Friday, March 15, 2013

Mesclun Restaurant at the Linden Suites

Experiencing the World at Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe

by Cityzen | M.C. Jose

Mesclun is an old Occitane term that simply means “mixture”. This restaurant’s name alone perfectly sums up the kind of food experience Mesclun Restaurant and Café has to offer because their menu items truly are a mix of everything delicious and world-class.

Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara, the mastermind behind the slabwich-y goodness of Chuck’s Deli, is a self-confessed late bloomer when it comes to the food business. Although their family was involved in the ice cream business (Arce Dairy), none of them were actually raised in a cooking clan. “Initially, I only wanted to study pastry,” Chef Kat shares. “But the course was designed that if you did pastry, or cuisine and pastry, it would be the same amount of time. So I thought I might as well do both. Then when I graduated, when it was time to work, I chose cuisine.”
Located at the second level of The Linden Suites
Her vision for Mesclun was not as crystal clear as it could be in the beginning. She does, however, believe that it translates well through the dishes she chose to prepare because they are still very much influenced by various facets of her life and of her experiences. “I wanted to do a menu that wasn’t very cuisine-specific,” she says. “I wanted something that was not limiting in terms of what we could offer.”
Some of Chef Kat’s favorite menu items are her flammekeuche and sourdough pizzas. Acccoring to her, the sourdough culture, though infused with the all-familiar Italian spirit, is not something that is very well-known to Filipinos. We sampled both her Bacon (P270) and her Anchovies (P245), which, I feel, would appeal to different kinds of patrons. The bacon pizza has a simple, comforting taste. Its main ingredients are basically bacon, onion, with crème fraiche and nutmeg. The anchovy-flavored pizza, on the other hand, has a bolder, more adventurous taste. The prime ingredients for this dish are tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, capers and basil. Being a fan of flavorful food with herbs and spices, I enjoyed this dish immensely.
Bacon flammekeuche
Anchovies sourdough pizza
The Chimichurri Chicken (P325) is a plateful of mouth-watering chicken fillets with chimichurri sauce and grana padano, and can be served with mashed potatoes, skillet potatoes or rice pilaf. Again, this has something of a comfort food vibe because it leaves you warm and happy after partaking of it. The same can be said of Mesclun’s Guava Pork Adobo (P345), which is just perfect with a subtle hint of guava to add a play on flavor. My absolute favourite among their main courses, however, is the Ulang Thermidor (P795). It is baked ulang on black ink seafood—yes, black risotto!—risotto with grana padano slivers. I love how the light creaminess of the prawn merged with the squid ink seafood risotto to create something balanced and exciting.
Chimichurri Chicken
Guava Pork Adobo
Ulang Thermidor
For dessert, we tried the Flourless Chocolate Cake (P245) with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Flourless cakes are gluten-free and make use of the chocolate’s natural starch, which make them a wee bit healthier and just as delicious to consume. This cake is served straight from the oven, which makes it a very satisfying sweet ending to any savory dish. We also had the Mango and Condensed Milk Crepe (P215), an excellent choice of dessert for the fruit-loving customers.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Mango and Condensed Milk Crepe
Chef Kat harbors nothing but love for her newest restaurant. Here at Mesclun, she has the freedom to play with her menu selections, which, in turn, offers the customers the same privilege. “I’m very proud of this menu,” she states. “It’s very fun for me and I’m glad that I can keep changing it.”

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