I remember trooping to this quaint little French restaurant with my hubby in tow when some colleagues would not stop raving about their "incredible cheese milkshake". And incredible it truly was. We were both nowhere near being fond of milkshakes but we finished the rich, creamy, and flavorful concoction -- made with Arce Dairy ice cream no less, since the owner Ms. Kat Arce Kuhn-Alcantara hails from the Arce family. We had some salad and pasta while we were at it.
Cuillere, pronounced as kwee-yer, is the French word for spoon. This explains their logo. Kat studied cooking in France and decided to put up a classic French brasserie type of restaurant that is both reasonably priced and casual. A freshly baked mini-baguette and a small vial of herb butter is served as you browse through Cuillere's extensive menu. I've never been a fan of baguette but this is entirely another level of bread. Crisp and crusty on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. You can actually buy half-baked mini baguettes by the dozen for P225, pop them in an oven toaster at home, and enjoy freshly baked goodness.
We started off with Salade Maison (P395, pictured above left), which is comprised of scallops, prawns, asparagus, bacon, and avocado on mesclun greens drizzled with Hollandaise dressing. Since avocados were not in season, fresh mango slices were used as a substitute. No complaints from me, I loved the contrast between the sweet mango slices and the tangy hollandaise dressing. Salade Maison easily makes it to my list of favorite salads. Another luxurious appetizer, Truffled Portobello Mushroom Duxelles (P395, pictured above right) was served alongside the salad.
Up next was one of Cuillere's latest offerings, Le Foie Gras Sandwich (P1,295) -- thick slices of pan-seared duck liver with a raspberry infused port wine sauce and greens in a freshly baked footlong baguette. It is served with sweet potato chips and a side salad with a mustard-based dressing. I must admit, I was terrified of this sandwich. You see, I have an aversion to animal innards. I don't eat dinuguan and isaw, nor do I indulge in dishes made from liver, kidney, or whatever internal organs you can think of. Then there's the force-feeding of ducks and geese for a fatty foie gras-grade liver. Luckily, the sandwich was split into four parts between my companions and I. But I knew I had to see, or rather taste, what the fuss about foie gras is about. I gingerly took my portion of the sandwich and took a big bite.
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience that is consuming that insanely rich and buttery piece of... organ that is foie gras. If you have a bucket list, I'd suggest adding "Try Cuillere's Le Foie Gras Sandwich" to it. I actually told Kat that after trying her sandwich, I could see why people would torture animals for foie gras. Now before you send me any hate mail I'd like to make it clear that I don't advocate the force-feeding of ducks and geese, nor do I think it is humane. I'm just saying that foie gras is something one should try at least once.
Boeuf a la Bourguinonne or Burgundy Beef Stew (P495, pictured above right) was another winner. I could smell the aromatic scent of red wine emanating from the dish while I was taking photos. The beef was extremely tender, juicy, and flavorful. Mmmm!
When asked what French dish I would like to try, I immediately uttered "Ratatouille". Blame it on the animated movie with the cooking rat, but as long as I was already in an authentic French restaurant, I might as well... right? Kat was kind enough to entertain my request and explained that Ratatouille (P65) is usually served as a side dish. A small dish which consisted of chopped mixed vegetables stewed in tomato sauce was served. The taste reminded me of pizza. How I wish I could whip up something like this at home and actually enjoy eating stewed vegetables.
For dessert, Cuillere's best-selling Flourless Chocolate Cake was brought out. Unfortunately though, it can't be found in the menu due to a printing error. This is by far the best-tasting Flourless Chocolate Cake I've ever had, and I've had a lot. It's not overwhelmingly sweet like the others, not sore throat-inducing, and it just really makes you crave for more.
Special thanks to Ms. Kat Kuhn for a sumptuous French meal!
I'm going to have to make sure to go back and have my hubby try Le Foie Gras Sandwich at least once in his life. Like me, he's also not fond of eating animal innards. :p
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