As food bloggers, our routine when visiting an establishment together is to shoot (take photos), eat, savor, chat, shoot again … sometimes not necessarily in that order. That’s why when the columnist and chef-patron Stephanie Zubiri of Makati’s Atelier 317 asked this question,”what will make you go back to a restaurant?,” it seriously got me into thinking.
I could easily answer “if it’s as cheap as Jollibee!” but considering the competition among non-fastfood restaurants these days and the variety of cuisines they offer, it’s a very valid, thought-provoking question: what will make you really go back?
Good thing Atelier 317 charms you at first sight. It looked like fine dining without being intimidating. Just the perfect spot to bring your friends, family, date. It helps that the location is not in the mall but almost beside it (walking distance to Rockwell Power Plant.) Our host is proud of the fact that the street location remains one of those places in Makati which has maintained its character, with taho and dirty ice cream vendors still roaming around.
So aside from the ambiance of a place, what would make me really go back is the food. Preferably a distinct specialty which I can’t find somewhere else. In the case of Atelier 317, it’s the certain luxuriousness of their comfort food which lingers and entices. Everything probably takes inspiration from Stephanie’s image as a gourmand since she devised the menu herself.
The beef balsamic adobo (P650 for a solo order) was a standout. Tasting the chunks of meat, I could detect the perfect melding of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce & olive oil in this adobo and who knows what other talisman they put in here to make it such a delight. The fine Angus beef was so meltingly tender that it could only have been slow-cooked for hours … using the pressure-cooker is a no-no, as the owner tells her chefs.
The flamed kesong puti Caprese salad was a charmer. Because of the native ingredients, I would call this the Pinoy version of the insalata caprese. The house’s special dressing makes all the difference.I think you would love this even if you didn’t love tomatoes or salads so much 🙂
The dishes come in quick succession and by now, I already notice how beautiful the plates are. Kudos to the resto for the thoughtfulness in presentation because it adds a visual feast to the whole experience.
The iconic dish of Hanoi, cha ca la vong (P450), was presented in all its majesty. I remember tasting this when I was in north Vietnam but somehow I appreciated Atelier’s version more. If you’re ever curious what cha ca la vong is or would like to replicate it from your travels, find it here … the crunchiness of the fish blending nicely with the herbs and the sweet, tangy dressing. Crispy noodles are a nice addition.
Other must-eats at Atelier 317:
The roast pork tenderloin was perfectly made and the addition of roasted vegetables makes this an all-in-one dish.
The molo soup with foie gras (P280) was tasty without being overpowering. The resto makes their soup from scratch sans flavor enhancers so you can be assured what you are savoring is healthy, says Stephanie.
The mezze platter…. definitely good for sharing.
Apart from these, we also had lamb gyoza, a selection of pastas, truffle mushroom lasagna and the Sri Lanka chicken curry. What I pictured were my favorites from the tasting.
The dessert portion of the meal was a whirl. Looking so heavenly were these cakes from pastry chef Carmela Villegas of Casa San Luis whose packaged pastries are also displayed in the second floor of the atelier. Have your choice of the apple pie, choco lava cake, carrot cake and many others. Afterwards, pair them with Malongo coffee and Harney & Sons specialty tea.
If you’d like to KISS (Keep it Simple .. ), then look no further than this roasted lakatan banana with caramelized muscovado syrup. I swear I closed my eye for a bit to savor the flavors.
Palm Rock Building
6060 Palma corner Osias Street, Poblacion, Makati
(from Rockwell drive, turn right into Palma street after Ateneo and BDO)
Tel. No. 3580987; 0917-8308393