Ever since I had a taste of what Cafe 1771 has to offer, I've sung praises about my unforgettable dining experiences there, making new and loyal customers of my friends and relatives. It was easy to fall in love with that place, to claim it as one of my favorite dining destinations, that revisiting Cafe 1771's older sibling, Chateau 1771, almost slipped my mind. Almost. And it's a splendid thing that it didn't, for as we all know, there are good things that one can find when you come home to the original.
Before my revisit to Chateau 1771 -- now residing on the swanky address that is Greenbelt 5 -- I realized that the last time I paid the restaurant a visit was in the Nineties. I was in grade school back then, and all grand celebrations were often held at Chateau 1771 in Ortigas Center (now the home of Cafe 1771). Top of mind, I recall their famous desserts and grilled entrees. It excited my tastebuds just to think of all the flavorful dishes that were in store for me, and when I was told they have new additions to their menu, I knew it has high time to schedule a lunch in Greenbelt.
Pasta Chorizo (P390): Chateau's best-seller for generations
Scallops Au Gratin
Salade Lyonnaise with Goast Cheese
Start off your meal with a succulent appetizer with the Scallops Au Gratin (P450). This order has six pieces of scallops sauteed with garlic and parsley, then topped with cheese and a golden brown crumbly crust. Another luxurious starter would be their Salade Lyonnaise with Goast Cheese (P360 - Small, P550 - Big). Don't be fooled by its salad properties, as this kind is hefty, flavorful and laden with 'non-veggie' ingredients that the usual salad skippers would be attracted to. When you have poached eggs, crispy bacon, and goat cheese slices with a mix of green leafy vegetables, it can pass as your main course already. But do leave room for more entrees, there are more things to savor in this restaurant.
Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank
Lamb is best experienced when slow-cooked: its rich flavors shine, minimizing the gamey taste that can be off-putting for some people. And so, I recommend Chateau 1771's Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank (P680): absolutely soft and tender meat, served with plum tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and a siding of oh-so-fluffy mashed potato. If seafood's more your entree of choice and you're open to new flavors, perhaps Salmon Rockefeller (P670 - regular, P440 - por.) will entice your senses. I do love oysters rockefeller, with its toppings of spinach and cheese brushed with a buttery coating, so I was curious to try its salmon counterpart. It has quite an interesting texture, and if you're into melted cheese, then this is definitely for you. The dish comes with sidings of potato crisps and ratatouille.
Lemon Meringue Torte
Triple Chocolate Mousse
For desserts, of course there's the highly popular Coffee Pie (P185), but do try their delightfully tarty Lemon Meringue Torte (P225) and the highly addictive plate of Triple Chocolate Mousse (P225). I absolutely love their novel presentation of the classic lemon meringue -- it has layers of flaky pastry crust that breaks the monotony of sweet and sour interplay. Their mousse on the other hand is silky smooth, every piece on the plate so tempting to just pop into your mouth in one go. It's also tempting not to share the sweet Valrhona chocolate dessert.
The Business Lunch: 'Any 2, Any 3'
Last month, Chateau 1771 introduced new and hearty lunch selections with their Business Lunch set meals. The menu, available 11am to 2:30pm on weekdays, makes you choose any two (P650+/person) or any three (P750+/person). Just pick one item from each course listed, which in turn has five food items to choose from. As most dishes in their regular menu are good for sharing, the set meal offering makes it easier to pick out what you'll be having for lunch; cooking is faster as well, since the servings are good for one (some, good for two).
Tomato & Grilled Asparagus
For starters, you can opt for rich and indulgent or light and easy with the Raclette or the Tomato & Grilled Asparagus. I highly recommend the raclette as it's a steal with the set meal price -- it's good for sharing, and how can you go wrong with melted cheese? The pungent scent of this gooey, tangy appetizer is the baptism of fire for serious cheese enthusiasts. The salad in the meanwhile is on the healthy and refreshing side, portioned for one person. There's also Spinach Soup, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Baked Eggplant Rolls to choose from the Starters of the Business Lunch offering.
Braised Beef & Shallots
For main course, meat lovers can indulge in the Braised Beef & Shallots - tender, slow-cooked beef with caramelized shallot sauce. The portioning of the meat is very generous that it can be split into two, although the teacup size serving of white rice is enough for one, or might be too small for big rice eaters. If you're more on the surf and less on the turf, there's Seabass with Swiss Brown Mushrooms, Mixed Seafood Grill Skewer, and the Lapu-Lapu Knight. I admire the presentation of the lapu-lapu, with a blanket of potato chips serving as delicious protective armor for the fillet of fish hiding underneath.
Got room for dessert? Of course, you must have. All Business Lunch desserts are good for one, just enough to end your meal on a soft and sweet note. Their exquisitely creamy Panna Cotta is placed on the center of a round plate, with some blueberries and mango bits on the side to add color and flavor. The Mango Jubilee celebrates the marriage of fruity and creamy with its serving of vanilla ice cream topped with a fruity caramel sauce and mango bits.
This multi-acclaimed fine dining restaurant stood the test of time by sharing to us the flavors of 'no borders cuisine' with fine dining appeal. Be it for a grand family affair, an intimate date, or a weekday lunch with colleagues, Chateau 1771 gives us many reasons to rekindle our love affair with their food.