At a glance, there’s nothing really “Bohemian” about Brasserie Boheme.
In place of mismatched Moroccan-style lanterns, distressed furniture, wrought-iron chairs, and exotic wall tapestries—all of which are requisite in Bohemian spaces-- Brasserie Boheme has carefully placed up lights, polished wood wine rack, leather booth chairs, and immaculate white walls. The wait staff is no-less formal, too, elegantly dressed in hard-pressed long-sleeved polo shirts with narrow ties. And if its posh vibe, monochromatic-look, and cloth napkin-topped tables haven’t convinced you of its fine sensibilities this early, know that Brasserie Boheme is located at the foot of a ritzy boutique hotel, in the heart of the country’s central financial district.
But upon closer inspection and a thorough look at its menu, you would find that this Salcedo Village restaurant, which more than three years ago was angled as a modern French bistro, has gotten friendlier, more carefree, and unbounded. Brasserie Boheme recently experienced a renaissance under a new executive chef. And in true Bohemian spirit, Chef Dino Guingona designed a more daring, unconventionally artistic, no borders menu.
The Culinary Artist
Chef Dino Guingona is a culinary stalwart. But unlike his contemporaries, he remains low-key, as he opted to grow in the academe instead of putting up his own restaurants.
Chef Dino Guingona
Chef Dino Guingona invites every Makati foodie to try Brasserie Boheme's new and improved 3-course prix fixe menu that's best for business meetings and quick dates. Learn more about Brasserie Boheme in this video.
Chef Dino, who owns and operates the Moderne Culinaire Academy in Fort Bonifacio, graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco back in 1996. For apprenticeship, he practiced at Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. He continued to work for two restaurants in Stanford, Palo Alto before coming back to the Philippines in 1999. A “tireless bundle of energy” and a wanderer by nature, he again moved to the United Kingdom in 2006, where he worked for two years in The White House Hotel and Le Chalet Hotel as Chef de Partie.
The kitchen got its mojo back
With a wealthy chest of international kitchen experiences, he returned to the Philippines a few years back and formally joined Brasserie Boheme as executive chef. “I have infused a lot of Asian and European influences to make a no borders sort of cuisine,” Chef Dino answered what cooking styles one can expect from Brasserie Boheme.
“The gem of this resto is the prix-fixe menu,” Chef Dino continued. A common practice in European restaurants, prix-fixe (pronounce ˈprē -ˈfiks) offers diners a pre-selected multi-course meal at a fixed price. In Brasserie Boheme, diners are offered a three-course menu plus coffee or tea, priced at P780 (plus service charge).
First course is either soup or salad. To warm up your belly, you may get an Anglo-Indian curry-based Mulligatawny, a light aromatic Mirepoix Spirali, or a tangy Tomato Hot Pot Soup. But fans of Braserrie Boheme are reportedly devoted to their salads, especially their Mesclun Salad with Foie Gras, Feta, and Raspberry Vinaigrette and Seafood Ceviche.
Mesclun Salad with Foie Gras, Feta, and Raspberry Vinaigrette
The Mesclun Salad offers a fine balance of different flavors: bitter (the plentiful greens), salty (Feta cheese cubes), savory (pan-seared duck liver slices), tangy, and sweet (raspberry and lemon zest drizzling). The variegated textures of crunchy leaves, blubber-soft foie gras, and crisp onion rings, make an interesting mouthful. And really, where else in Makati can you foie gras with two more courses at this amount?
But if your taste buds prefer something more tangy and herby, get Boheme’s Seafood Ceviche, Chef Dino’s take on the local kinilaw. The chilled ceviche, served in a martini glass, drenches together pieces of chewy scallops, fish fillet, calamari, and shrimps in a citrus marinade. Notes of fried ginger and coriander complement the lemon zest.
This Dynamite Pepper Popper with Seafood is outside the Prix-Fixe Menu but is well-executed, we thought we'd also highlight it
Diners are given six options for Main Course-- all of which are playful and creative in representing different culinary regions.
Roasted Pork Belly
The row of Roasted Pork Belly, lying atop a bed of caper-punctuated bagoong, is Chef Dino’s interpretation of Filipino binagoongan. Expect the meat to submit to a soft bite. The capers and olive bits bring excitement to what usually is monotonously salty.
Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout
Boheme’s Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout is also sought after. Tenderly grilled with a lovely char, the beef will give you your day’s worth of protein and leave you satiated until dinner time. Again, like the foie gras salad, diners usually get this thick slab of steak because of the price point. When on a date, get this alongside the creamy and relentlessly cheesy Handmade Ravioli in Spinach-Ricotta with Seafood. When paired together, the Swiss and Parmesan cheese sauce complements the rosemary and garlic-rubbed steak.
Handmade Ravioli in Spinach-Ricotta with Seafood
But the true pièce de résistance of the menu, at least according to our palates, is the Halibut in Shiro Miso. The light and flaky fillet doesn’t look like it, but it oozes with sweet and salty juices. We don’t often prefer halibut since the past restaurants we’ve tried serves this uninspired. Boheme’s delicately sweet halibut on the other hand is exemplary enough to warrant the must-get item on our next visit’s order list.
Halibut in Shiro Miso
Desserts are limited to two. The Flourless Chocolate Amaretto is grainy and a tad bitter, as it is mixed with liqueur. It’s quite good on its standards but falls behind when compared to the meringue-based Seasonal Fruit Pavlova, which is as good as it looks.
Flourless Chocolate Amaretto
Seasonal Fruit Pavlova
Brasserie Boheme may have been named so just to complement the art-themed boutique hotel it services. Whoever named it was probably thinking along the lines of “artsy is boho” or “boheme sounds Euro.” But today, with its more-inspired no borders menu, Brasserie Boheme has finally adapted the spirit of bohemianism. Intentionally or not, they seem to be pursuing what’s artistic, with no regards for rules and boundaries. And we just love that.