New Restaurant Alert: Rustique Kitchen at Pasay Road, Makati
Chef Bruce Lim is back, with his old dishes and some new ones to get your appetites excited.
G/F Leelin Building 2, Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City
Tel. No. 750-2104
Open daily from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Two years ago, Chef Bruce Lim took a hiatus from restaurant work to focus on his commissary, among many other things. But someone with passion like his couldn’t be kept away too long. With a renewed spirit, a repertoire of inspired dishes, and a big-time business partner, Tonyboy Cojuangco, who has long been a fan of his signature cuisine, the "Boss" is back. This time, he’s manning Rustique Kitchen on Pasay Road.
Cozy is the qualifier.
Rustique Kitchen takes over the former La Regalade. Save for a few minor adjustments in the façade and the interiors, not much has changed. Taking away the dividers has only made the place airier and more relaxed, and the brown tones hint at an upscale but rustic charm.
Crab Bisque, Gretchen Barretto’s favorite
Chef Bruce knows how to make people miss his dishes. Some items on his new menu have been revamped from his former projects, and it’s only upon seeing them listed that loyal fans realize how long it’s been since they’ve tried his cooking: that signature comforting style with a dash of new excitement. Fried bagnet makes it into a bowl of yellow and white corn soup, beef steak is tossed into creamy mushroom pasta, and kesong puti enriches heavenly cheesecake served with macerated fruit.
Tuna and Salmon Tartare
Sample-sized Good Ole Burger Sliders (P390 for actual size)
A sampler of the Gobble Gobble Sandwich (P360 for actual size)
Similar creativity runs throughout the rest of the dishes. Rustique Kitchen’s version of a Tuna and Salmon Tartar is one where sashimi-grade tuna is diced along with fresh salmon, and then topped on camote chips. Beautifully grilled eggplant and sautéed pork compose the Tortang Talong (P150), which is made more savory with slivers of salted egg.
Chef Bruce deconstructs his Oxtail Kare-kare (P550), which might be a welcome change to those who want control over their sauce quantities. Tender portions of meat have been simmered for hours and drenched in peanut sauce separate from a mound of bite-sized strips of tripe tossed in bagoong. Eaten with the steamed green vegetables and banana heart, it delivers the same promise the traditional version does, except this time, every spoonful may be set according to personal preference.
The Fish Market (P550) does, in fact, remind us of such a place. It celebrates local seafood in its many flavors and forms: crisp-fried danggit lends both crunch and needed saltiness to sautéed French beans, sweet dilis swim with the side of marbled potatoes. The scene stealer, however, is the lapu-lapu fillet that's been cradled and baked in a nest of pandan leaves, then glossed over with a rich and lovely marinara sauce. The fish is cooked to perfection and flakes ever so gently, with each bite punctuated with the aroma and flavor of vanilla-like pandan.
The Buko Pie (P150) is a famous dessert Chef Bruce brought over from the Chef's Table. Crumbled pie crust acts as a bed for warm coconut custard laced with fresh coconut meat strips. Like most of his dishes, it’s another display of the chef’s ingenuity and playfulness while sticking to the original intentions.
Bruce Lim is back, and he’s working his new restaurant like a practiced machine, churning out dishes that spell the success of his trademark quirky continental cuisine. Clearly, this is where he belongs.