Fine dining at Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

I’ve never had the pleasure of dining at Lolo Dad’s Cafe in Malate which closed its doors a few years back.

From what I hear from veteran (ehrrm!) foodies and what I’ve gathered online, Lolo Dad’s is known for its fine dining, culinary masterpieces and the awards they merited.

Too bad I didn’t get to experience Lolo Dad’s but there is a silver lining to this predicament: in 2016, Chefs Ariel and Mia Manuel of Lolo Dad’s opened a new restaurant in Poblacion called Bistro Manuel.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

It is a quiet establishment, almost hidden being situated away from Poblacion’s more casual (and noisier) bars and restaurants. The place is well-suited for workday lunchouts, intimate dinners for two or elegant family celebrations.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Diners are even given a sneak peek into the kitchen to see Chef Ariel Manuel and his team in action.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Together with my fellow foodies, I recently visited Bistro Manuel where we were welcomed by Chef Ariel himself. We also sampled the resto’s signature dishes which feature many of the old favorites from Lolo Dad’s as well as new creations that showcase the chefs’ mastery of their craft.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Starters. Tasty dishes to kickstart the meal.

Amuse bouche and freshly baked bread and butter (compliments of the chef).

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Double Espresso Soup (Php295). Tomato and mushroom cream-based soups served in separate espresso shot glasses. Definitely a new way to enjoy soup!

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Romaine Ceasar Salad (Php380). Crispy pancetta and six-minute boiled egg tossed in romaine lettuce with anchovies, lemon and parmesan cheese dressing.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Spinach and Warm Mushroom Salad (Php380). Mushrooms sauteed in smoked bacon on top of spinach leaves and doused with roasted garlic vinaigrette.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Lolo Dad’s Cafe Baked Oysters (Php230 per piece). A real treat to the taste buds, each oyster is accompanied by angel hair pasta under a layer of melted cheese, and accompanied with a cube of foie gras.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Sorbet (compliments of the chef). A citrus sherbet to cleanse the palate.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Mains. Hearty and flavorful viands showcase Chef Ariel’s mastery of European cooking techniques.

Mild Spice Arabbiata (Php550). Penne tossed in tomato base sauce seasoned with basil, garlic and chili flakes. A light dish that portended of great things to come!

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Lamb Shawarma Grilled Pizza (Php700). In this pizza with a Mediterranean feel, lamb belly, tomato and onions are placed on a charcoal-grilled thin crust and served with yoghurt and chili dip.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

“Only for the Rich” Pizza (Php1,290). One of the resto’s more playful dishes, this dish features many luxurious ingredients that led to its name. Lobster, duck liver, scallops, prosciutto and smoked salmon with carabao’s milk cheese and truffled tomato sauce on top of charcoal-grilled thin crust garnished with edible flowers.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Pan-fried Fillet of Salmon (Php695). A hefty piece of well-seasoned salmon, seared and served caramelized onion, potatoes and bacon butter sauce.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Roasted Duck Breast (Php860). Breast of moulard duck on compressed potatoes.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Seared Scallops and Scampi (Php990). Bechamel-stuffed rigatoni pasta accompany seared scallops and plump shrimp.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Lamb & Lamb with Lamb (Php860). Three ways to enjoy various parts of lamb: roast lamb rump, stewed lamb breast and fried lamb sweetbread with sieved potatoes.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

US Rib-Eye Prime Steak (Php2,200). 300 grams of premium steak grilled to medium doneness and served in rendered fat with truffled mashed potatoes and chilled Hollandaise. A carnivore’s dream come true!

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Desserts. A delectable selection of decadent confections whipped up by pastry chef Mia Manuel that capped a wonderful meal:

Freshly Baked Apple Tart with Rock Salt and Olive Oil Ice Cream (Php295)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Lemon Meringue Pie with Chocolate Ice Cream (Php295)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Baked Cheesecake with Orange in Spiced Syrup (Php275)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Berry Tartlet (Php240)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Tiramisu Souffle with Vanilla Sauce (Php350)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Declension of Mango and Mascarpone Cheese with Vanilla Frozen Cream and Dulce de Leche Sauce (Php285)

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Every dish was exquisitely crafted and a feast for the senses. Bistro Manuel is definitely a welcome addition to my list of favorite restos in Poblacion.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Many thanks to Chef Ariel and the staff of Bistro Manuel for the warm welcome and fabulous food and the Jen of Sand Under My Feet for extending the invitation!

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel is located at Second Floor, Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City, open daily from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88718566, +63 926 7341067 or +63 998 3423566.

Bistro Manuel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow foodies, I attended a good tasting held in this establishment wherein the items mentioned above were served to enable us to sample the fare to facilitate an honest review and were not paid for by the participants including myself.

