Aubergine is now the number #1 fine dining restaurant in Manila. It is becoming the close rival of my favorite restaurant — Antonio’s in Tagaytay in terms of food quality. In fact, in the recent Miele Guide, Antonio’s dropped down to the #17 spot with Aubergine at #18 in the Top 20 Restaurants in Asia. (See complete list of Philippine restaurants included in the Miele Guide below.) My European foodie friends argue that Aubergine should get a Michelin star for overall quality of food, service and ambiance.
However, some foodies actually complain that the food in Aubergine’s Regular Menu is always served perfectly — cooked very well, presented artistically, and tastes as good as it looks — that it becomes a bit boring. So every time, Aubergine introduces a new degustation menu or a promotion menu, which is always good to try out. This month, as part of the California Grape Promotion, they have to use California Grapes as the “secret” ingredient throughout the 7-course meal (P2,250 + 10%SC). Who can imagine that Grapes can also be used as gourmet ingredients?
California Grape Promotion Menu | California Grapes Special Drinks
The meal starts with soft bread and a serving of butter and pate.
Duck foie gras terrine in blue grape jelly and home-smoked duck breast on walnut-grape salad accompanied by mesclun greens tossed in raspberry dressing.
The foie gras is as smooth as cream. It is best eaten with the sweet touch of grape jelly. The duck breast is cooked well too. I usually get a piece of the duck, mix it with a bit of foie gras, and wrap it with the greens.
Cream of grapes and apples with oyster fritter and Champagne foam.
I’m surprised by how they were able to mix the creamy taste of milk with the fruity taste of grape and apple in the hot soup. Never mind the oyster — you have to savor every drop of the soup.
Seafood medley with lobster, Norwegian salmon and scallop on grape-celeriac puree and grape nage.
The lobster has just the right amount of salt, smokiness, and texture. I love the puree surrounding the seafood, which gives it a contrasting taste. (I’m still figuring out what a grape nage is…)
There’s nothing like grape-flavored sherbet to cleanse your palate in between courses…
I’m still learning my wines. For this meal, we chose a bit dry Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc.
Check out Aubergine’s Complete Drinks/ Wine Menu
– By the Glass, Premium Wines, Red Wine
– Juice, Coffee, Tea, Softdrinks, Bottled Water
– Bourbon, Cognacs, Brandies, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Schnapps, Fruit and Grain Based Spirit, Fortified Wines – Port, Sherry, Liqueurs, Beer, Fruit Cocktails
– Cocktails, Mixed Drinks, Vermouth, Bitter, Spirits, Whisky
– Old World Wines – White Wines
– Old World Rose and Red Wines
– Red Wines/ Champagne and Sparkling Wines, New World White Wines
– White Wines/ New World Red Wines
– New World Red Wines
– Aubergine Cocktail of the Month
You can take a peek inside the kitchen, where the sous chef seems to take his time in creating a main course masterpiece, together with the other ISCAHM apprentices.
Oven-roasted Australian quail, stuffed with grapes, porcini mushroom and pinenuts, served on truffled grape-potato Mousseline, vegetable cassolette, honey-glazed grapes and port wine jus.
You actually have a choice of eating quail or sea bass. Although the quail is cooked very well (without the smell), I can’t stand eating the entire breast of a mid-sized bird. (I can imagine its head looking at me, pleading for mercy.)
Grilled Chilean sea bass topped with a grape-prawn ragout, served on grape risotto and grape beurre rouge.
I would go for the classic sea bass, with its slightly brownish outer texture and soft, juicy interior. The grapes, mixed with drippings from the seabass, make a lot of difference in this dish. The risotto has a highlight of grapes, too. The prawn is also best eaten with grapes.
I’m surprised that the elements in this dish work well together. They succeed in setting it apart from the usual seabass dish elsewhere.
Crispy fried brie cheese praline on balsamic glazed grapes.
I love this ball, which is oozing with hot liquid brie cheese inside…
Flamed grape tartelette and grape spring roll, served with grape ice cream.
This is the usual serving and presentation of dessert in Aubergine (with their signature sugar net on top of the ice cream). You can actually skip the dessert because most of the time it is nothing spectacular — better to save the calories for other yummy treats.
You can end the meal with coffee or tea and a bit of pralines and macaroons from their patisserie.
Aubergine Restaurant Patisserie
32nd and 5th Building,
5th Avenue corner 32nd Street,
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Telephone: +632 856-9888
Mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)
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P.S. Congratulations to the Top Philippine Restaurants that made it to the Miele Guide!
Miele Guide: Asia’s Top 5 restaurants in the Philippines:
Antonio’s Fine Dining, Tagaytay
Others that made the list (in alphabetical order):
Bale Dutung — AWESOME! Congratulations, Claude! 🙂
Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant
C2 Classic Cuisine
Elbert’s Steak Room
The Highlands China Palace
L’Opera Ristorante Italiano
Le Souffle at Fernando’s
Lolo Dad’s Cafe
Old Swiss Inn
Som’s Noodle House
Tsumura Sushi Bar & Restaurant
3 thoughts on “Aubergine’s California Grape Interpretation”
Wasn’t the food terrific? I loved it! http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/2009/10/california-table-grapes-at-aubergine.html
Hmm your pics look different…
” ….is always served perfectly — cooked very well, presented artistically, and tastes as good as it looks — that it becomes a bit boring”
in our quest for excellence we find consistent service boring??? i find this comment quite odd. aubergine has always, always exceeded my expectations. and i dont feel pressured to go to full mile when dining there. the service is excellent even if all i want is dessert … for me the better restaurant is a place where regardless of ambiance the people who serve and cook for you make you feel at home.
Food and service was good then. What about now? Better get your act together and not rest on your laurels.