Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Le Café Curieux Restaurant

The Great Escape: Le Café Curieux

by Cityzen | M.C. Jose
 In a seedy-looking area filled with gentleman’s bars with gaudy light-up signs, Le Café Curieux seems to be completely out of place with its laid-back atmosphere and al fresco dining area. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re here,” owner Yannick Gauthier shares. “I want to be the ‘sore’ spot in the area—the object of curiosity. I want people to wonder what the heck this garden space is doing here in an alley full of nightclubs.”
Welcome to Le Cafe Curieux
And that is how Le Café Curieux came to be.
Yannick, whose first business venture in the Philippines was a vacation resort in Palawan, wanted to give citizens of the Metro a chance to enjoy hearty, traditional French food without breaking into their piggy banks. “This is as close to French home cooking as you can get here in Manila,” he says. “We don’t serve anything too strange or too exotic because these are some of the things that we typically eat for lunch or dinner on normal days back home.”
Located at Soho Building, at the corner of Polaris and Badajos Streets in Bel-Air Makati
Indoor area
For drinks, we had their freshly squeezed fruit juices in Mango and Pineapple (P80 each). Yannick also wanted us to try Pastis (P85) a popular French drink with a strong hint of anise. Fans of absinthe may enjoy this drink, but it will definitely serve as an acquired taste for most.
Mango and Pineapple Juice
To begin the meal, we were served their Soup of the Day, which was, luckily enough, a bowl of their spectacular French Onion Soup. As far as French onion soup goes, this is, by far, one of the most photogenic that I have seen. The crust, which boasts of croutons and cheese, did a great job of blending in well with the onions, successfully omitting the too-strong flavor that bothers me, sometimes. Our appetizer dish was the King Prawns Flamed in Pastis (P255), which is Le Café Curieux’s unique take on a dish that I am quite familiar with. It has a different flavor due to the Pastis, so expect a hint of anise and various other spices to seep into the prawns. This was my favourite savory dish of the night.
French Onion Soup
King Prawns Flamed in Pastis
Our main course was Strips of Tender Beef with Pepper Sauce (P275), a comfort food-type of French dish that is very safe for customers to try out. The beef was, indeed, tender, and the sauce gave it just the right amount of flavor—a good combination of salty and spicy. Their servings are quite big, but Jin and I were able to finish everything due to how delicious all the food was.
Strips of Tender Beef with Pepper Sauce
Desserts are yet another specialty here at Le Café Curieux. We had the French Apple Tart (P270), which is reminiscent of classic apple pie only with bigger apples and a more adventurous taste due to the alcohol. The Chocolate Mousse (P270) is not your usual chocolate mousse. Instead of a cake, it comes in the form of gooey, sinful soup-like chocolate that is served in a bowl.  
French Apple Tart
Chocolate Mousse
Le Café Curieux is its own oasis. The fact that it is, in most part, a garden, helps to further disassociate it from the oftentimes noisy area it is located in. Yannick, tall as he is, is not an intimidating host, either. This café, with its wallet-friendly meals and relaxing ambiance, may just be the key to bringing French cooking closer to the Filipinos’ heart.
Establishment Info
Le Cafe Curieux
P500 - P999

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