A sleek, crisp and airy environment gives way to eye-catching creations of Chef Kaye Torres in her restaurant Palate located in Uptown Parade, BGC.
"I wanted to bring in something new, but still adapting to what the Filipinos want," the chef shares, "Palate actually, the name itself, in your mouth -- it's about flavors. It's a journey of flavors for me. I want every bite to tell a story." In choosing the cuisine to put on spotlight at the restaurant, Chef Kaye zeroed in on flavors from France and the Mediterranean. "For me, I believe that French cuisine is the foundation," she says. Torres graduated from Enderun Colleges, and afterward went to Paris to work for eight months at the Ducasse Institute and 58 Tour Eiffel. "After I worked in Paris, I went to New York to work at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges. The menu is inspired by my New York and Paris experience; I wanted to bring that here. "
The 26-year-old chef was also particular with the look and feel of the entire restaurant. "My favorite part of the restaurant aside from the kitchen is the French windows," she says. Palate's color palette leans on neutral tones, and the chef wanted to keep it in the families of whites, muted yellows and grays because her dishes are colorful and intended to stand out. "Aside from that, I want my guests to feel chic but know that they are not spending too much -- because if you look at the menu, I have prices that are just P188, and I have different price ranges." In a couple of months, Palate will be rolling out their brunch menu. To refresh your palate, begin your lunch or dinner here with their creamy Squash Soup (P188). It is poured into a pristine bowl that has enoki mushrooms and croutons for different kinds of textures with every spoonful.
For something unique, have their colorful Watermelon (P165) 'salad.' Five frozen watermelon cubes are joined by feta cheese, balsamic, and honey caviar that also refreshes with its sweet flavors melding with savory. A personal favorite of Chef Kaye is the Beet Salad (P325). The beets are served three ways: beet jelly, roasted beets, and glazed beets. All three brighten up a bowl of greens with goat cheese, honey, black salt, and lemon vinaigrette dressing. At the center is a soft-boiled egg that mixes everything well once cracked open, its luscious yolk spilling everywhere.
From colorful starters, move on to comfort food favorites of pizza and pasta. Palate serves the French flatbread pizza Pissaladière (P190), and theirs is a thin, crispy crust topped with caramelized onions, anchovies, and black olives. It's a personal favorite, each strip a joyous combination of sweet from onions, and different kinds of saltiness with the anchovy and olives. Their version of the classic Italian spicy pasta Spaghetti Amatriciana (P330) is made extra special, since the spaghetti in tomato sauce is given a light and crispy spin with strips of delicious bacon -- the bacon itself was such a treat, the pieces are very thinly sliced and made so crunchy. Crush the bacon into smaller bits and mix it all in the pasta and dig in.
True to what Chef Kaye shares about her food, the mains come in colorful and eye-catching, popping out of the shiny white plates where they are plated. Her Chicken Roulade (P330) is pretty, four rolls topped with chorizo cream cheese and quail egg, laid on a terrain of chickpeas and veggies and served with romesco sauce. Another highly Instagrammable entree is her pan-seared Salmon (P830), a very simple and straightforward dish, which comes with a pea puree topped with a mix of market vegetables and pickled vegetables for refreshing textures and flavors.
Desserts at Palate have a mix of familiar and modern. It was a treat to nibble on the bite-sized Churros (P145), crisp pieces coated with sugar and cinnamon reminiscent of childhood treats. This one comes with two homemade sauces, spiced chocolate and almond de leche. They also have a gorgeous Frozen Crème Brulee (P280) that keeps it colorful in both palate and palette. This delicate dessert with vanilla cremeux and assorted fruits comes crowned with a caramel nest which replaces the torched layer of crème brulee that we love to crack. It might be too pretty to destroy and devour with your little spoon, but messing it up and licking your spoon clean is also quite a rewarding meal-ender.
Visit Palate at the second floor of Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue cor. 38th Street, Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig. Log on to palaterestaurant.com.ph and follow Palate on Facebook (/palaterestaurant) and Instagram (@palate_ph).