a hint of chocolate) and sambal beans. This is pretty damn amazing, and a show of depth in JP Anglo's cooking arsenal.

Spinach salad with grilled tomatoes, crablets and mango salted egg dressing. Oh yesssss!!!

Sizzling budbod (a from of kakanin) with ube butter and coconut pandan coffee cream. Something light to round things off. 😜