THE POTENCE STEAK Flambé’s actual flambe before serving.

JUST IN case you missed it, the doors of Chateau 1771 are open again, having moved from Greenbelt to One Bonifacio High Street.
The restaurant, known for its European cuisine, first opened in 1771 Adriatico St. in Manila’s then- hip Malate district in 1988. It has since expanded to several ventures, notably: Sentro 1771, Cafe 1771, and Flatiron 1771.
At a tasting earlier this week, BusinessWorld tucked into a luxurious steak flambe called the Potence — grilled beef tenderloin finished off with a brandy flambe — and then Mahi Mahi with Lime Butter Chorizo, which is the best fish dish this reporter has tasted in months.
These are all classics in the Chateau 1771 menu, which has moved from one location to the other through the years. Unlike the company’s other ventures such as Sentro 1771, there is only ever one Chateau 1771. “There’s only one Chateau, because there’s only one Vicky,” said owner Ricky Gutierrez about his business partner, COO, and Executive Chef Vicky Pacheco. “If you have too many,” he adds, “It doesn’t become unique anymore.”
The journey of Chateau 1771 can be linked to the evolution of the Filipino dining and business scene. “We move where the growth is,” said Mr. Gutierrez. For example, the first Chateau was built in Malate, back when the Manila district was the center of social life in the 1980s. When the Asian Development Bank moved to the Ortigas Center, the restaurant followed suit in the 1990s. As the Ayala family’s development of Makati chugged on, the restaurant took up the offer to open in Greenbelt 5. Now, with businesses moving to Bonifacio Global City, Mr. Gutierrez deemed it fit to move Chateau to its present location.
While there were certainly other European restaurants in the country before Chateau 1771, Mr. Gutierrez points out the difference that they made in the scene back in the 1980s, which continues today. “We took it out of the hotel,” he said. He points out that for a time, the best restaurants could only be found in hotels, but, “We wanted to do something that was out of the hotel that the general market could afford… that could match the standards and the quality of the hotels.”
Chateau 1771 seems to make a mark, if diners follow it wherever it goes. It has more than survived; it has thrived, but how? “It’s our passion — which everybody says,” said Mr. Gutierrez. “It’s really the details that matter,” he said, pointing to the care in the food, the service, and the training provided to staff.”Basically, the soul that you put into it.” — Joseph L. Garcia