New Restaurant Alert: Le Jardin at W Fifth Building, Bonifacio Global City
Consider this an introduction to upscale French food without the terrifying price tag.
Le Jardin Restaurant
W Fifth Building, 5th Avenue corner 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City
Contact: 817-4458; firstname.lastname@example.org
Open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Fancy a leisurely trip to the French capital with a loved one? Don't book your plane ticket just yet, because here is a restaurant right in Manila that serves up classic French cuisine, done with impeccable execution: Le Jardin.
White gives it a cool sophistication.
The dining hall is decked out in white cushy chairs, on-trend incandescent fixtures, and manicured faux foliage. The high ceiling-unimaginable to some restaurants-is favorable to the senses, no doubt allowing the glorious natural light to breathe the space at daytime. There is beauty in every corner-the welcome foyer, the private dining sections, the enclosed smoking lounge, the wine storage room.
This level of meticulousness-down to the littlest detail-is a quality expected of Chef Gils Brault. The man behind Trois Gourmands in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, took the bold move to make French cuisine more familiar to Filipinos. In fulfilling this pursuit, he trained local chefs Hasset Go and Jonas Ng, who now lead and educate their own army of kitchen warriors. Talent, patience, and perseverance all come into play as the whole team executes traditional techniques reserved for the mastery of a French repertoire.
To fully appreciate the kitchen's capabilities, come prepared to take on the set menus available in three- to five- course options (P2,200 to P3,200). Take your seat and you are immediately offered a glass of French wine and freshly baked breads and rolls. Move on to the amuse-bouche of Truffled Scrambled Eggs and the lingering aroma and fluffy texture confirms that you have made a good decision. Choosing an appetizer from a two-page selection may be a daunting task-you'd want to try them all-but zero in on the perfectly cooked Seared Scallops with Truffled Mashed Potatoes or the Assiette de Trois Foie Gras-French duck liver prepared in three unique ways. The Escargot de Bourgogne-plump Burgundy snails swimming in luscious garlic and parsley butter-is also a good option.
Braised Beef Cheek
The task at hand becomes more challenging as you select a main course. The Braised Beef Cheek is unbelievably tender, with traces of flavorful fat melding perfectly with the seared foie gras. Not to be missed is the golden organic, local Duck Confit-a prized possession of Le Jardin's kitchen. For the non-meat eaters, the Grilled Tuna Steak delights with a topping of foie and a drizzle of truffle oil.
Cheese is next. Similar to everything else on the menu, Le Jardin's cheeses are produced in-house-inside a controlled cheese room which only trained personnel are allowed access. Made with cow's milk, the cheeses are aged to various textures and flavored with different ingredients, including ash, tapenade, rosemary-peppercorn, and truffle. You would most probably want to end your meal on this extra cheesy note. But then again, the desserts offer good reason to linger. Go for the Fondant au Chocolate, their version of a decadent molten chocolate cake, and the Dessert de Gils, a mess of a dessert created by the head honcho himself.
Fondant au Chocolate (lower) and Dessert de Gils
Unique lighting on the walls
Beyond your meal, there's more than enough reason to appreciate the presence of a classic French restaurant in the local scene. The service: ace. The quality of ingredients: top-notch. The view: breathtaking. You come to Le Jardin with an expectation to be whisked away from the harried crowd and busy hustle; you leave with nothing but a peppering of favorable adjectives for the wonderful dining experience you just had.