Sichuan (also called Szechuan) cuisine, which originates from Chinese province of the same name, is known for its bold flavors, resulting from the variety of seasonings and cooking methods used.
Newly opened restaurant Fantaste brings a taste of Sichuan into the heart of Makati City. Along with a selected group of bloggers and foodies (as well as my daughter, #ExhibitA), I was able to attend its Grand Opening and sample its many food offerings.
The restaurant’s mascot is reminiscent of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda, chosen because, according to the wait staff, the panda symbolizes friendship, unity and world peace.
Fantaste’s claim to fame is its rice bowls. These dishes are individually cooked in their own clay pot bowl, topped with hearty servings of viands, accompanied by steamed bok choi and half a salted egg, then doused with a secret sauce upon serving. Its heated clay pot container maintains the rice bowls’ heat during the entire meal, even giving the bottom grains a slightly toasted crunch and flavor.
Given a choice of which among its twelve rice bowl choices to sample, I opted for the Chicken and Mushroom (Php260) while my daughter got intrigued with the mysteriously titled The Best of Fantaste (Php220). To be honest, I think I had the better choice, my bowl having a better mixture of tastes and textures.
I overheard from my seatmates (and seconded by my daughter who is more well-traveled than I) that the dishes feature the taste of mainland China’s provinces, rather than the taste we normally associate with Hong Kong which is more familiar to the Filipino palette. We all welcome the variety that these bring to our dining experience, although some would be an acquired taste: the Red Jujube and White Fungus Soup (Php120) for example, had a seemingly bland broth with explosions of sweet and tartness from the date fruit and the meat flavor of its chicken bits.
The restaurant also has a breakfast menu which we were all also able to sample: the Congee (Php120) and Beef and Lettuce Congee (Php140) which, to me, served as a subtle palette for toppings; the Steamed Vermicelli Roll (Php120) which had a nice spicy kick; the carbo-loaded Yangzhuo (or more commonly known as Yang Chow) Fried Rice (Php160); Pork Ribs coated with Glutinous Rice (Php140); the Dry Fried Noodles with Beef (Php180) which had a nice peanut-ty taste; and the Fried Noodles with Three Shreds (Php180).
Those looking to complete their taste of authentic Chinese food can even opt for drinks imported from the mainland such as Chinese versions of our favorite softdrinks, flavored yogurt drinks and flavored teas.
Given the novelty of its food offerings, I would suggest to the restaurant manager to consider having a menu with pictures and descriptions of the dishes. That way, the really adventurous foodies would know which items are in line with their palates while the less gastronomically conservative patrons can choose those which more closely align with their taste.
I would also suggest a less upbeat background music: the resto’s offerings are somewhat traditional and some can even be considered medicinal (particularly its herbal teas) . If the resto would like to capitalize on the health benefits of its cuisine, a more languid and traditional background music would be more appropriate.
Just my two cents… 🙂
Foodies who will journey all the way to Makati to visit this resto should also consider where they can park. Parking spots are severely limited and the nearest pay parking area charges Php80 for just two hours.
Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I was invited to attend this restaurant’s Grand Opening. All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.
Check out my reviews of other Chinese restaurants: