Steak and fries.
A slab of meaty, juicy protein, to pair with endless servings of crisp, deep-fried, slim batons of carbohydrates.
Then there is that famed special, secret sauce. It's no secret that it is what keeps diners coming back at this corner bistro at Burgos Circle in BGC. The restaurant's inspired by the famous European restaurants serving the steak-frites that come with the buttery sauce and a side salad. A generous coat of the sauce (not a mere drizzling, that would be foolish!), covers the steak. The meat is bathed in an mouthwatering blend of butter and a smattering of herbs (over a dozen kinds, we were told).
The US Choice Sirloin steak is already served in slices, the restaurant understanding the immediate urge of hungry customers to grab their forks and spear into the platter of delicious medium-rare goodness (or whichever doneness one prefers, but rarer is better, personally). Introduce your mouth with a slice of the tender, buttery combination of steak and sauce. Chew slowly to appreciate, let the juices of the beef burst with every meeting of your teeth. Let the buttery sauce do its magic, lending flavor and earthy greens slip into your tastebuds and slide into your belly.
Steak-frites of L'Entrecôte
Immediately follow it up with a handful of frites -- yes, use your hands, grab a handful, then use it like a broom to sweep the Secret Herb Butter Sauce from the metal platter. Swipe it some more, let the shiny butter soak into the potatoes. Then let that handful of sauce soaked fries enter your mouth, and allow your teeth to unapologetically gnash its way through it, experiencing crunch and crisp and its soft insides and its release of that buttery green sauce, unrelentingly rich and flavorful. Congratulations, you have just conquered The L'entrecote Menu (P1,090), the ultimate best-seller and all time favorite of patrons of the restaurant with the same name, L'Entrecôte.
New Cravings, Old Favorites
Hungry carnivorous folk should not stop with the bistro's The L'entrecote Menu, which features steak, unlimited fries, mixed green salad with walnuts, and Secret Herb Butter sauce. There is more to this Swiss-French restaurant, especially now that they have updated their menu to include new items.
L'entrecote at Burgos Circle, BGC
The restaurant has been bringing out the flavors of Europe to Manila since 2010, and recently celebrated its third year anniversary. After three years, they understand the need to evolve offerings to accomodate the varying and elevating tastes of the market. If before majority of their clientele were foreigners and expats craving for something that tastes like home, now they see more local foodies--from adventurous ones to the well-traveled or folks that simply want feel-good food--enter the doors of the corner bistro.
How about starting your meal with a little French-Italian number? Order the Pissaladiere (P265) for a French twist to the Italian pizza. This appetizer is a thin puff pastry, and served as a rectangular pizza similar to a flammekueche or a tarte flambée. It's a simple but tasty starter topped with onions, black olives, and Gruyère cheese. The addition of anchovies is welcoming to the palate, with its salty flavors cutting through the other delicate toppings.
Another European appetizer can be had with the bistro's Home Made Marinated Duck Foie Gras Pâté (P590). An order features foie gras by Rougié of Sarlat that you can spread on crisp melba toast. On top of the liver spread, drizzle some cognac honey to give your tastebuds a contrast of flavors to work with. For added texture and sweetness, top the pâté with some dried fruits laced with cumin.
Home Made Marinated Duck Foie Gras Pâté
Seldom do I get to savor French or Swiss food that highlight the hot and spicy, so the Shrimps Piri Piri (P290) was a welcome treat. The shrimps are doused in salsa of lemon, tomato and chili. Its heat and spice reminds one of the Spanish gambas.
Shrimps Piri Piri
From my own kitchen experiments to restaurant food adventures, my belly (perhaps yours as well) is convinced that any sort of protein cooked with garlic, lemon, and butter will often result in a great if not just agreeable taste. Same goes with L'entrecote's seafood appetizer, Baked Mussels au Cafe De Paris (P275). The trio of butter, garlic, and lemon work harmoniously to champion the baked seafood, and the toasted bread which serves as base for the mussels contribute a crunch in every bite.
