After years in its prime location at Greenbelt 5 with its enviable view of the park, Chateau 1771 has transferred and is now open at One Bonifacio High Street, the mixed-use building in BGC. The new space is wide with a partially open kitchen, a main dining area, and smaller, semiprivate spaces near the back and at the side.
Displayed on the walls are paintings by the late Onib Olmedo, collections of the owner that include a large-scale piece that used to hang in the Makati location. It’s the first thing guests see when they enter the air-cooled, light-filled French bistro.
Owner Ricky Gutierrez and executive chef Vicky Rose Pacheco have been in the business for 31 years now, and they’ve more or less perfected day-to-day operations.
“We’ve lasted this long because we don’t try to be everything for everyone, and we don’t stay in one location. We go where our market goes,” Gutierrez told Lifestyle over lunch last week.
The restaurant has only been open three months, but it seems to have already captured its core market of discerning diners in their early 40s to their 60s. Guests that afternoon included a table of seniors enjoying a leisurely lunch, and several businesspeople in office attire, jackets off.
“Our market has always consisted of businessmen, and executives who entertain. They expect food that is cooked well using the right ingredients with no extenders. Ayaw nilang binobola sila (They don’t like getting their legs pulled),” he said.
Executive chef Vicky Rose Pacheco is perfectly fine with that. “I really don’t do fancy or trendy food. Our clients know what they want, and appreciate quality,” she said.
As the owner, Gutierrez is very hands-on. He visits the different branches that include Sentro 1771 (now occupying the Greenbelt 5 space) and Café 1771 in Ortigas. In Batangas, he also checks on his businesses, including Hotel Pontefino, a new business park, and several residential buildings.
He’s the perfect example of a Chateau client, one who longs for familiar flavors. “One time, I was out of the country for two months. When I got back, I was craving for the Pasta Chorizo. I ended up ordering it for two weeks straight.”
An original 1771 pasta dish, it’s spaghetti tossed in a browned chorizo-garlic and red wine reduction, then topped with Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.
Pacheco has come up with new dishes to celebrate the new location—Smoked Gindara Carpaccio with lime sauce and capers, Mahi Mahi with Lime Butter Chorizo, and Magret de Canard, pan-fried duck breast with a blueberry sauce—but has wisely retained the classics. Approximately 40 percent of the menu is made up of new dishes.
Everything fits on one sheet of paper stock, printed back to back. Pacheco says this makes it easier to edit if she thinks of something new.
“I watch what’s moving and what isn’t. If a dish isn’t, I take it out—no love lost. I want everything to move because in terms of cost, inventory turnover… you don’t want to get stuck with something where freshness is compromised,” she said.
“Since we opened, we’ve been getting a lot of orders for our Lemon Chicken, Pasta Chorizo and Potence,” she said. Described in the menu as “Man’s last meal,” Potence (poh-tanz) is 100 grams of grilled beef tenderloin flambéed with brandy, and served with three sauces and a choice of mashed or baked potato.
These three are dishes that have been on the menu since the late 1980s, when Chateau was still in Malate, and yet they continue to be loved by clients.
Gutierrez and Pacheco are opening a new concept, the Juicery, still at One Bonifacio High Street, that will serve healthy food to go. “There will be packed salads, sandwiches and frozen soups clients can heat at home,” she said.
“In business it’s important to evolve; you can’t stagnate,” Gutierrez added.
Jereme Leung’s milk custard fritters