When I think of 71 Gramercy, what usually comes to mind is the posh New York-style lounge filled with models, businessmen, and expats who all gather at the top of one of the tallest building in Makati, taking in the breathtaking view and networking over their favorite bottles (Dom Pérignon, anyone?) whilst some of the most popular DJs in the industry spin everything from top 40 tunes to EDM for the crowd to enjoy ’til the wee hours of the morning.
But a little well-known secret in certain circles is the Dining Room of 71 Gramercy, where Chef Carlo Miguel (of Sala fame) creates beautifully plated dishes, edible works of art, using the freshest, local ingredients to create Continental cuisine that appeals to practically everyone.
I paid the hidden gem in Makati a visit for dinner with friends a week back, and found the process of reserving a table quite easy (walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are always recommended), securing a table by the window with a lovely view of Makati’s lights twinkling below. Dinner started with wine, warm brioche and truffle butter, and quickly escalated to more interesting fare.
The deceptively simple looking Prawn Salad (Php 460) has been on Chef Carlo’s menu for over 18 years and is still a quintessential favorite among his regulars. Perfectly grilled prawns are served with a sweet Guimaras mango salsa and vanilla dressing, whetting the appetite just enough to leave you wanting for more.
The 62⁰ Egg (Php 320) looked simple enough on the menu, but is in fact a salad of assorted greens, grilled asparagus, crisped prosciutto, croutons, and big, generous shavings of Parmesan with the sous vide egg nestled in the middle of the gigantic nest, becoming the creamy dressing that pulls all the different flavors together once broken. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical and thought it was overpriced for an egg dish, and was pleasantly surprised at just how big this dish actually was.
If bang for your buck is your main concern when dining at 71 Gramercy, the Berkshire Pork Chop (Php 580) will not disappoint. Getting a small portion of the tender, juicy chop, I loved how the slightly sour and tangy Alsatian choucroute garnie married with the spicy honey mustard jus, the späetzle lending a different texture altogether whilst absorbing all the different juices on the plate.
I would choose fish over pork any day, but I have realized more often than not, fish is so easy to muck up! I was excited to see they had Chilean Sea Bass (Php 1,180) on the menu, and although it was probably one of the more pricier items on there, I was happy to see it was prepared thoughtfully – with a crisp skin that gave way to juicy, flaky pieces of fish, pan-roasted with lemon oil and served atop crushed potatoes and a savory eggplant relish.
The Tagliatelle Truffle (Php 480) smelled amazing, when our server laid it down on the table I probably spent a good full minute dreamily sniffing the earthy, delicious truffle cream quinelle that came with the pasta. Served with a 62⁰ egg and crispy prosciutto, this was Chef Carlo’s version of carbonara, and I practically inhaled the entire dish – it was gone so fast!
Now, Breakfast for Dinner (Php 580) is not unheard of, but I especially like how this plate looks like a toff’s weekend fry up. Chef Carlo adds a Filipino twist, using home-cured and smoked Berkshire pork belly served up with 62⁰ egg, potato hash, and mushrooms with tomato fondant. I know what you’re going to ask, “Is pork belly better than bacon?” Omg, YES.
While roaming about the lounge, there was a video of Chef Carlo plating a dish on loop that looked absolutely delicious, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell what it is. After asking our helpful server, we were told it was Duck Breast (P820). After getting a taste of this, one realizes what a masterpiece it is – everything from the perfect balance of organic, blushing honey-glazed U.S.. duck meat served atop crunchy haricots verts, to the sweet onion and thyme purée, with rhubarb compote and crushed hazelnuts – the medley of flavors sing in ones mouth, just aching for another bite.
The scene crowning jewel at dinner that night was definitely the U.S. Angus Choice Grade Tomahawk (P250/ 100 grams). This monstrosity is best eaten when shared with friends, and that’s exactly what happened. Served with a peppercorn jus, we also asked for sea salt, horseradish and mustard to pair with our ginormous steak. Grilled on the bone ’til medium rare and carved into bite-sized pieces, each piece was delightfully juicy with the char and the tender meat grilled on the bone all adding to the flavor.
I am happy to report that 71 Gramercy probably has some of the most delicious yet affordable hard-to-find European desserts in Makati. Take this simple French-inspired Almond Tart (Php 220) for example, with rhubarb compote encased in the crumb, strawberry purée, and an oh-so-delicious burnt butter ice cream. Funnily enough, we polished the ice cream off first before tucking into the tart, and were considering ordering some more, even though we still had two more other dessert selections on the table.
For chocoholics such as myself, you cannot go wrong with Chef Carlo’s #LEGIT Chocolate Cake (Php 320). Five textures made with three three kinds of chocolate and a vanilla cream filling, watch in awe as your server pours on warm chocolate fudge onto the circular dessert, the middle caving in and creating a small pool of luscious chocolate ganache. People may end up disappointing you, but this certainly won’t!
I haven’t had good Pavlova (Php 320) in a while, so this for me was a treat! A very generous portion of chewy meringue is heaped upon with a rich vanilla cream, pieces of white chocolate, sweet mangoes, and tangy passion fruit. We all tucked into this with gusto, the table silent as we all tried to get as much of meringue, cream, and fruit in our gobs as humanly possible.
Retiring to the lounge for the rest of the night, we found ourselves a spot on the patio, playing catch up, whilst the DJs played a mix of hip-hop and top 40 jams, keeping the crowd happy and the alcohol keeping us chatty for the most part. Yes, 71 Gramercy is a great place to network and party, but for a total foodie such as myself, I think I will be remembering this place for Chef Carlo Miguel’s mouthwatering dishes the most.
71 Gramercy is located at the 71/F of The Gramercy Residences, Century City, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca Street, Poblacion, Makati and is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, please call +63 917 847 7535.