CHECK IT OUT: Brasserie Cicou in San Juan
Traditional French brasserie fare in the heart of San Juan.
57 Annapolis Street,
Greenhills, San Juan
Tel. Nos. 661-9200, (0917) 885-8841
Open from 12 noon to 2 p.m., 6-10 p.m. (Tuesday to Saturday);
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Sundays); closed on Mondays
Cicou dishes out French food anew in Greenhills, San Juan. Click for more.
(SPOT.ph) Blame it on the typical Filipino’s reluctance to explore unfamiliar cuisine, but French food in Manila is not as easy to come by as Italian or Chinese. And finding good French food prepared in the traditional style by a chef that understands the virtues of simple, elemental French cooking can prove to be even a more daunting task. Lucky for us, Chef Cyrille Soenen has a knack for both and with his new Brasserie Cicou, the search for authentic and honest French cuisine just got easier.
Offering a wide and extensive menu with few frills but the occasional flourish, Brasserie Cicou serves up a range of authentic and honest French classics in an airy and relaxed atmosphere. The interiors, courtesy of Veronique Legris of design house Costa del Sul, have a transporting quality about them. In the large room where bleached wood tables and chairs upholstered in rolls of natural linen predominate; bursts of color and creative chandeliers punctuate the space that is reminisce of a casual brasserie on the coast of the Riviera. Even the wait staff, in their natural tops and shorts, are cool and relaxed.
In the main room, the large kitchen is visible through a sheet of clear glass and diners can watch the chefs in action. A separate wood clad alcove with cocktail tables and chairs is the perfect corner in which to enjoy a few drinks along with a selection of their daily tapas selection like the marinated sardines with goat cheese (P290) , the terrine of duck liver (P350) or assorted cheese (P560) and cold cuts (P460) presented in rustic elegance on a black tile.
The laid-back casual vibe make the brasserie perfect for all occasions. For brunch, a light lunch or a mid-afternoon snack, choose from an array of soups, sandwiches, salads and of course in classic French tradition, a range of omelets. Standouts include the pissalardiere, a thinly baked crust topped with sardines, anchovies and black olives, (P340) onion soup (P250), a classic salad nicoise with seared tuna ( P290) and a croque madame with ham, bacon and egg on wheat or white bread (P450).
Also available at mid-day is the Plateau Repas or the set lunch. A complete three-course meal consisting of a starter, main course and dessert is served simultaneously on a tray, a French bento box so to speak. With a complimentary amuse bouche from the kitchen; the set also includes a choice of ice tea or coffee (P550).
When in the mood for heartier fare and available at both lunch and dinner, the Pour la Famille section of the menu is designed for sharing and is good for 3-5 people depending on the dish. Choose from Boeuf Bourguignon, US Angus beef braised in red wine (P1350), Le Coq au vin, marinated chicken and vegetables braised in red wine (P1300,) or the Cassoulet, duck leg confit in a stew of white beans, pork belly and homemade sausages (P1300).
For those with a zeal for all things butter and sugar loaded, the top pick for dessert here is undoubtedly the kouign aman. Already enjoying a cult like following, diners drop by at all hours of the day just for a taste of the luscious caramelized crackly Breton treat served warm with salted caramel ice cream. Learn to say it now-kouign aman (kween aman). It is borderline intoxicating and better than you can even imagine.
Photos by Majoy Siason