Baked Mussels au Cafe De Paris
The restaurant's menu states that their best-seller, the The Real Original Swiss Cheese Fondue (P1,560), is good for two persons. When it arrived on our table--a giant pot of bubbly, gooey melted cheese mix, with its deliciously pungent aroma--I immediately disagree. The fondue combines Appenzeller cheese with kirsch liqueur, a cherry brandy. It was hard to resist the aromatic calling of the fondue; we lost count of the number of times we dunked our bread into the pot. We even shamelessly dipped our unlimited fries from the The L'entrecote Menu steak and fries combo, and it resulted in even more glorious cheesy results! An order of this quintessential Swiss dish can surely go a long way, as it can fill up a family, if they were to order the fondue as their appetizer.
The Real Original Swiss Cheese Fondue
One of my favorite discoveries that afternoon is their version of the stroganoff, a beef dish of Russian origin. L'entrecote's version, Spaghetti #5 Stroganoff (P395), is a revelation to my tastebuds, which are used to the creamy carbonara-like stroganoffs that tend to be served with rice or a bowl of pasta in other restaurants. This particular stroganoff, served with Spaghetti #5, delivers a mélange of herbs and spices. Its pasta sauce, rich brown than creamy white, hints on the many nuances of flavors you will encounter with a forkful. A forkful, indeed, unravels delightful flavors: sweet paprika, sour cream, tender mushroom, soft beef slices--all tangled up in silky smooth cords of al dente spaghetti. I promised less carb intake this year, but this new dish may just be a game changer.
Spaghetti #5 Stroganoff
For a little kiss from France, a classic confit de canard will do you well at L'entrecote. Their perfectly cooked Crispy French Duck Leg Confit (P880) is a must try. The duck's skin was crispy, much so that it took quite an effort to resist peeling it all off and calling dibs on it. I admit to have thought of or claimed all chicken skin pieces for myself in at least one instance, and in this duck's case, my generosity and self control was tested. The duck confit is cooked perfectly, leaving the most little of fights with a fork and knife when its meat was being sliced to be served on our plates. The duck is served with roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, and orange chutney spiced with espelette pepper.
Crispy French Duck Leg Confit
The Rösti Tower (P445) was orignally intended to be part of the restaurant's breakfast menu, but had been quite the new and popular kid that it has been bumped up to be included in the regular menu. More mound than a tall tower, it is crispy hash brown topped with ham, then topped with assorted mushrooms. Afterward, Raclette cheese is poured on top, then baked. To complete the tower is a fried egg and drizzling of truffle oil. If it's flavors of breakfast you seek at this bistro, then this comforting Swiss dish will greet you a hearty good morning.
You should always save room for dessert when having a European feast. Let your sweet tooth say bonjour to their best selling dessert, the L'entrecote Signature Iced Vacherin Cake (P180). Made with orange Grand Marnier and caramelized walnuts, this chilled cake is a pleasant palate cleanser--light and fruity--to wipe clean your tastebuds of all the butter, cheese, and meats of your feast.
L'entrecote Signature Iced Vacherin Cake
A heftier dessert choice would be their Profiteroles Au Chocolate (P190). Served with vanilla ice cream, their take on the choux à la crème is quite the classic route, and thus ever satisfying.
Profiteroles Au Chocolate
Now, for more insatiable sweet cravings, I recommend getting well-acquainted with L'entrecote's new dessert, the Moulleux Au Chocolat (P240). This is their spin on the much loved chocolate lava cake, a marriage of warm chocolate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Moulleux Au Chocolat
What is surprising about their version is the texture of the gooey chocolate lava inside the cake: it's not wet and runny, nor too chunky and solid. It's quite pasty, and balances the flavors of sugar and chocolate. A spoonful of the cake with melted ice cream dripping from your spoon will defnitely ease your sugar cravings. As you finish every sweet morsel left on your dessert plate, you'll be quick to thank yourself for going beyond the steak and fries at the Swiss-French bistro. After all, the flavors of Europe are far too many for just one dining experience. Now you have more reasons to return to savor some more.