Chef Carlo Miguel’s Latest Fine Dining Project

You would think that you’d have to fly to Singapore, Hong Kong or New York for a lovely skyline. But 71 Gramercy has a solution for you: its fine dining area. Can you believe this view is from a restaurant just in the heart of Makati?

71 Gramercy view

There is more than one star in the horizon, though, the other being Chef Carlo Miguel.

I am so happy that I finally found him again after all these years. Not that he’d gone missing since the days of Opus, when I last saw him (lightyears ago). At the time, he was one of the rare chefs in Manila successfully doing molecular gastronomy. Since then, he has taken over the kitchens of Draft (several branches), Beso, Epic in Boracay, and The Brewery at The Palace at the Fort. He is now running 14 kitchens!

The food at 71 Gramercy, where Chef Carlo is a partner, is more straightforward than what we were used to at Opus. Although the signature strong flavours are still there.

Because it is Carlo Miguel, we indulged in several starters. First, a 62-degree egg with prosciutto and arugula, a healthy yet savory start.

We alternated bites of the egg with this cured salmon. And as if this wasn’t enough, with steak tartare.

Photo: 71 Gramercy

I was very curious to try the Gramercy Burger because I remember Cecile Chang (then Ysmael) telling me about how Louie Y, a partner at Gramercy, loved his burgers so much he would go to the Mandarin at 2am just for a fix. Well, this burger did not disappoint. Loved the beef but even more, loved the foie gras that looked like a tongue sticking out at you.

In fact the servings in Gramercy are generally larger than life – like its partners, I guess. Take this sea bass. Chilean, of course.

The Chef told us to make sure to leave room for dessert and I understand why. This chocolate cake first has a layer of hazelnut meringue as its base; followed by a chocolate mousse. Inside is a flour less chocolate cake that you do not see until you rip the cake apart. That hat is a crisp chocolate shell. And then the waiter pours a chocolate liquid ganache to complete the texture play. Now THAT is a chocolate cake!

This menu is a bit classic, not the usual molecular or French haute cuisine that Chef Carlo Miguel got us used to. But he has an excuse: “I don’t think the trend is molecular anymore. The trend is going local.”

And with that, he shares that he is developing a new menu that will use all local ingredients to support farmers from across the country. I can’t wait to try that!

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