September 26, 2015


Aubergine (French for eggplant) has to be the best restaurant in Manila. A big claim, I know, but it's totally justified. This upscale dining experience is still less expensive than others I've tried and includes even more delicious food. The 12-course set menu is Aubergine's claim to fame, although they have an à la carte menu as well. The service at Aubergine is the most coordinated, polite, and accommodating I believe I've ever experienced at such an upscale place. Their extensive wine & drink list round out an altogether perfect restaurant.

Mom and I have had the honor of enjoying Aubergine's 12 courses before, a set menu that changes seasonally, and so when we received an invitation to enjoy another of their famous set menus after their long renovation we quickly made our reservation.
Our Menu for the evening
Our amuse bouche (French for 'pre-appetizer') was a little bite of a mushroom compote mixed with some spice that lingered on the palette in the most pleasant way, like after you drink a spicy hot cider.
The second course, described modestly as "tomato jelly" on the menu. As you'll notice, the jelly is not red yet it tasted so completely of tomatoes you'd swear you had just bitten into one. The goat cheese at the bottom of the glass plus the dots of flavoring within only added to the experience of V8 juice as a jello shot. All in all it was basically alien food that I would eat literally everyday.
Next up: 'Tomato-Crab Mille Feuille'. (A mille feuille traditionally is a layered pastry. In this case it was layered with tomato and crab not chocolate and flaky pastry) Clearly we hated it as we nearly licked the sauce off the plate.
Next came cured salmon with a cucumber tea sauce and pickled gherkins. The salmon was much, much denser than I've ever experienced and was so. tasty. The gherkins were tart and very refreshing and while I personally didn't care for the cucumber tea, Mom drank it right up.
Here's where our menus began to differ. The actual set menu calls for three courses including beef, chicken, and pork. Of course, I don't eat meat so I could not partake in the above dish: 'Foie Gras Symphony' including foie gras, veal, chocolate, brioche, and beetroot. The chefs at Aubergine are so incredibly accommodating that they were willing to whip me up substitutes for each of the meat dishes, substitutes that were so delicious I feel they should be on the actual menu.
My substituted dish (that the chef apparently came up with on the spot) was salmon surrounded by candied beets and a roll of goat cheese and cranberry jelly. Despite the resemblance to candied bacon, the dish was so good I could have eaten an entire meal of just that.
My substitute dish: scallop raviolo with leek froth and savoy cabbage. I have honestly never tried scallops before, always dismissing them as being too close to the oyster family, but I couldn't dismiss this dish! First of all it's too pretty and secondly the chef went out of his way to prepare it just for me. (Makes a girl feel pretty special doesn't it?) Turns out scallops aren't bad! Especially in this dish. Of the entire menu this wasn't the standout for me but I discovered scallops are more than edible, and froth can be part of the food groups!
The next thing on the menu: chicken raviolo. This dish featured chicken wing confit, mushroom nage, and a savoy cabbage. This dish was certainly not the main attraction of the menu for either Mom or myself but it was still very, very delicious.
Butter-Poached Giant Prawns were next made in a black pepper corn sauce with coconut foam. A substitution still had to be made for me as the original sauce with the seafood dish was meat-based so the chef generously whipped me up a curry sauce base that was so delicious I had to sop the rest of it up with my bread! The prawns were definitely a highlight for me, mostly due to the curry base. Also: major props to the staff of Aubergine for paying due attention to not just the meat they were serving me straight, but the bases of their sauce! That's pretty rare, I've gotta say. 
A little palette-cleanser in the form of apple sorbet was next. The sorbet was served with 'apple caviar' and a cilantro coulis. The most refreshing cleanser I've ever ingested.
What can be considered as our 'main' of this 12-course dinner came next. I was served delectable sea bass in a creamy sauce with braised vegetables and a potato flower decoration (that was delicious). By far the biggest portion of the meal, the fish was impeccably cooked and the sauce complimented it perfectly.
The main on the menu, and Mom's main course, was Iberian Pork. This dish included cheek, belly, and 'socreto' (secret) aka shoulder of pork along with braised vegetables, the potato flower, and truffle juice.
Nanny would be proud, we cleaned our plates!
Next was the pre-dessert (any restaurant that serves a pre-dessert has to be fantastic) This dish consisted of a dehydrated banana milkshake along with fresh pineapple and oranges. Not mom's favorite dish, I actually enjoyed the uniqueness of the dehydrated drink as well as the amount of banana flavor it managed to pack into what honestly looked like a saltine.
Dessert! (What I truly consider the main meal) Rightfully named the Chocolate Rebel this decadent tower of chocolate consisted of white, dark, and milk chocolate, ice cream, salted caramel, and roasted pecan flakes. Mom being allergic to chocolate, an allergy I'm still praying she doesn't pass onto me one day, I was absolutely forced to eat her dessert as well. For her own well-being, obviously, I took one for the team and made myself devour both of our towers of absolute decadence. Honestly what heaven tastes like this has to be one of the best desserts I've ever had!
The many faces of moi when very much enjoying my dessert
As if both pre-dessert and regular dessert weren't enough, the final course is Tea and Coffee served with chocolates and macarons. Mom greatly enjoyed her ability to eat the majority of this dessert course. I was pretty chocolate-d out after eating both desserts and the chocolate macaron and sweet.
My outfit for the evening, complete with the 'I ate too much but it was too good to stop' smile

This entire meal was nothing but absolute bliss, one course after another, until Mom and I were left with happy bellies and smiling faces, not to mention very stimulated taste buds. Aubergine is an absolute must for everyone in the area--honestly you have to try it for date night, girls night out, Tuesday nights, anything. Make a reservation and go! The service is impeccable, not to mention so friendly! I will dream about this meal for a loong time, and so will you! I promise.


Post a Comment