a filipino meal frenchified at lemuria

In eating in manila on September 24, 2012 at 11:50 am

with (yet again) the help of deal grocer, we got ourselves a degustation dinner at lemuria. P1250 for 6 courses and a glass of wine, we figured it was a good enough deal. and the menu was very very interesting. french technique on filipino flavors.

for starters, an amuse that was a play on fried lumpia. it was served with a vinegar sorbet

after this meal i learned that one of the functions of turning the vinegar into a sorbet is to avoid mess. makes sense. but the contrast of cold on the lumpia was also very enjoyable. the meal was off to a good start.

next was tinapa mousse

a very pretty plate. the mousse itself was very well-executed and went nicely with the house bread. the powders – chili and tumeric – added good flavor dimensions. not superlative, but a really good creativity on the use of tinapa.

then soup – a bouillabaisse with a surprise of fresh mussels in the shell at the bottom of the bowl

truly tasted of the sea. that was this soup’s biggest success. blending flavor without losing the essence of the ocean. again, perhaps not the most outstanding example of a bouillabaisse, but well-crafted and, yes, that sea taste.

then came a salad using paco and lato – two of our favorite things! also with salted egg and a marinated tawilis on the side


this was nice. the dressing, nothing extraordinary, quite what most any home cook would put on their paco salad. but that tawilis added a bit of magic to the whole thing and so taken together it was a very very good salad!

the next dish was my favorite of the meal – bangus ravioli with an aligue sauce topped with danggit chips and kesong puti.

even the choice of serving vessel was fantastic. given the ingredients in this dish it didn’t come off heavy handed at all. the sauce, in fact, was so delicate i though it a light squash puree at first (i had to recheck the menu that they indeed used aligue). great balance and what a nice “surprise” seeing the familiar bangus flakes inside the pouch. i could have eaten more of this.

palate cleanser, calamansi sorbet.

then the main course. i had the chicken leg confit and camille had chicken breast with a sauce made with fresh mushrooms

sadly, perhaps the weakest dishes of the night. technically very good, but the confit fell a little flat on flavor (and it was a little dry). the breast was a bit too much on the rich side. of course, i need to point out that when it comes to a meal like this i will nitpick and i am not saying that these are in any way bad… just not as captivating as the previous dishes.

but then it was all made up in the end with dessert – a barako creme brulee

a beautiful dessert. the top of the creme brulee was perfectly brittle, the inside dark and rich and thick. and sweet. i love sweet. the apples on the side were a perfect accompaniment. this, to my mind, contained almost everything i could ask for in a dessert – especially a coffee-based one.

the meal was a wonderful experience. it was good to have filipino flavors reimagined like this. some dishes worked better than others, but overall it was a menu that should be applauded. one day we’d like to come back and eat here again and try the dishes well within their comfort zone – french.

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