Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bistro 98 in Quezon City


Bistro 98: A Hole in the Wall in Quezon City

by Cityzen | M.C. Jose
I love stumbling upon small restaurants nestled in areas just off the main streets; it kind of makes me feel that I’ve just discovered a new hidden treasure. Fortunately, my task here is to write about the said hidden treasures so that readers will be able to enjoy my discoveries as well.
I remember it was a rainy night when I arrived at Bistro 98. Because it is not along the main streets of Morato, I thought it would be easier for us to find because restaurants are pretty recognizable along small residential streets. What I love about Bistro 98 is that it was such a welcoming sight thanks to the rain—it’s one of those small, one-room places with a light-up sign that just seems to invite you in. There is nothing ostentatious about it; the area—a converted bodega that once belonged to Joseph Sanvictores’ grandmother, even—is home to three young chefs who are experts when it comes to personal service.

Joseph and his friends and co-owners, Phoebe See and Darwin Cardenas, came up with the idea for Bistro 98 when they were seeking employment after a one-year internship at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado. “We thought of going abroad to work, but decided to try our luck here instead,” he shared. “My lola had this bodega that she hasn’t used for the past ten years, so we just decided to renovate it into our own small bistro.”

The owners of Bistro 98 strive to provide their patrons with good Western home-style cooking. They don’t plan to have a permanent set menu; they want to change the game every once in awhile so that people will always have a reason to visit the restaurant. If you decide to make a reservation, Bistro 98 offers plated set menus to cater to your likings. “We work with the client to know what they would like to eat and what their budget is,” Joseph explained. “It really is a personalized thing.”

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Soup

During our visit, they let us taste four of their specialty dishes: an appetizer, a salad, a main course and a dessert course. For our appetizer, we had their Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Soup (P80), which was my favorite of the night. As far as pumpkin soups go, this one pretty much sets the bar for me. The pumpkin is roasted for an hour, pureed and then mixed with the ingredient that makes all the difference in the world—Bistro 98’s apple spiced tea. The taste of the tea is very distinct, but it does not overpower the pumpkin flavor.

Bistro 98 House Salad

The Bistro 98 House Salad (P180) is a refreshing take on your typical garden salad. Assorted leaves, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and olives come drizzled in their homemade mango vinaigrette for a fresh, fruity taste. The salad is very light and compliments almost any main course perfectly.

Tenderloin Beef Medallion, Cream Risotto and Pan Roasted Prawns

The main course for the night was the Tenderloin Beef Medallion, Cream Risotto and Pan Roasted Prawns (personalized set menu; P600 per head). The roasted prawns were drizzled with lemon beurre blanc (white butter), giving them a slightly salty but tangy taste. Being someone who isn’t a big fan of beef dishes, I was glad that the prawns were cooked in such a way as to somehow counter yet complement the beef medallion. The beef medallion is basically beef tenderloin wrapped with bacon which is seared first before being baked. As Joseph said, they can serve a select menu to people who dine in groups, so this dish is just an example of the kind of food that they can prepare for you.

Bistro 98 Toblerone Cake

For dessert, we had the Bistro 98 Toblerone Cake (P180), which is a homemade decadent chocolate cake frosted with Toblerone chocolate. Because I’m an avid fan of dark chocolate, I found the cake to be a little too sweet for me. That aside, I’m sure it will please most patrons; I don’t think I’ve ever come across a person who harbors a dislike for sinfully sweet chocolate cake.

What makes Bistro 98 special is its intimate ambiance. The area is rather small, so only a few people can dine at a time; if it is a quiet, private dining atmosphere that you seek, the bistro will do quite nicely. Joseph takes pride in their personalized service: they cook for you, they serve you, and they have your best eating interests at heart.

Images by Nix De Pano.
Establishment Info
Bistro 98

Greek/ Italian/ Spanish
House Salad with Mango Vinaigrette, Ceasar's Salad, Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Balsamic Glaze, Tuna Salad in Croissant, Reuben Sandwich, Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Potato Soup, Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwich and Pasta Putanesca
P200 - P499

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