Thursday, September 8, 2011

Affordable Fine Dining at Chef's Quarter

One day, my father suddenly had a craving for steak. We don't have steak very often, because of the cost and also because my family loves seafood more than meat. However, we do like a good steak once in a while, and it was up to me to find a nice nearby restaurant for us to enjoy some fine dining.

A few Internet searches led me to a restaurant in Robinson's Place Manila called "Chefs' Quarter." I've never heard of the restaurant, despite having been to RP plenty of times before, and when we finally found the restaurant, I realized why. Instead of being inside with all the other food establishments, Chef's Quarter is located outside, and there is no inside entrance. In short, you have to get out of the mall in order to get to the restaurant. No wonder I've never seen it before.

Despite the unfortunate location, its reputation is still enough to attract a hefty customer base, as I had seen from the many positive reviews on its page.

(Please forgive the terrible pictures, it was rather dark inside.)

Upon entering, I immediately felt the warm, cozy ambience that still exudes class and sophistication. The service was also exceptional, as a waiter attentively took our orders and speedily fulfilled all our requests.

Our first order was this large portion of Tessie Tomas Salad, which was, according to their menu, "combination of roasted prawns, marinated salmon and grilled shiitake mushrooms with mesclun salad in a creamy balsamic dressing." And indeed, it was an amazing salad. The prawns were large and sweet, and grilled to perfection, while all the other ingredients blended together to make a delicious, balanced salad that filled us up right from the start.

Tessie Tomas Salad
For our main course, we ordered a large Seafood Paella, which was loaded with large servings of seafood including squid, fish, and prawns. The rice was tender and moist and tasted of the delightful combination of different herbs and spices.

Seafood Paella
We had some pasta, their Baked Three Cheese Lasagna Bolognese. It also came with warm crusty garlic bread. The serving was huge and so it was perfect for us to share. As you can see from the photos, it was packed with gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cheese, tangy tomatoes, ground beef and aromatic Italian spices.

Baked Three Cheese Lasagna Bolognese
And finally we arrive at the star of the show: the steak. We ordered a charcoal-grilled US Rib Eye, with "cafe de paris sauce and house salad", as well as a side of potatoes. The steak was warm, perfectly grilled and incredibly tender, with the buttery mustard-y sauce complementing the beef so well. I'm not a steak expert so I can't really explain, but it was so, so good. Despite the large serving, I still craved more!

Charcoal-grilled US Rib Eye (This photo does not do the steak justice.)
I also read about the great desserts at Chefs' Quarter, but we were all extremely full by the time we finished the meal, that we couldn't eat another bite. Which is a shame, really, but I'm not worried, because I'm pretty sure I'll be back again soon.

By the way, I'm sure you're wondering about the prices! In my opinion, for a restaurant of such high quality, the prices are fair and reasonable, but of course they will be a bit higher than casual dining restaurants. Still, you'll be getting the best value for money, and anyway, it's good to occasionally splurge a little. ;)

Despite having never heard of Chefs' Quarter before, I can now confidently recommend it to all of you. It was a great experience, from the food to the service to the ambience, and everything was just amazing. If you can't come down to Manila, then you can just visit any of their other branches that have received equally stellar reviews. Enjoy!

Chefs' Quarter
1/F Midtown Wing, Robinson Place Manila
Branches: Eastwood Mall; SM Megamall; The Venice Piazza
Tel.: 567-1910

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