MIREIO

The Pa­tron Saints of Provence have blessed the Raf­fles with a breath­tak­ing new restau­rant.

Let’s Eat - - WHAT'S INSIDE - WORDS BY SPANKY HIZON EN­RIQUEZ

There’s some­thing about Mirèio. It’s the most cap­ti­vat­ing new fine din­ing restau­rant of the year, and it’s far and away, also the sex­i­est new bar in the city. It’s both so­phis­ti­cated and rus­tic; where the clas­si­cal din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence feels less for­mal, and much more nat­u­ral. I’ve been wait­ing for this brasserie-style restau­rant ever since it was promised when the Raf­fles Makati was for­mally launched four years ago, and it’s proven to be ab­so­lutely worth the long wait. The stereo­types of com­pli­cated and high-minded Paris gas­tron­omy shat­tered, and re­placed by very ac­ces­si­ble, but no less au­then­tic dishes from Provence. It is as it should be. Af­ter all, this lux­u­ri­ous din­ing des­ti­na­tion is named af­ter a ten­der trib­ute to that re­gion’s lush coun­try­side and its breath­tak­ing coast­line.

The French Poet Fredric Mis­tral penned “Mirèio” in 1859; it’s es­sen­tially a love story to his birth­place, the French Mediter­ranean re­gion, world fa­mous for its iconic land­scapes. Provence is one of the most gor­geous places on Earth, and this restau­rant it in­spired more than lives up to the beauty so poignantly de­scribed in the No­bel Prize win­ning poem.

Dur­ing the day, Mireio is a sun-dap­pled oa­sis, all bright and light, rain­bow hued freshly picked flow­ers on vases atop im­mac­u­late white table­cloths, the blues of the sky and the hues of the sun, re­flected on the main din­ing room’s plush seat­ing. As dusk dark­ens into night, the sky­line of Makati’s Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict re­veals it­self, the tow­ers out­side, like dozens of glit­ter­ing jewel boxes, be­guil­ing Mirèio’s din­ner guests.

Over­see­ing the kitchen is Chef Ni­co­las Ce­gretin. Provençal-born, the young French­man de­scribes his cui­sine as sea­sonal, sun-drenched and ex­u­ber­ant, built around the dis­ci­pline of French fine din­ing

tech­niques, but mel­lowed by the nos­tal­gic home cook­ing tra­di­tions from his youth. The Chef ’s Roasted Blue Mar­lin with Squid Ink Cau­li­flower Cream takes its in­spi­ra­tion from his fa­vorite child­hood com­fort food, his grand­mother’s cau­li­flower gratin.

Ev­ery few months, Ni­co­las dreams up a the­matic menu; as such, Mireio’s dishes are in a con­stant state of flux, all the more rea­son to come back again and again, to fall in love with a new dish, or to rekin­dle a longing for a fa­vorite, or bet­ter yet, both. The gloom of our rainy sea­son is off­set by the chef ’s cur­rent Week­ends in Provence lunch menu, and the dreary week­days, re­freshed and re­vi­tal­ized by the La Vie En Rosé Happy Hour on the Mireio Ter­race, the sen­sual al fresco lounge sit­u­ated a floor above the main din­ing area.

Mireio pro­vides a post­card per­fect peek into the best that Provence has to of­fer: truth, beauty, free­dom, pas­sion, love, and spec­tac­u­lar food. Vive la France!

THIS RESTAU­RANT IT IN­SPIRED MORE THAN LIVES UP TO THE BEAUTY SO POIGNANTLY DE­SCRIBED IN THE NO­BEL PRIZE WIN­NING POEM BY FREDRIC MIS­TRAL.

PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

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1 Gr­l­lled Egg­plant Con­fit

2 Clams Marinière with Raz-el-hanout

3 Chef Ni­co­las Ce­gretin

4 Mireio In­te­ri­ors

5 Pan-seared Duck Breast and Foie Gras with Corn Tex­ture

6 Brie and White Choco­late Cheese­cake with Lemon Mas­car­pone and Sor­bet 02

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