Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: a Kitchen Musical experience, sans the music.

One of last year's novel concepts on the telly was a series on musically talented kitchen and restaurant staff. This pan-Asian show was entitled "The Kitchen Musical". Filipino actors were part of the cast and crew. In that show, much of the drama going on among staff of a fine dining restaurant occurred as they practice mise-en-place. At pre-service meetings, the chef usually asked for wine pairings. A common feature among episodes is a focus on the plating and presentation of the food, from appetizer all the way to dessert. Two receptionists,with their outrageous hair and clothes, provide the humor to otherwise dramatic sequences.

Another thing I noticed about the show is that the footfalls of people could be heard subtly (or am I the only one who heard them?). Perhaps the wooden floors gave the actors an easier time in carrying the props and walking in sky-high heels... I don't know. Then there are the lights. They all seemed to fall beautifully on the plate and on the food! Never mind the cameos posing as restaurant clientele; My eyes kept focusing on the food.

And have I mentioned that the cast spontaneously broke out into song?

Anyway... I never thought that I'd go to a restaurant that mimicked The Kitchen Musical (only in real life) on an ordinary Saturday; no birthdays nor anniversaries. But I did, with my sister in tow, as usual. For this "life imitating art" experience, Anna and I ended up eating lunch at Aubergine Restaurant and Pattiserie in Bonifacio Global City.

Anna and I opted to go ala carte because the degustation menu would severely injure my wallet. After getting our orders, the server gave us two loaves of bread each, a potato bread and a pretzel bread, with dishes of butter and hummus. As we waited for our main course, the server dropped by again to give us an appetizer sampler of finely chopped smoked salmon on salad greens. A few minutes later, my food arrived: grilled Chilean sea bass on porcini mushroom risotto with asparagus and tomatoes.

The food was delicious! I've been avoiding sea bass for the longest time because I'm scared of eating seafood (thank you, allergens) but I'm apparently okay with it. I was able to enjoy the richness of the risotto, the lightness of the fish, and the crunchiness of the asparagus. Being served on a platter, I thought that the serving was pretty small. However, I felt full as soon as I got to my last spoonful... Full, but still with room for dessert.

For dessert, I chose the mascarpone nougat ice cream bar with rhubarb jelly, fresh blueberries and strawberries, and creme brulee.

That dessert, which I normally describe as "deconstructed" (because I'm reminded of food being served in a similar manner in Iron Chef) was so good! The individual components didn't overwhelm each other's flavors. The sourness of the fresh fruit provided a counterpoint to the sweetness and creaminess of the creme brulee and the ice cream. What a contrast! It's my first time to encounter rhubarb and I couldn't remember what it tasted like because I was eating it along with the creme brulee. Not surprising, because the flan blew me away. Thank goodness I had taken a photo of the main course... Otherwise, I would've forgotten it too, just like what happened when I first ate at Dalcielo's

With food of that caliber, I'm not surprised that Aubergine has been included in one of the Miele Guides. Looks like our list of places to bring Mommy, Daddy, and Biboy to has gotten longer by the addition of Aubergine.

And no, the wait staff and the kitchen staff of Aubergine did not break out into song.