Restaurant Alert: Chef Ariel Manuel Takes Over Poblacion with Bistro Manuel

Remember Lolo Dad’s? Once upon a time THE fine dining restaurant of Manila? 

Chef Ariel Manuel went MIA after Lolo Dad’s at 6750 and the original Lolo Dad’s on Quirino closed. He dabbled in an Asian resto on N Garcia/Reposo but that was short-lived. 

So it is great news for Ariel Manuel fans and fine dining lovers that – as Teddy Locsin Jr calls him – The Master is back. 

I had a Teddylicious dinner with my two favorite Teddys on Halloween: newly appointed Ambassador to the UN, His Excellency Teddy Locsin Jr and one of Manila’s most respected food writers Teddy Montelibano. I served as referee as the conversation ball swung from staunchly pro-Duterte to stubbornly anti between the two!

Like a beautiful symphony, Chef Ariel had us from the first note: a tray of his latest indulgent hors d’ouvres – oysters – each still lying in its shell but now on a cushion of angel hair pasta, baked in cheese and topped with pan seared foie gras. Manuel credits his son for this creation. 

Next, what the chef calls Elements of Duck: duck liver mousse, pan seared duck liver, poached duck egg, slices of duck breast … all on homemade waffles whose sweetness is just enough to balance the savoriness of the duck. 

All that was before the best bisque in town was served, which TBL noted is unlike other bisques that are bland or cloying. 

Then, in French fine dining fashion, after the soup came the fish course. But instead of fish, we indulged in crab cakes and soft shell crabs. 

But the lambs that followed really blew us away. 

First, lamb on lamb on lamb: lamb rump accompanied by lamb breast and sweetbread. In TBL’s words: Mama Mia!! This was accompanied by truffled mashed potatoes, daintily curved on the side. The lamb breast (it is hidden in this pic) was so soft and succulent it was almost like eating pork belly!

But the piece de resistance was the rack of lamb. Two huge cuts cooked perfectly – not gamey at all – with a side of blue cheese risotto. 

This really brings you back to Lolo Dad’s days. 

Nowadays, chefs are inclined to go by way of what the World’s 50 Best trends dictate: lots of drama, lots of talk of going local or going back to nature, yada yada yada. That some chefs forget what cuisine is about – food! 

Chef Ariel Manuel reminds us of the days when dining was more about eating than just appreciating art. Sooo happy he is back!

Desserts have been inspired by wife Mia: 

A tiramisu souffle with a side of chocolate mousse. Like I said over dessert – I would be happy even with just the chocolate mousse! 

And the Mango and Mascarpone Cheese Declension, a vertical mille feuille – TBL observed, “stacked like dominos” – accompanied by dulce de leche and topped with caramelized sugar that may inspire another Tessa Prieto Valdes hat. 

On the way out we checked out The Sippery, just below the restaurant. Here’s a Halloween toast to my dad Ephraim Salcedo – missing him dearly this All Souls Day and as the Christmas holidays approach. 

After that A-game dinner, we were so devilishly happy on the way home 😈

Duterte, Marcos, Cory? Sex, Peace and Love? Happy Halloween!

Bistro Manuel is on Valdez St in Poblacion. From Makati Ave approaching JP Rizal, turn right on Valdez which is street of BPI across A Venue. Suuuper limited parking for now – but two cars can fit right in front of their building. And a couple more slots are available on the street. 

Note that Valdez is one way so you need to come in via Makati Ave. 

For now, cash basis only. But they are working on the credit card machine and an additional 10 slots for basement parking. 

Bistro Manuel. Six Axis Center, Valdez St, Poblacion, Makati. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended +632 871 8566, +63 926 734 1067.

All Out at Allium: Hokkaido uni, Brittany lobster & Mayura steak!!!

We had an incredibly indulgent dinner featuring Mayura steak as presented by Chef Mark Tan of Allium.

Dinner started with appetizers of nigiri sushi.

First, GenSan Tuna sushi. We really must be proud of our tuna from Mindanao!

But the real treat was the third of the lot: Mayura rib cap nigiri sushi. It doesn’t get better than this. I’ll just let the picture speak for itself! Taken with just my iphone.

Next, Chef Mark treated us to some lobster. That small ball underneath is Brittany Lobster. Served with a touch of Hokkaido uni. Given another dimension with black figs. And to top it all off, homemade caviar by the chef. “When we have female lobsters with eggs, we salt cure the eggs,” explained Chef Mark.
Instead of soup, we were served Chef Mark’s version of Chawan Mushi. This was umami central! But here is the chef’s genius: he made a relish using French summer truffles and – get this – fresh wasabi and Pedro Ximenez sherry. Who would ever think of mixing summer truffles with wasabi?! My thought bubble was, what a waste of summer truffles! But I am equally blown away by the chef’s commitment to creating art.

