CHECK IT OUT: Draft Gastropub at The Fort Strip
Celebrity Chef Carlo Miguel introduces European comfort food to the bar scene.
Fort Strip, Taguig City
Tel. Nos. 846-9725/0906-248-1214
Comfort food, Carlo Miguel-style. Click for more.
There's comfort food and there's comforting comfort food-one that actually succeeds at giving guiltless gastronomic pleasures minus the heart attack. A modest watering hole where people can hang out and relax after work, Draft Gastropub at the Fort Strip easily falls under the latter category.
Draft's ambience evokes that friendly, "homey" vibe. The lights are a warm, welcoming shade of yellow, and caramel-colored woodwork embellish the space. Music that’s oddly familiar blares in the background, and it’s not from the tired Top 40 tunes list. Instead, a nostalgic medley of hits from the 80's and 90's dominates their playlist. "Like the songs you grew up with," said Draft Marketing Director Ivan Zalameda.
The Draft menu contains some of celebrity chef Carlo Miguel's personal favorites, ones that remind him of his days in Australia. At first glance, one would immediately notice how it's bare of the local comfort food Pinoys are used to like sisig, chicharon, or adobong mani. The menu, after all, is strictly European. Infusing his gourmet skills with homegrown recipes, Chef Carlo intends to introduce European cuisine in a "non-threatening" way that puts all the fanciness aside, and instead, concentrates on simple, great-tasting food.
And while Draft may not serve the usual pulutan fare, these dishes definitely hit home. Start your meal right with Breaded Camembert Cheese (P320)-that's cheese steak for you and me. A beautiful tower of pear chutney, mustard cream, cheese, and lettuce, this dish combines varied tastes and textures that really works up the palate. There's a slight crisp from the leaves, tanginess from mustard, richness from cheese, and sweet spiciness from cinnamon. Like most of Draft's dishes, the Angry Drunk Mussels (P590) is flavored with European beer (Draft offers over 30 varieties, by the way). Steamed with Hoegaarden beer, there are hints of zestiness mixed in with the flavors of bacon, chili, onion, and parsley. The mussels are huge in size, and are imported from New Zealand.
Fish and Frites (P350) or fish and chips is a fail-safe option for the wary customer. Sole fillets are cooked to perfection, with the Becks beer batter fried to a crunchy golden brown. The secret, so it seems, lies in Chef Carlo's special tartar sauce, which adds a nice sharp sweetness to the fish. In the mood for pasta? The Pappardelle (P390) is what most Filipinos would call "spaghetti," only its the tangy Bolognese kind with a liberal amount of parmesan sprinkled over perfectly al dente flat noodles. Instead of ground meat, it uses actual chunks of beef for a meatier finish.
Finally, end your meal with a bang-Chef Carlo recommends the Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding (P220), a scrumptious cake served a la mode with rich butterscotch sauce.
Photos by Sasha Lim Uy