Whenever I get invited to eat at Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center Manila (It's a mouthful, I know) I'm always on the edge of my seat. I've dined at The Nostalgia Lounge numerous times before, and it hasn't failed me yet. From an Indonesian food showcase to the Dinner Classics, I have no doubt in my mind that Oakwood's Executive Chef, Chef Jerome Cartailler, will take our taste buds for a gastronomic adventure.
After trying his takes on different cuisines in the past, I was ecstatic to be invited to try his limited time only Nostalgia Weeks French Classics Menu at Nostalgia Lounge!
I rarely pass up a Banana-que when handed to me, so let's just say the chances of me passing up a meal filled with classic French dishes, prepared by a world Class French Chef was next to zero.
I've always loved the relaxing ambiance of the Nostalgia Lounge. Yes it exudes an air of sophistication, but it also has that cozy relaxing feel to it where in you somehow ease into the surroundings and feel right at home.
This set the stage for the perfect place for us to try traditional dishes from Chef Jerome's hometown.
So just like that, me and my friends from the KTG began our hunger quest.
I was curious when our host Aleah called me over to show me one of the dishes that is prepared table side.. Of course I was a little taken aback when that dish turned out to be a salad.
Part of French Cuisine appetizers menu, is the Salade Lyonnaise (P395). Rina was urging me to try this because it had bits of thick cut bacon in it, but I decided it would make more sense to save my stomach space for the other dishes.
The salad is tossed in a Mustard Red Wine Vinaigrette, a Soft Boiled Egg, and topped with a generous amount of croutons.
I fell head over heels in love with the Quiche Lorraine (P370). The Baked Pie is filled with bits of bacon, aka Lardons, whose smokiness complimented the richness of the blend of Cream and Cheese. That pie crust was buttery and crumbled in my mouth at just the right moment.
I've had Onion Gratinee (P375), before and I can say it's one of the best you'll ever get here in the metro. It's a thin Onion Soup with cheese, then topped off with a flaky Puff Pastry Cap. A great way to start the meal.
Rina was excited to see they had Warm Oysters with Leek Fondue (P450) on their menu. She loves Oysters, and these suckers were topped with a luscious Hollandaise sauce.
I was in the 6th grade when I ate Lobster for the first time. I loved it so much that I may have overdone it a bit, leaving me with an upset stomach the next day. I was tempted to overdo it once again with the Half Rock Lobster Talk Thermidor (P650), but played it safe and just took a small bite instead. The Lobster is topped in melted cheese, and laying on a bed of Ragout, giving it a nice balance of flavors.
I got excited when they rolled a cart to our table side, obviously about to prepare yet another scrumptious dish right before our eyes. Our attendant, Johnson scooped up the raw beef, mixed it into a clear bowl sitting on a bed of ice, then mixed in some egg and other condiments. I was looking around his cart for a sizzling plate, but alas, there was none to be found.
After meticulously ensuring every inch of the minced beef was coated in the ingredients, Johnson then proceeded to plate the raw meat. I'm not a fan of anything raw, so it really didn't sink into me that this was Beef Tartar (6 oz P620/ 8 oz P720), until I saw it on the menu. I was actually holding out on my hope that they would cook the meat, which undeniably smelled quite good when all the elements were blended together. My friends Food In The Bag and Dude4Food swore it tasted amazing, and they didn't seem too broken hearted when I said I would pass on the dish and give my share to them.
After my trip to Hong Kong last year, I learned to appreciate Goose more than Duck. But Nostalgia Lounge's Braised Duck Confital'Orange (P690) reminded me why I had a love affair with duck in the first place. Despite it being deep fried, the duck meat tore off cleanly when pierced with a fork. The meat went perfectly with the delectably zesty orange sauce.
There really is something comforting about chicken, when done right, and I guarantee you, the Grilled Whole Spring Chicken (P735) on Nostalgia Lounge's French Cuisine menu was done exactly right. Served with Potato Gratin, the chicken is rubbed in an amazing blend of herbs and spices that makes it so flavorful, that the side of gravy becomes unnecessary.
A rather unique dish on the French Cuisine Menu, was the Baked Seabass in a Salt Crust (P850). A beautifully baked Seabass Fillet, encased in salt crusted doughy shell. The fish is infused with Lemon and a Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion, giving the natural flavor of the fish, and added flair.
Our buddy Johnson and his beaming smile rolled up to the side of our table once again, to prepare our next table side dish.. The Pan Fried Whole Pomfret and Roasted Almond (P990 Good for Two).
The large piece of pan fried Pomfret is masterfully filleted right in front of you, then plated with a dash of cream, and roasted almonds for added texture. The Fish is so large that it can make two plates of Pomfret, so it's great value for money.
The star of our meal was undoubtedly the Grilled Ribeye Steak Bordelaise (P2,800). A 16 oz US Ribeye Steak. The steak was cooked to a gorgeous medium and the crisscross char marks could not have been done even more perfectly. The meat had a phenomenal lining of fun running across the sides and just a touch in the middle, creating an incredible juiciness that one expects from a classic steak. Although the price tag may seem a tad hefty, when you consider that it's actually good for two, you'll be assured that it's totally worth it.
The steak came with a side order of Potato Gratin that was so delicious, I felt it needed it's own photo entry on my blog.
Words cannot describe how amazing the Oeufs A La Neige aka Snow Eggs (P195) are, but for the sake of my readers, I'll sure as hell try (Although, wouldn't it be so much easier if I described everything as "words cannot describe how good this dish is", then actually just left it at that?). Given that I'm more particular to cream based desserts, this immediately caught my attention.
Sitting in the center of a pool of a silky crème anglaise, is remarkably light and airy meringue center topped with a medley of fresh fruits. The gentle sweetness of the cream, and the delicious zing of the fruits is the ideal compliment to the subtle meringue.
Thought I don't drink, I found the Pears in Red Wine (P265) served with Vanilla Ice Cream to be quite enjoyable.
The french version of Creme Caramel (P195) turned out to be quite amazing as well.
If you're the type that loves coffee with their dessert, then perhaps you should try Nostalgia Lounge's Cafe Gourmand (P310). An Espresso is served with a platter of Mini Pastries, all that will undoubtedly tantalize your palate.
Perhaps one of the most photogenic item on the dessert menu is the Iced Grand Marnier Souffle (P225). One deep bite into these creamy souffle, you will be hit with the fragrant notes of Grand Marnier
Something- or someone for that matter- that has always made our visits to Oakwood a joy, is the lady that perfectly embodies the heart and soul of what the Oakwood experience is all about, our dear friend Aleah.
Thank you again for having the KTG over!
The Nostalgia Weeks French Classics Menu at Nostalgia Lounge is available for dinner every evening, until March 30.
Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center Manila
17 ADB Avenue
Ortigas Center, Pasig City