What I loved about this chawanmushi were the bits of crab. As if it wasn’t enough to just use Philippine crabs, Chef Mark indulged us with Hokkaido snow crab and Brittany ocean crabs. What a treat!
Also from Hokkaido – fresh scallops! This was just perfection. The chef also added white fungus (stop snickering, Beavis) for texture and a yuzu sauce “for richness”.

The piece de resistance was the duo of Mayura wagyu (later) but this Mayura sirloin tartare held its own!

Chef Mark brilliantly mixed it with (hold your breath) oysters! So that the guest would not “get ‘umay'”, there is Pommery mustard. And for depth, that orange thing on top is not what guest of honor Scott de Bruin, owner of Mayura, thought was tomato … it is salt cured egg yolk!

And now for the piece de resistance: the duo of Mayura wagyu.

Mayura steak is really distinguished. It has a unique depth of flavor and richness.

The piece on the right was the picanha (aka rump cover aka rump cap aka coulotte), rated Gold while the piece on the left was the platinum rib fillet.

The rib was more tender but both were incredibly flavorful.

That puddle on the left is a chestnut puree but I didn’t even touch it! I was just obsessed with the meat. It is honestly, sincerely, truly excellent.

I learned last night that this meat is also used by Burnt Ends in Singapore and 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong. David Pynt and Umberto Bombana sure know good meat!


I had no more room for dessert. Just enjoyed the rest of the Brunello di Montalcino that our hosts Rey and Joy (and daughter Ella) Co served.

Margaux x Rey, Joy & Ella Co x Scott de Bruin (owner of Mayura beef) x Korina Stratton
Margaux x Rey, Joy & Ella Co x Scott de Bruin (owner of Mayura beef) x Korina Stratton
With Mayura owner Scott de Bruin.

An excellent, excellent dinner.

#ThankYouGod 🙂

Meet the Tamarindo: Sampaloc & Tequila … What’s Not to Love?

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.

I made a new best friend last night. Her name is Tamarindo.

She was introduced to me at B&T Mexican Kitchen in McKinley Hill. Just awesome. That gentle sweet and sour of tamarind (sampaloc) mixed with tequila. It will make you say “Te Amo” in no time!

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. The drink was introduced to me by a lovely lady, Baby Tan. Met her on Mother’s Day when she watched the Dreamgirls show at the Venice Piazza on a date with her husband Dr. Ed Tan. They are so sweet, these two. ❤

The restaurant is their latest baby. They already have 6 children and a chow chow so this would be their Baby No. 8! The food is by their son Philip, who trained at (his own words on their Facebook page – love his sense of humor!) “school of hard knocks kitchen streets of Texas, San Diego, Orange County”. But there are also certain dishes by Lady Baby herself, such as these ribs that are oh so fall-off-the-bone tender. And huge!!! Good for six.

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. Philip, meanwhile, specializes in tweaked Mexican specialties. He got the best of Tex-Mex and tweaked it to cater to the voracious Filipino eater.

For example, instead of just a regular burrito, which the menu also offers, they have something called a Wet Burrito. This is huge (good for 2 hefty eaters or 4 persons with regular appetites). But Philip first makes a regular burrito, bakes it, then “wets” it with their ranchero sauce and a variety of cheese.

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. Philip also has a unique Mexican take on pizza where they use chicken and bell peppers – ingredients you’d see in a burrito – and interestingly, the burrito dough is what they use as crust. For the Pinoy palate, the crust is nice and thin and crispy a la Shakey’s. Perfect with an ice cold beer!

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. For chicken wings, Philip uses mango instead of honey. So there is the tart sweetness of mangoes as you bite into the cripsy skin of the wings.

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. There is one more person who has played a great role in setting up this restaurant and that is no less than Dr. Ed Tan himself.

Dr. Tan, who used head the rad-onco department in St. Luke’s, is a radiation oncologist who introduced new methods in radiation treatment for cancer patients in the Philippines. He is also responsible for the Marian Radiation Oncology Center (MROC) in Fairview, Quezon City, launched almost 15 years ago (2001), which “gives cancer patients a variety of treatment options never before available in this part of the globe.” In an interview, Dr. Tan shared, “the center was born out of a vision to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment in the Philippines as well as to make the country the premier location for cancer treatment in Southeast Asia.”

Now that he is retired, he has time for other things … such as art! Would you believe he made these giants chili sculptures for the walls?

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.
Dr. Ed Tan, radiation oncologist and artist

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. He also personally painted each bottle hanging on the walls!!! And he also created the cacti (cactus) on display …

B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo. There’s more to discover at B&T Mexican. I had always just driven by their Greenhills branch (although this one I visited is in McKinley Hills where Banapple and LES Bagels is located). Now I think I’ll actually pop in. I need more of that Tamarindo!!!          B& T Mexican Kitchen, McKinley Hill. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.

B&T Mexican Kitchen

101 Upper McKinley Rd
Tower 3 Tuscany, McKinley Town Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63 2 216 3453
+63 917 896 9939
Ground floor wheelchair accessible