It’s a merry season, so eat to your heart’s desire. Enjoy some holiday indulgences. For two days we escaped the tedious preparations at home and set off to a high-end restaurant and renewed past pleasures at a reliable Italian eatery.
Chef Jessie Rockwell Club
G/L, Amorsolo Square, Rockwell Center, Makati City; tel. 8906543/7630.
Mention the name and it often evokes a forbidding “Oh no!” Basically, because it is the ultimate in high-end dining, therefore, very expensive. Why not try it at least once?
Dining area—Sedate in conservative colors, with paintings (for sale) on the walls. Choose the sofa tables against the glass wall to have a good look at the comings and goings. It could be gleaned from the crowd that day that indeed the discriminating pay for a good meal.
Service—Menus are handed as guests are led to their tables after being greeted graciously by a receptionist. We missed chef Jessie doing the rounds. Perhaps, she has become confident of the efficiency of her staff.
Staff—could have been perfect had not one of them forgotten to serve us the glass of red wine we initially ordered. It took a wave and another request to get it, this time from another server.
Suggested menu—As in her previous outlets, the ideal starter is the Fresh Green Salad with smoked salmon, grilled prawns, scallops and mushrooms bathed with their special dressing. The nearly two-inch thick Seabass was exquisite with mashed potatoes and some greens. The Sirloin was done in its own juice and the Tenderloin was perfect.
No one eats here without getting a Souffle for dessert. They now serve it in Demitasse, the perfect size after a fulfilling meal. Choose the flavor you prefer. Coffee, of course, follows.
Usual service and government taxes are collected. Senior cards are honored.
La Nuova Pastelleria(cum restaurant)
San Antonio Plaza Arcade, Forbes Park, Makati City; tel. 8178568.
This must be one of the most durable restaurants in the city, having stayed in the same location for years and has kept a clientele that always comes back.
Dining area—A small dimly lit place, this has a rather homey ambiance. That day, turnover was quick as diners kept coming in until about 2 p.m. No wonder reservations are held only for 15 minutes. It feels so old world, with many of the guests in their mature years and Spanish-speaking.
Service—One walks in and is shown to the reserved table, given a menu folder. The owner-couple (we presume they are) constantly check the staff and service.
Staff—Unobtrusive, nearly quietly elegant. But accommodating.
Suggested menu—Start with an Antipasto of Spinacis Trifolate which is sautéd with Truffles and Porcini Mushroom sauce. Choose any of the Contornis or side dishes of salads, cold cuts and cheeses with olives and sun-dried tomatoes bathed in olive oil. Go for the main course of either pasta (Bolognese with ground meat in tomato-based sauce or the white Carbonara) or the heavier meat dishes. Do not miss their original Concord cake and surely the Italian coffee.
Service charge is added to the bill, also government taxes. Senior cards are honored.