A Mix of This and That: Mesclun Bistro
It was infatuation at first sight, a flirtatious encounter upon seeing her arrive and rest on our table. Perfectly golden, she glistened in the afternoon sun. While I gently crack open the thick later of chewy, cheesy crust, she gave a bit of a fight, tugging at my spoon with her clingy gruyere. "Okay, just a little," I thought. I gave in, nibbling a piece of the gooey cheese, enough to tease my tastebuds before setting my sights on what was underneath. What a sight the soup was to behold: a bowl of hearty, cloudy beef broth, muddled with caramelized onions to envelope each spoonful of soup with a tad of crunchy and sweet. Elevating this experience further were these pillows of croutons so stout from soaking up the hearty broth, that each bite into them released a burst of warm, soupy glory inside your mouth.
Falling in love with a beautiful French Onion Soup in 2008That is how I remember my close encounter with Cuillere's French Onion Soup, back in 2008 when the restaurant just recently opened.
It is now mid 2013, and the French restaurant in Serendra has long closed. Now housed in the same location is still an epicurean destination by Chef Katrina Arce-Kuhn: Mesclun Bistro. Little did I know my trip to try her new restaurant--a spin-off and casual counterpart of sorts of her Linden Suites establishment Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe--will reunite me with my first soupy love.
Now open: Mesclun Bistro in Serendra
The flammekeuche, a long-time Mesclun best seller and Chef Katrina's personal favoriteWe begin our afternoon feast with a couple of cocktails--because, why not? We were at a new restaurant that's perfect for kicking back, and cold glasses of mixed drinks definitely set the mood for a casual hang out with a good friend. Drinks of choice: sweet Amelie (P240), an electric green glass of of vodka, midori lime, pineapple juice; and the refeshing Ginger Caiprinha (P240), made with rum, fresh mint leaves, fresh ginger, and splash of ginger ale.
Complimentary bread and butterFor starters, we tried something new and something old. First was Andre's Poke (P345), a reinvention of a Hawaiian salad that's influenced by Japanese cuisine. This version of tuna ceviche is sweet and spicy, with soy-sesame dressing and Sriracha mayonnaise. A dollop of poke on top of crostini will give you that play of soft and crisp textures with every bite.
French Onion Soup
...and it (still) feels so good!"It's hard to define what cuisine or kind of food Mesclun specializes in," Kat shares; the restaurant's name 'mesclun' best describes what they offer, as they have a mix of this and that, an assortment of old favorites and new flavors that comfort rather than intimidate. "We're not fusion, and we have both classic and modern dishes, and we're definitely not limited to one type of cuisine," she says. "You can say it's old world meets new."
A prime example of a classic dish marrying new flavors is the Sisig Spaghetti (P245). Imagining it prior to having it presented to us on the table, I was honestly expecting a bowl of oil-slicked pasta loaded with chunks and chunks of pork sisig straight from a sizzling plate. Thank goodness the reality turned better than expectation, as what was presented to us was a beautiful plating of creamy pasta, topped with chicharon bits. Having a light cream sauce for the crisp sisig bits actually works, and squeezing the calamansi balances everything by cutting the richness level down.
House Cured Corned Beef
Brioche Croque Ma DuckAs a duck's egg is extra tasty with its richer and larger yolk, we split the sandwich in two--less calories and less cholesterol that way. The sight of the yolk spilling into the crevices of the sandwich made my mouth water. The best way, I found, of enjoying this to the fullest, was to wipe the sandwich pieces on the saucy egg yolk that spilled on our plate before popping them into my mouth. De-li-cious.
Foie Gras Baguette Sandwich
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Additional images by JA Atienza