There are a few restaurants with well-credentialed chefs that have gone unnoticed. I just came across one.
Whenever I am asked what my favorite food is, without hesitation I say goose liver or foie gras. Growing up with the Au Bon Vivant menu in my teen years, I always stuck to my favorites: Onion Soup Gratinee, Poulet Grand-mere and Chateaubriaund Bearnaise.
Then I started trying out other stuff. One of the appetizers was Pâté Foie Gras. I knew nothing about this except that every time I had it with our homemade baguette, I would end up humming.
I also remember carrying cans of pâté to Manila from a store called Petit Quenault in Paris. This started my love affair with this French delicacy.
Today, foie gras, once found only in France, has caught on. In Manila I have been to two foie gras festivals. One was at chef Martin Gaspar’s L’entrecote at Burgos Circle in Bonifacio Global City (tel. 8564858) and the other was at Prince Albert in InterContinental Manila many years ago. The executive chef then was a Frenchman named Cyrille Soenen.
From Prince Albert, chef Cyrille moved on to other ventures. I lost contact with him when I left for Canada.
Recently I was invited by a friend, Jami Ledesma, to Impressions at Resorts World Manila. The dinner became more exciting when I saw that the executive chef was Cyrille. We talked and I learned that occasionally he still does foie gras festivals. For a very reasonable amount, you can have all the foie gras you want—pan-seared or pâté.
I also learned that he opened a restaurant in Greenhills but that’s another story.
Baked prime rib
I had the pan-seared foie gras for appetizer, and for the main course I ordered the superior grade baked prime rib. My appetizer consisted of a bed of arugula topped with two chunks of perfectly seared foie gras with a mildly crunchy exterior.
Around it were four tiny crepes with Peking duck filling to go with this incredible appetizer. Every bite I took, I was talking to myself. It was rich, very fattening and bursting with all kinds of flavor. A must try.
Then came the prime rib. I’m not a fan of gravy on roast prime rib, because it tends to cover the taste and quality of the meat. I like mine simply with au jus or a tiny sprinkling of salt. At the counter, a whole prime rib is roasted rare and sliced as it is ordered and then seared to the customers’ desired doneness.
I had mine medium with Yorkshire pudding on the side and some homemade mashed potatoes.
The best parts of this steak were the top and the sides. These were the ones I saved for last. It was a winner.
For dessert, we had three kinds of chocolate soufflé and some molten chocolate cake.
You know you had a good meal when, after a few days, you still think about it. That dinner still does that to me. I am pleased to find Cyrille still doing what he does best, making foodies happy with his cooking.
I’m confused on what to think about chefs like him. Their talent elevated the standards of cooking in our shores. Our expectations of good food are now much higher.
Do we thank them or do we blame them? Thank you, chef Cyrille!
Impressions is at 3/F, Maxims Hotel, Resorts World Manila. Call 9088883.