Check out my posts on other fine dining establishments:

 

Hidden gem of Italian Cuisine: Cucina di Francesco, Libis

When you think about food places in the Libis area, chances are this Italian restaurant hidden away from the busier sections of the metro has escaped your notice.

Cucina di Francesco got its name from the name Francesco Forgione, the name that Saint Pio of Petrelcina, more affectionately known to devotees as Padre Pio, was born with.

Incidentally, the restaurant is located in the same compound as St. Pio Chapel, so I would imagine families fresh from Sunday mass coming in for lunch.

In this instance, however, I took my fam here on the way to our weekend staycation.

From outside, the restaurant presents a comfortable, homey and welcoming facade.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Inside, the place is bright and cheery, with large windows letting in lots of natural light and large hand-painted murals giving the premises an eclectic vibe. There are more seats to dine in on the second floor, while the third floor is mainly used for events.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

I booked our table the night before via Zomato. We were a few minutes late but I called the resto to apprise them of our arrival time so our table was waiting for us when we arrived.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

My daughter #ExhibitA, who’s trying to eat healthy, requested for a salad so we ordered a Ceasar Salad (Php180). The focaccia croutons, fresh microgreens and rough-chopped walnuts delectably add to the taste and texture of this classic dish.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Our little boy #ExhibitB, on the other hand, is a well-known pizza monster. We got him a Tre Formaggi (Php350) whose lethal combination of bleu cheese, emmenthal and mozzarella on top of creamy bechamel got my baby reaching for slice after slice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Hubby got himself a Pasta Puttanesca (Php195). The sauce made from olives, anchovids and capers in fresh tomato sauce makes this a tasty pasta dish. (Hubby liked it well enough but insists that his mom’s version tastes better.)

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

We split orders of Lasagna al Forno (Php260), a meaty baked lasagna with bechamel cheese sauce (which I found a bit dry) and Italian Beef Stew (Php485), a dish made of beef chunks, Italian sausage and vegetables braised in tomato wine sauce and served with parsley rice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

All in all, I wouldn’t mind another visit to Cucina di Francisco and checking out more of its Italian viands. The place certainly is charming and even has free WiFi! Plus, the wait staff are also friendly and accommodating.

It’s quite near my home and is easily accessible. Since it is a free-standing resto that shares a sizeable multi-level parking lot with the church, I wouldn’t have to stress myself in looking for a parking space as opposed to the likely scenario if I were to visit a mall-based eatery during mealtimes.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

It also employs persons with disability, such as those in the autism spectrum. This is an advocacy near and dear to my heart, being a parent to a child with special needs myself.

For those who are artistically inclined, Cucina di Francesco also serves as a venue for art and crafts workshops on weekends in partnership with Maartsy such as Plush Keychain Making and Acrylic Flower Jewelry Making in January 26 and Mandala Coffee Painting and Doodle Art with Lettering on January 27. For inquiries, call +63 2 9175861785.

Cucina di Francisco is located at RER Compound (St. Pio Chapel), 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City, open daily Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 8pm and Fridays to Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For reservations, call +63 2 5349935 or book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Cucina di Francesco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s some trivia for you: Did you know that puttanesca translates to “in the style of a whore” in Italian? While some food pundits would attribute the name to seedier origins, some food historians date the sauce back to the 1950s when Sandro Penti of Rancio Fellona were requested by hungry late-night patrons to “Facci una puttanata qualisiasi” or “Throw together whatever.” Which was what the good Penti did with what he had at the time: tomatoes, olives and capers. The rest is history. More on that here.

Check out my reviews of other Italian restaurants:

Asian-inspired Food Stop at Balestier, San Roque Marikina

My friends and I made a food stop at Balestier on our way home.  We found this joint quite interesting: its brightly-lit and minimalist-designed interiors have a very clean and modern aesthetic.  Its menu featured Singaporean dishes, inspired no doubt by the food hawkers in the Singaporean street of the same name.

We snacked on the complimentary chips (made from crispy fried dumpling wrappers) provided by the friendly waiter, on Sesame Ceasar Salad (Php135) – an Asian take on a well-known classic – and on plump Hakaw (Php135) – four pieces of steamed shrimp dumplings served with brewed soy sauce and onion leeks.

The concept behind the resto seems to be applying an Asian or Singaporean twist to well-loved dishes as can be gleaned from the tastes prevalent in our orders.

Next time, I would like to sample the Salted Egg Wings and Laksa Tsukumen.

Balestier is located at 14 Nicanor Roxas Street, San Roque, Marikina City.

Balestier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato