THERE IS NO need to travel far to experience sumptuous French cuisine, not since The Tasting Room reopened at the NÜWA (formerly Crown Towers) at the City of Dreams in Parañaque City.
A contemporary take on haute French cuisine with Asian influences is now offered by the restaurant’s new chef de cuisine Frederic Thevenet, in collaboration with restaurant manager Stephen Maroney.
Mssrs. Thevenet and Maroney have work together since 2015, most recently at Pierre Gagnaire’s La Maison 1888 at the DaNang Sun Peninsula Resort in Vietnam.
Mr. Thevenet told BusinessWorld during a media preview on Feb. 8 that the challenge of figuring out Filipino diners was what made him decide to come to Manila. “The thing, first of all, is try to think of what the customer will like, because I cannot arrive and just make my French food. I know that probably not all customers will appreciate it. You always have to do a mix following the country where you are.
“You (Filipinos) are quite open… You are eager to discover new flavors and a new style of cooking,” Mr. Thevenet said of his observations on Filipino diners.
Guests are now welcomed to the restaurant’s neutral colored yet rich interior which seats 56, this includes the main dining area for 40 guests, a semi-private area, and a bar for eight people.
The new Tasting Room offers a choice between a four-course and six-course menu showcasing dishes by Mr. Thevenet which change according to what is in season. A four-course menu is priced at P4,588++ per person and a six-course menu is P5,088++. Wine pairing is offered at an additional P2,000++ and P2,800++, respectively.
The dishes offered on the current menus include sea bass carpaccio; porcini and king prawns ravioli with green curry, endives and coconut; lobster bisque with ginger and espelette pepper; pollock (from France) with choucroute, smoked bacon, tofu, and juniper berries; and grade 7 Australian wagyu beef. The meal ends with the Chocolate Success cake complemented with lychee veloute.
To help simmer down after a filling dinner, a selection of fresh herbs — parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme — is cut, prepared in front of the guest, and served in cup of warm water.
“What we want to do is just to keep the taste of the produce as much as we can. We are not going to go with several propositions of taste in a plate. We try to stay focused with the produce because the produce is the star. If you have good produce, you have good food. If you have bad produce — bad food,” Mr. Thevenet said.
“It’s an experience — to give the guest a feel of a Michelin dining experience received in Europe,” Mr. Maroney said about dining at the Tasting Room.
Mr. Thevenet follows a simple philosophy, “Make it good. Simple,” Mr. Thevenet said. “Make it the best you can every day.”
The Tasting Room is open from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A special five-course Valentines menu (P4,900++) with wine pairing (P2,500++) is available until Feb. 16. For inquiries and reservations, call 800-8080, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com/thetastingroom. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman