chef’s lab fail. there’s a wham burger across the street, go there instead

In eating in manila on March 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

once again, something from deal grocer. a 4-course meal at chef’s lab by bruce lim. something we were actually excited about – what with bruce lim being a celebrity chef and all. at the end of the meal, all we could do was sigh, shake our heads in disappointment and wish we had eaten at wham burger across the street instead.

first of all when we got in we were given a table. then we went to the ladies room. when we got back, somebody had taken our table. wtf?! they couldn’t do anything about it they said. off to a terrible start. would have loved to walk out right there and then but the meal was prepaid (sometimes it doesn’t pay to be cheap. we really should have just left).

our mood was somewhat lightened by the soup – a corn chowder made with grilled corn and bacon

lim chowder


this was actually nice. very flavorful. having bits of grilled corn on top was a great idea. really can’t go wrong with anything that has bacon.

when the salad came, we knew we were in for trouble

lim salad


some lettuce, a little bit of this and that… the main flavor kick was supposed to come from candied walnuts and blue cheese. now don’t get me wrong – i like candied walnut + blue cheese. i love the combination in fact. but it is, by no means, a new concept. and for something that calls itself a lab and a very chef-centric one at that, i expect playful experimental food.

main course was surf and turf. a little steak with truffle butter and a bit of salmon with a compote of dried fruit

lim main


underneath the steak was… buttered vegetables! and before you think there was something nice and original here, you have to know what they served were corn, carrots and beans. just like any run-of-the-mill buffet. sigh. ok, fine, the steak was nicely cooked. but c’mon. again, chef-centric lab! the dried fruit compote was ok, but the fish was fishy.

then came dessert. first off a fruit tart

lim tart


a little pineapple, apple, and canned lychees thrown into a pastry crust lined with a thin layer of cream. very uninspired, unthoughtful. oh, and as a clincher they served this with a long spoon – like what you use to eat halo halo. look at the dish and think of the spoon. parang hindi bagay.

last (thankfully), a chocolate mousse

lim mousse

this i finished. because my family has a history of diabetes and we love sweet things. and this was very very very sweet.

i’d love to think of a good closing statement. but i actually can’t. revisiting this experience, i feel the let down all over again. i suppose the only thing i can say is, we’ll never be back and we don’t recommend this place – unless maybe it’s free.



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