Quezon City’s dining scene is ever bustling. Tomas Morato, its main culinary artery, is a long stretch of restaurants and bars– handy for when the nearby networks decide to hold movie press conferences or for when the yuppies are in search of the most affordable beer bucket promos. Its little capillaries, the Scout streets that surround Morato, are best known for house-turned-resto hole-in-the-walls. Further to the east is the UP Village-Katipunan neighborhood, which is home to offbeat casual concepts that cater to the experimental student market. And of course, the flurry of time-tested restaurants in the Banawe area cannot be missed when talking about QC dining destinations.
But despite the long list of restaurants that call Quezon City home, the district isn’t top of mind when seeking a quiet and fine dinner. Cuisinier Bistro, a new player in the community, is determined to change that perception. With its classic European offerings and a refined vibe you don’t usually get from a QC restaurant, the charming bistro invites everyone to see what modern restaurant experience is like.
Cuisinier Bistro easily stands out among its Timog Avenue neighbors with its clean and newish look. When you’re surrounded by gas stations, banks, and tire shops, this isn’t too much of a feat.
With floor to ceiling glass panels as its windows, the well-lit space of Cuisinier comes across as simple yet graceful. Past the charm of requisite holiday decorations (tasteful, in this case), its interiors reveal an elegant room of neutral shades, classy wall detailing, and sink-in-and-stay-a-while leather bench seating.
There’s also soft Christmas music accompanying the gentle dancing of the tree’s lights at Cuisinier this time of the year. If you’re looking for a quiet escape from the holiday brouhaha happening everywhere, a meal at Cuisinier may be your best bet.
Soupe a l’Oignon
Meals usually begin here with a bowl of steamy soup. The Soupe a l’Oignon (P190), that features gut-warming beefy onion broth blanketed by kitchen-baked toast with chewy Emmental cheese, is a terrific choice. But you are also strongly encouraged to order their no-shortcuts-done Bouillabaisse, a steal at P320. The warm bowlful will give you fennel-riddled bisque and a fragile installation of perfectly-cooked seafood: crab, fish, shrimps, and mussels.
Scallops in Mornay Sauce
For appetizers, Scallops in Mornay Sauce (P180) is recommended. Cuisinier’s scallops are plump, fresh, and almost never without those beautiful orange halos a.k.a fat. A squeeze of mashed potatoes, a dollop of melted Gruyere cheese, and a pinch of salt complete the entire picture. If you’re ordering this, consume right away since it has this tendency to become gummy when cooled.
Soupe a l’Oignon
Comforting mains that highlight slow-cooked meats are Cuisinier’s strongest suit. And if you’re getting just one, better make it the Moroccan Lamb Stew (P550).
Moroccan Lamb Stew
Very tender and spicy (a medley of turmeric and cumin), this dish is probably the best of its kind you can get in the city.
There are plenty of options for dessert but the Panna Cotta (P260) outshines them all. Its texture is very creamy and silky– it barely passes as solid. The almond flakes provide the soft texture a needed crunchy break. There are also strawberry slices provided to cut through the sweetness.
Festive Noche Buena Offerings
The cost of a proper dinner at Cuisinier— big portions, quality food (by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef instructor, at that!), friendly service, and unfussy ambiance—is a tad higher than QC bar and grill standards but the overall experience justifies it. If you have no problem dropping a bill or more, head to Cuisinier for a Quezon City dining experience like no other.