Location: Ground Floor, 148B Level R1 Power Plant Mall, Lopez Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 2am
Reservations: 02-5564454; 09178329828
Facebook: CDP Global Table
There is the Head Chef, then there is the Sous Chef. Behind the scenes, there is Chef de Partie. Chef de Partie has one of the most important roles in the kitchen, and manages a small team of workers and ensures that the kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine. Like any other operational managers, Chef de Partie’s work in the background and oversees the preparation, cooking and presentation of the dishes before the dishes get out of the kitchen. Not at Chef du Partie. (and no it’s not an incorrect French grammar.)
Located beside Mamou Too, CDP or Chef du Partie takes the limelight, creating whimsical plates from globally popular cuisines that delight the tastebuds from Fritto Misto to Truffle Maccheroni. Our expectations are very high from the trio of culinary giants who are the heart of Chef du Partie, exquisitely drawn in CDP’s caricature logo: Malou Fores of Mamou, Mamou Too, and Recovery Food; Kristine del Gallego-Locson of Lu and Katrina Alcantara-Kuhn of Mesclun and Chuck’s Deli. I feel like I am getting sampler dishes from Mamou’s steaks to Chef Katrina’s sourdough breads and charcuterie.
The ambience and detailed architecture spells the marriage of Paris and New York rolled in one restaurant. I found CDP resembling a smaller Jamie’s Italian, with bar seats for those who wanted a quicker meal. Chef du Partie’s elegant ceiling would make you feel like you’re transported in France in the blink of an eye, but seeing the hospitable customer service that the place unusually has, we are back in Manila.
Hot sourdough bread is served with butter for all tables while you wait for your order.
Common Dishes Elevated for the Elite
Make no mistake in picking out the dishes for your lunch or dinner; Chef du Partie’s prices are expensive and the bill can easily balloon for anyone who lacks the understanding for these small plates. Several of Chef du Partie’s serving sizes are meant for one or two people and the idea is to taste as many of their dishes as you can to get a bigger picture of the restaurant’s concept. I found some of it quite common in other countries and its level of cuisine raised high just because it wasn’t serve as a mainstream dish in many restaurants here in the metro.
Steak Frites Poutine – P1440
Take for example, our appetizer: the Steak Frites Poutine. Poutine is rather a Canadian fast food dish that is commonly served in pubs in Quebec, and even in McDonalds or KFC branches in Canada, where steak poutine is sold mass market. At Chef du Partie, 300g of USDA steak cubes, presumably a brainchild of Mamou Too, sits on a bed of gravy-drenched French Fries. Blue Cheese and more gravy on the side plus kesong puti cubes tossed along with the steak ~ anyone can get a heart attack for the amount of fat that is present in this dish.
It is of course, delicious for the hungry as it is quite the ultimate comfort food, minus the price tag attached to it. Badly put, its tough to eat at Chef du Partie with a hungry stomach. I find the French Fries not stellar that supposedly should bring the qualities of the restaurant. It didn’t seem home made.
The steak was cooked medium well. It wasn’t the best steak and not entirely life changing but it wasn’t that bad either. The blue cheese felt like a gaijin.
Maine Lobster alla Vongole with Manila Clams – P1195
In Italy, Vongole is very common and popular particularly in Rome. We are so used to our daily Bolognese and Carbonara that Vongole hides and makes itself available only to the Italian restaurants. Vongole is traditionally pasta served with clams. In Chef du Partie’s rendition, very buttery, al dente pasta (as what it was very much to me) are topped with Manila clams. Arguably these bivalves are quite the best in the world and elevates local ingredients, especially with Maine Lobster.
But then, why should it be pricier when the clams are so named after our beloved city? To the curious, Venerupis philippinarum or Manila clams are abundant in the Pacific Ocean though Japan initially exported these species into our country back in the 1930’s. Manila clams do need a lot of soaking as these contain high saltwater content before they can be cooked. It really brings the best in the vongole. Four years ago, Manila clams are selling for P60 per kilo.
I have a special spot in my heart for New England cuisine. Lobsters in Maine and Boston are the BEST in the world and is just delicious even just in the form of fast-food lobster rolls. The meat is so succulent, sweet and juicy. Perhaps this comprises better half of the amount.
But don’t get me wrong. Chef du Partie’s Maine Lobster Vongole is delicious, plain pasta love. I adore the springy pasta, so engrossed in olive oil that it slips my fork before I can eat it. As simplicity brings out the best in vongole, there’s just olive oil and the freshness of clams that enhances the dish.
The Verdict: Chef du Partie Menu is Dressy
It’s hard to gauge the success of Chef du Partie while on soft opening simply because Manila’s top foodies are flocking this restaurant as it is new and that it is created by a trio of chef magnates that came from successful restaurant brands. It is a great experience I’d like to impart that you shouldn’t just absorb everything that’s being placed in front of you, but rather approach it with an inquisitive mind and learn from it.
Chef du Partie is as dressy as its brick and mortar.
David Chang of the Momofuku Noodle Bar in his book “Momofuku” was very fond of the saying, “Food doesn’t need to be in fine dining or pricey in order to be delicious.” I found Chef du Partie’s menu to be on the extreme lowest and highest scales, with prices that would be fitting for a fine dining setup rather than a casual restaurant. Prices are too extreme for a daily snack and more for a ladies night out versus family gatherings.
On the other hand dishes like the Pig’s Ear Fries at P195 didn’t appeal to me. It sounded like an elevated chicharon dish. Truffle Maccheroni was in the average price range for the lot but Maccheroni, should you be unaware, is simply the Italian origins of the word Macaroni, to make it sound more dressy and pretty. And anything that’s prefixed with Truffle should be proceeded with caution
CDP is a good option if you’re with expatriate company, looking to impress anyone with the talents of Filipino chefs. But I would “quasi”-recommend Chef du Partie to the cautious tastebuds, those willing to shell out a bit of money to try their globally-inspired cuisine.
Chef du Partie (CDP) Rating:
|Taste and Originality:||( 3 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||( 3.5 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||( 2 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||( 3.5 / 5)|
|Average:||(3 / 5)|