DUCK AND BUVETTE (D&B) Menu
I blogged about Cafe Provencal several months ago, noting how it had managed to stay put for 15 years, but after the old restaurant closed down, I deleted the review afterwards. I had a small intuition at the back of my head that it was preparing for something new, and several weeks later, an Intelligentsia popup store started serving teaser coffee. Right then, I knew, Cafe Provencal was joining the Third Wave Coffee bandwagon.
INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE & TEA – The Big Three of Third Wave Coffee
And then, Duck and Buvette was born, being the first in the metro serving Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. Intelligentsia hails from Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the Big Three leaders of the Third Wave Coffee movement, along with Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, Oregon, and Counter Coffee Culture of Durham, North Carolina. So far, Stumptown Coffee Roasters have my vote, having tried back in Thinking Cup Boston, Massachusetts. (And yes, a review is coming up 🙂 ) I have yet to experience Counter Coffee Culture.
Duck and Buvette is more than just Third Wave Coffee, as it aims to be a cafe and bakery (soon). It follows the rampant slew of gastrotheque, artisanal cuisine in town. Being a casual French bakery and cafe meshed with Specialty Coffee makes it strategic particularly in the area of Shangrila Mall. No other third wave coffee shop is served in the area, except Duck and Buvette.
Cafe Provencal is hardly recognizable but the spirit lives here and there. I can still remember its dark orange painted walls and the French painting that hung in the corner of the interiors. Now, a hidden cabinet for pushing used plates cleverly replaces the old, obscuring the mechanisms of the restaurant. Duck and Buvette serves to be better than its predecessor, emphasis on its duck tiles flooring and duck figurines.
I note that customers who dine here are regulars of Cafe Provencal, oohing and aahing over the half Duck Confit and Grilled Chicken Provencal. Though in soft opening it has managed to gather some loyal followers. Cafe Provencal didn’t totally die with its customers.
Service was polite and concerned, something that used to be absent back at Provencal, and something that I appreciate.
The Buvette concept comes from French cuisine serving smaller portions of available ingredients in French markets, and Duck and Buvette knows where to position itself, with their wide variety of small samplers such as Maple Candied Bacon, Jacq’s Duck Rillette (by Chef Jacq Tan), Crispy Potato Pave and Salty Duck Egg, mostly influenced by French countryside techniques. Duck and Buvette’s menu has Cafe Provencal spirits here and there, with Burrata to compete against Gino’s.
Duck and Buvette reminds me of SAVEUR in Singapore (the latter serving the cheapest duck confit at SGD10). I skipped the Buvette and save that on my next visits.
EL DIABLO – Signature Dark Roast – P160
EL DIABLO: Caramelized Sugars, Chocolate, Resonant Finish
I liked that Duck and Buvette kept their coffee selection distinct. From the list of Pour Over Coffee available, I already knew what I wanted to get. Flecha Roja Costa Rica is their Single Origin of the month but El Diablo caught my eye. It won over Black Cat Classic from Brazil. Knowing Brazil’s beans commonly full-bodied and well-rounded in taste, it will make me incredibly full and lose my appetite before my main entree.
El Diablo was phenomenal, a close call to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I skipped the milk and sugar provided since it was best this way. Light yet resonating in each sip. Neither bitterness or sourness was present, which is great for me.
Duck and Buvette uses the pour over method with V60 ceramic drippers. (More brewing methods for your information here in my article.) Suprisingly, no La Marzocco machines, but only Unic Twin Rumba espresso machine is used. You can buy El Diablo coffee in packs at Duck and Buvette for P1250.
The barista was familiar with different coffee beans in the Third Wave coffee movement, something I didn’t see present in different shops I visited. You can also grab a to-go Intelligentsia cup if you just need to drink.
CONFIT PORK BELLY WITH POACHED EGG AND RICE – P360
D&B Egg Sandwich was in my mind as I scanned their menu but the staff told me only the Bikini Sandwich and the French Dip Roast Beef Sandwiches were available at that time. I didn’t like the thought of Bikini Sandwich. Quite frankly, the ham and cheese sandwich was coated with flowery terms hailing from Barcelona’s way of cutting their sandwiches. Confit Pork Belly with Egg and Rice was the second choice.
“Con-fee” Pork Belly is a very dangerous dish. Slowly cooked in duck fat, check out that thick slab of fat in my pork belly. Sitting beside it is a poached egg on the side that had an interesting story to it.
I sat beside two old ladies who were having lunch together. One of them also ordered Confit Pork Belly, without the poached egg, shortly after they took my order. The staff served the old lady first (which was presumably my order since it had poached egg on it) and gave mine without poached egg. The old lady nearly went berserk at the sight of the poached egg. (Glad she didn’t touch it.)
The staff repeatedly apologized for the mistake. I was forgiving but you know, things like this rarely get missed from write-ups. “Soft opening”, they say.
Confit Pork Belly is remarkably delicious, save the fact that its fat is maddening. Balsamic reduction and raspberry sauce should be more than what’s artfully drizzled on it, perhaps more balsamic reduction on the side would cut the meat and the fat and give more acidity to it.
It was very rich in taste. But it was passable. Small portions, but good.
A hefty 20 minutes took before they served me the Confit Pork Belly. Glad I had El Diablo to accompany me.
Surprisingly, it was a meal quite satisfying amidst the small portions. I was offered Earl Grey cheesecake and Pineapple Macaroons from their dessert line but I couldn’t manage anymore.
The Verdict: The Duck is an Embellishment to the Already Excellent Intelligentsia Coffee
The Duck was a passable sidekick to the already-expected excellent coffee served at Duck and Buvette. I believe the Intelligentsia Coffee alone would survive without the ducklings. If Manila will be going 10 bar similarly to Intelligentsia’s feat in the United States, it would be a good fight for the third wave coffee supremacy here in the metro, a coffee chain that Toby’s Estate has to watch out for.
If you are going to dine at Duck and Buvette make sure you order coffee, and not just the Duck Confit or the Bikini Sandwich. To do so would be a crime committed, missing out the legacy Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters is building in coffee industry. I’ll be keeping a close eye at Duck and Buvette and return for more Buvette plus their Black Cat Classic that’s also popular in the line of Intelligentsia Coffee bean, perhaps when they start serving more dishes in their promising menu.
DUCK AND BUVETTE (D&B) Rating:
|Taste and Originality:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.1 / 5)|