MANILA -- The French table à manger is a grazing table, the kind where you taste everything, and go back for more -- exactly what Alfred at the Makati Diamond Residences offers for its special Bon Vivant Fridays dinner, which is available until the end of September.
Start with something light but luxurious like the Smoked Salmon Roulade. Cream cheese wrapped in the rich tasting fish, topped with beets or fish roe, and you’ve got something that goes down well with some white wine.
A brandade comes next. Lest you mistake this for pate, a brandade is essentially a salted cod fish spread. Alfred serves this with garlic bread for some added complexity, but it’s a straightforward tasting dish, fish enriched with olive oil, and a bit of lemon. I would eat this and then take a bite of gherkin, as I find it marries the flavors nicely and gets rid of any fishy aftertaste. And yes, a sip of wine would work too.
Chicken Liver Mousse ranks up there in my favorite French things to eat. And in Alfred’s spread, it came in a big bowl that you could scoop out of to your heart’s content and spread. There are ready crostinis near the bowl, but I found enjoyment with spreading the pate onto the dark breads at the raclette station.
Raclette has gained prominence in Manila with pop-ups and even food park concessionaires selling the melted cheese experience. Usually it’s half a scrape, or a whole scrape, but in Alfred, it’s scrape-all-you-want! In one hand, you can have a plate of gherkins, pickled onions with bread and marbled potatoes topped with melted raclette, and on the other hand, you have a glass of wine -- all in all a great recipe for a full happy belly.
But wait, there’s more! The Farmer’s Pate en Croute was hearty and full of meat-tastic delights – a minced filling of meat and herbs, like eating a meat pie, but light on the crust. The Seafood en Croute, meanwhile, looked gloriously golden and had salmon and spinach on the inside, like eating a really fancy fish pie.
While not necessarily French, as ravioli is definitely an Italian dish, Alfred’s Sage and Browned Butter Foie Gras Raviolini (small ravioli) was a welcome addition to the spread, a great way to get foie gras into our tummies. One must take heed though, it’s a rich and heavy spoonful.
Dessert was small Paris Brest pastries, a ring of pate choux (shoe pastry aka cream puff pastry) with a filling of hazelnut pastry cream, and topped with nuts. What’s not to love?
Graze all throughout the night while, of course, sipping on your libation of choice from the free flowing drinks menu that includes cocktails (caprinha, negroni, mojito, margarita, etc), local beer, fresh juices and soda, wine, and the list goes on.
Finish the Bon Vivant Fridays experience with a cup of coffee, or since you’re in Makati Diamond Residences, savor the end of the meal with a cup of tea exclusively served in the hotel, TWG tea.
Bon Vivant Fridays is at P1,200 per person including drinks, and make it a champagne night by adding P2,500 for a bottle.