East Meets West

FLAME IS SIM­PLE IN CON­CEPT, PLAY­FUL IN EX­E­CU­TION, AND MEM­O­RABLE ON YOUR PALATE

Esquire (Philippines) - - MAHB - BY KARA OR­TIGA foie gras [1] pan-seared rice [2] duck breast “Take Out” lob­ster fried [3], the pan-roasted

WORK YOUR WAY UP to the 16th floor of Dis­cov­ery Primea in Makati, and you’ll be treated to a strik­ing view of the city’s land­scape, an un­ex­pected panorama of the me­trop­o­lis that seems al­most peace­ful from above. Flame, the es­tab­lish­ment’s new ca­sual-fine din­ing res­tau­rant, in­vites you to ease into their nook, ac­cented with mod­ern el­e­ments but im­bu­ing an inim­itable co­zi­ness.

Their care­ful take on Euro­pean cui­sine says it all, meld­ing ca­sual aes­thetic with mod­ern tech­niques, putting an Asian flair to clas­sic Euro­pean dishes. Dis­cov­ery Primea’s Gen­eral Man­ager David Pardo de Ayala worked closely with Chef Luis Chiki­amco to come up with the in­ven­tive menu which pro­duces none of the frou-frou of fine din­ing, but with just as much class and char­ac­ter. You get the pri­vacy of a space that doesn’t fill with the noise and chaos of bustling Manila—but rather feels like an es­cape: easy-go­ing and re­laxed, fa­mil­iar yet ex­cit­ing. You will eas­ily lose track of time over am­ple sips of wine and a good con­ver­sa­tion, which is how din­ner should al­ways be en­joyed any­way.

Flame’s at­ten­tion to de­tail is most com­mend­able, such as the com­pli­men­tary but­ter they serve with your bread, sourced from Ba­colod, the “crème de la crème” of churn­ers, they say; or the Chi­nese take­out box used as a prop for their star dish. While they in­sist that ev­ery dish is worth a try (and we be­lieve them), we’ve al­ready marked our fa­vorites.

To start, their deca­dent

is di­vine—a slab of the but­tery goose liver slightly crisped on the out­side, lay­ered over teriyaki eg­g­plant, sprin­kled with nori and tempura crumbs, and paired with pick­led pear. The com­bi­na­tion is sweet and sin­ful with a sub­tle tex­ture that makes for a bal­anced foie gras dish that isn’t over­bear­ing. In fact, once you’re near­ing the last bite, you want to have more, de­spite doc­tor’s or­ders.

Then, the

is an easy fa­vorite. It’s fried rice— ac­ces­si­ble, sure—but mixed with three kinds of pork (char siu, bakkwa, and chorizo), a 63-de­gree poached egg, and lob­ster over jas­mine rice—you’ve never had take out like this be­fore. Plus, it’s served to you lit­er­ally spilling out of a Chi­nese take­out box. And, don’t miss out on

paired with pureed pump­kin, charred leeks, and a sweet but fiery honey glaze. The duck is cooked to per­fec­tion, fatty and chewy lined with a crispy skin. It’s a clas­sic dish with a mod­ern twist, done well and sat­is­fy­ingly good.

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