There’s a new place in town where the view at dusk is mesmerizing and the cocktails are stiff and cold. Mireio at Raffles Makati opened only about two weeks ago, but hotel management’s friends and preferred guests have gotten the knack of enjoying drinks on the 10th floor before going down to the 9th for a hearty French dinner.
The restaurant is named after the most notable work by Nobel prize-winning poet Frederic Mistral in 1859, about the forbidden love story between Mireio, daughter of a rich farmer, and Vincent, a lowly basket weaver.
The poem is Mistral’s tribute to his beloved Provence; it also continues the Raffles tradition of honoring great writers.
The main dining area can seat 77, its private room 10. The restaurant is designed to evoke a French brasserie with low-back seats and tables.
A large-scale painting by artist Marcel Antonio occupies an entire wall and depicts the lovelorn tale of Mireio and Vincent.
At a press dinner, guests were ushered to the deck for cocktails and Instagram posts of a Makati skyline twinkling with Christmas lights.
Downstairs, chef de cuisine Nicolas Cegretin and his staff were busy prepping dinner.
The Provence-born chef has come up with a “sun-drenched” menu focused on Provençal and French Mediterranean cuisine. He describes his dishes as “elegant in a simple way so that the flavors of the ingredients are highlighted.”
The meal started with Roasted Duck Foie Gras served with ginger chutney, followed by Chilled Zucchini Soup with basil and chorizo, perfectly Grilled Skipjack Tuna that was still moist and flavorful, and slow-cooked Oxtail Parmentier with black truffle jus. (Parmentier is a French term that means “served with potatoes.”)
Except for the soup that left slick traces in the mouth, everything else the chef prepared was warmly received. The duck foie gras with ginger chutney was a particularly inspired pairing; the chutney reminded one of the palate-cleansing pickled ginger usually served with Japanese sushi.
We smeared the foie on freshly baked bread, nibbling it in between sips of white wine.
The Oxtail Parmentier looked deceptively simple, placed in individual lidded pots. Over the flaked meat was a blanket of fluffy potatoes wafting clouds of black truffles.
Cegretin’s repertoire of dishes includes his favorite Beef Tartare with goat cheese, basil and crispy bread; Tomato Tart with clams, snails, arugula and parmesan; and Roasted Blue Marlin with squid ink cauliflower cream. The last is a tribute to his grandmother, whose cauliflower gratin is his favorite comfort food.
Cegretin started his career in Paris, where he worked in two restaurants with two Michelin stars apiece, Lasserre and Apicius—known for their classic and modern takes on French gastronomic cuisine. He also counts stints in 5-star hotels in Paris and the Hotel La Mamounia in Marrakech.
For dessert, he prepared Rum Baba, coconut and lime panna cotta with a sweet and tart mango-passion fruit sherbet.
His other desserts served “with a twist” include Apple Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream, Lavender Crème Brûlée, and Lemon Madeleine and roasted compote Provençal.
Mireio is on the 9th and 10th floors of Raffles Makati; tel. 7950707; e-mail [email protected]