I have so much love for the folks at Zomato – they really now how to feed me well! I joined them for a blogger get together at Chef Stephanie Zubiri’s Atelier 317. After reading so many good things about the place, I was as giddy as a school girl on her first day of school when the day arrived.
The new location of the restaurant had moved from it’s old place along Bel Air to the recesses of ‘Backwell’ – one of the hidden streets behind Rockwell, so it became a bit tough to find, and with Jericho behind the wheel, it took us a good 45 minutes of driving around before we finally found the place. We kept ending up at Burgos for some reason – it must be in the guy’s internal GPS or something.
The restaurant was filled with mostly foreigners enjoying a few bottles of wine and the good food. I got to hand it to the expats – they can really sniff out a great restaurant, no matter how damn hard it is for us locals to find.
Our comfort food feast started with Foie Gras Molo Soup (Php 300) – a rich shiitake mushroom broth made entirely from scratch with pork molo wontons made richer with a knob of foie gras in the center and delicate misua noodles entangling everything with their delicate strings.
I think the foie gras melted away as it was nowhere to be seen, but oh, how absolutely delightful this was! The soup was light yet had a nice buttery taste, which was probably from the foi gras, and the piece of shiitake in the soup had slurped up all the flavor while lending its own earthiness to the dish. This soup is also incredibly tiny, just so you know, in a soup “shot glass” almost.
I loved the very simple Flamed Kesong Puti Caprese Salad (Php 280). The light carabao milk cheese and salad tomatoes are torched on an open flame for that smokey flavor and served with a few drizzles of olive oil, a balsamic reduction and a generous sprinkling of fresh basil so you get a mix of the fresh, juicy tomatoes, with the charred kesong puti, and a that kick from the fresh basil.
The Asian Slaw (Php 280) was alright, but next to the other dishes we had that night, quite forgettable. The shredded red and white cabbage, julienned carrots, fresh sprouts, sesame seeds and cilantro are simply tossed in a light hoisin sesame vinaigrette to give the colorful veg a bit of flavor.
I loved Chef Stephanie’s take on Vietnamese Cha Ca La Vong (Php 450). Inspired from her may trips to Vietnam, pieces of dory fillet are sautéed in turmeric and lemongrass, topped with a mountain of fresh herbs and crispy shallots, and then served with rice noodles and a Vietnamese dressing. This had everything I wanted in an Asian dish – the crispiness from the shallots, delicate meat from the dory, fresh herbs, and a fresh, tangy dressing.
I enjoyed the local Crisp Chicken Bicol Express (Php 500) a lot. Pan-fried chicken thigh fillets are doused with Aterlier 317’s special Bicol Express Sauce, which was decadently rich and creamy. This is served with Portobello Mushroom Red Rice Sinangag, something one can eat all on its own.
Similar to the Bicol Express the Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken (Php 550). The crisp fried chicken thigh fillet is doused in a special roasted curry is served with cardamom scented basmati rice and fried eggplant raita – basically eggplant in yogurt.
The Balsamic Beef Adobo (Php 3,500/good for 6; Php 650/individual serving) uses prime US Black Angus Short Rib that’s slow cooked until fork tender, it is then served with fresh tarragon and ginger-orange julienne for that infusion of French flavors. Te balsamic was a nice surprise, lending a bit of sweetness to the dish and also comes with a serving of Portobello Mushroom Red Rice Sinangag.
Another favorite of mine was the Rosemary Mustard Pork Tenderloin (Php 850). The Dijon rub and white wine pot roasted pork tenderloin was tender, with very little fat, served on a bed of potatoes and apples along with bits and pieces of red onions and whole cloves of garlic, which made for different textures and tastes.
I was pretty full from tasting all the dishes and gorging on all that rice, but the folks from Zomato weren’t done with us yet. Out came a big bowl of Limoncetta (P380), Atelier 317’s version of a rustic carbonara, with spaghettini tossed in olive oil, butter and Parmesan, made richer with lemon zest and parsley, and topped with crispy bacon and an egg yolk. This is exactly how the Italian shepherds made theirs back in the day, packing the ingredients in their satchel and asking a nearby farm for some eggs to go with their meal, if they were lucky.
What’s even better than Limoncetta? Salmon Limoncetta (Php 380)! With generous slivers of salmon added in instead of bacon, the rustic dish is taken to a whole new level of delicious. I thought I’d lean more towards the bacon, but my tongue couldn’t get enough of the salmon version – the soft slivers happily marrying in with the pasta, herbs, and cheese, ensuring a mouthful of light, fresh seafood every single time. Jericho scarfed down the rest. It was a miracle he still had room for dessert.
A string of desserts came out after dinner. One of them was the Roasted Banana with Rum Muscovado Butter (Php 150) that I didn’t get to try. It looked like cooked saba with a caramel-like glaze – not really my thing, so it was just as well that I didn’t taste it.
The best dessert I had that night was the Nutella Cupcake with Truffles Cream Cheese Frosting (Php 150). This is specially made for Atelier 317 by Sweet Patti Cakes, both childish and sophisticated, it was my favorite dessert that night. The elegant looking cupcake had a creamy, Nutella center (take that, fake lava cake!) and the truffle cream cheese frosting was majorly addicting.
Even though Atelier 317 needs some work in the dessert department, the rest of their dishes deserve a round of applause every time they leave the kitchen. I also had such a great time getting to chat with the Zomato people and other bloggers while enjoying the superb food!
Atelier 317 is located at the Palm Rock Building, 6060 Palma corner Osias Streets, Poblacion, Makati. For inquiries or to reserve a table, please call +63 2 358 0987 or +63 917-830-8393