These two restaurants have managers who are well-trained in every aspect of operations and management. Larry Cortes and Mauro Arjona manage two in the Chef’s Quarter group of restaurants, which are now gaining steady clientele on two sides of the metropolis.
Beurre Blanc Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2/L, Resorts World, Newport Mall, Pasay City; tel. 8364342
It was a surprise that Larry Cortes, at one point the efficient restaurant manager of one of Manila’s finest dining places and who we missed for sometime, has partnered with chef Mauro Arjona, also formerly of the same chain, in this and three other new ventures. Needless to say, we expected his usual A-1 food and service.
Dining area—“Beurre” is butter, and “blanc” refers to white wine. Thus, the magnificent centerpiece in the elegantly appointed dining area is a tall sculpture of the Wine Goddess, welcoming patrons to enjoy a good meal in the French tradition. Interiors are in dark brown, tables are with comfortable French Provençal chairs.
Service—Fast and efficient
Staff—Knowledgeable and gracious, comparatively quiet, but they anticipate diners’ needs.
Suggested menu—Food from French-Med cuisine is done mostly with wine and butter. Here we rediscovered an old favorite salad with a new twist—Mesclum greens with a mix of marinated salmon, grilled prawns, scallops and shiitake mushrooms in creamy Balsamic dressing with sun-dried tomatoes and Pecorino cheese.
Because we are lamb fanatics, we suggest the perfectly done Baked Rack of Lamb with Crust Herb de Provence in garlic, thyme juice with feta cheese and potato wedges. Our companion took the Roasted Chilean Bass in butter and wine, quite intoxicating in flavor but she did not care, finishing the succulent fish with a flourish.
The fowl selection includes the Marinated Duck Confit in Port Wine and Raspberry sauce, slow-cooked in its fat. There’s Angus Beef (US Rib Eye), but we passed it up and went on to dessert because we could never resist the original soufflés with Frangelico and chocolate sauce. We chose the new Banana and Coffee Crunch.
Another is the rich Chocolate Coffee Roulade with strawberry yogurt. After that very satisfying meal, a strong coffee is a must.
Beurre Blanc can customize gift certificates in P500s and P1000s.
Service charge is added to the bill. Senior citizen cards are honored.
Old Vine Grille, Unit 115-119, The Venice Piazza, Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City; tel. 8364969/70
The second resto in the chain, but for some reason not explained to us, we were waved to the dining area of its sister company, Kuse. Apparently, service is shared by the two establishments.
Dining area—The ambiance is friendly, but at Kuse, one gets the feel of a Filipino restaurant, unlike in the adjacent Old Vine dining room, which seems more formal. The Kuse tables are laminated, the chairs made of woven cane. There is enough space to move around.
Service—Quick and efficient
Staff—Pleasant , accommodating
Suggested menu—Old Vine is basically a Steak House. But start with either home-cured Salmon Carpaccio with Champagne Vinaigrette or the Pan-fried Foie Gras. Go for the Larry and Mao Steak and Barbecue Creations—either grilled US top blade with sautéed mushrooms and escargot, or Beef Bourguignonne, tender beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and onions.
The dishes are served over tea lights to keep them warm. That should be enough to satiate the appetite.
For dessert, never miss the Fruit Fondue, a fun item where everyone dips into hot thick boiling chocolate.
Service charge is collected. Senior cards are honored.