MANILA -- Celebrate the joie de vivre of cuisine, music, and eclectic art at Makati's new restaurant and music venue Pardon My French.
Pardon My French was borne out of PYC Foods Corp. president Jun Sy’s love of music and food. A self-confessed frustrated musician, he spent the lockdown getting people together to play music at home. He joked that he had to feed people in his living room as an incentive to listen to him play with his band.
As he was passing by Jupiter Street one day, he was shocked to see that iconic music venue Strumm’s had closed its doors for good because of the pandemic. He then inquired if the place was available for lease with the vision of bringing his living room experience -- that of friends and family enjoying good food and music -- to more people.
To say that Pardon My French is Strumm’s resurrected is not doing this new restaurant justice. It’s more of a reincarnation, an old friend whom one has made so many memories with, who traveled to France and grown up but still knows how to rock on and have fun.
The fondly remembered bare neon lit interiors from way back when, have been replaced with elegant fixtures, furniture, and objets d’art placed all around the space. The second floor, aside from having comfortable corners to take a breather and watch the bands from above, has a function room in a corner for private events and parties.
The spirit of the previous occupant is channeled as the lights dim and the speakers warm up at around 9:30 p.m. That’s when the center stage comes alive with performers, including Sy’s own nine-piece band The Plug, playing retro, '80s music, new wave, latin jazz, among many others.
The powerhouse trio of chef Ariel Manuel, whose food at Lolo Dad’s and Bistro Manuel is sorely missed, sommelier Ian Santos, who is the Philippine representative to upcoming competitions in Malaysia and Japan later this year, and pastry chef Joseph Lee Dees, who will be opening a patisserie soon, assembled a tasting menu to give a preview of the French and Asian classics on the menu.
The evening started with passarounds and welcome cocktails served at the second floor. Bite-sized shawarma, croquettes, and that special mushroom chicharon were great conversation starters to warm up the evening.
The appetizers were a fitting introduction to the menu. France was represented by escargot classically cooked in butter, parsley and garlic, while the kropek shrimp cocktail with a Thai sauce of lime, coriander, and sweet chili sauce stood for Asia. Paired with a flute of Galda, a Spanish sparkling white wine, this meal was off to a great start.
Some of the Galda was saved up for the Caesar Salad, this one loaded with fresh salmon, bacon, and a parmesan crouton.
Heat is virtually non-existent in French cuisine and Manuel holds back on the spice Pondicherry Prawn Curry Indienne. This was still full of flavor without being spicy though the papadum on the side brings in the heat (and crunch) for those looking for it. Santos complements the subtle curry with a semi sweet Joseph Drouhin Chardonnay.
The main course was a juicy medallion of Chateaubriand. Paired with a relatively friendly Chateau La Gamaye Bordeaux, the wine’s sweet notes nicely complemented the mustard and herb de Provence sauce that topped the steak.
Pastry chef Lees’ trio of desserts -- a lemon and mascarpone cheesecake, vanilla ice cream with a lemon macaron, and a dark chocolate delice -- bookended the night along with more wine and live music.
The best way to wrap up the evening’s proceedings is something Sy said earlier that night: “It’s good for the body and good for the soul, when you’ve got good music and good food.”
Pardon My French, but dammit he’s right! With people looking for live performances after being locked up at home for so long, a dinner and a show at this new restaurant is a welcome
Pardon My French is located at 110 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati and is open from Tuesday to Sunday. (Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday to Thursday / 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday to Sunday). Reservations recommended. Please check @pardonmyfrenchmanila on their socials for their menu and band schedules.