Romantic Le Jardin: 10 things to try
MANILA, Philippines – It's a quiet place, with speedy and careful service, without the fuss one might imagine would accompany a place that serves elegant food.
Le Jardin, tucked into the penthouse floor of the W building at The Fort, features French favorites like foie gras and duck confit, but the mood at this location is as light as the food is rich. No one will look twice if you wear open-toed sandals, not pumps, or a regular dress shirt instead of a dinner jacket. It's not a suffocatingly formal restaurant. You can relax.
We visited in the evening, trying to get a view of the city:
But here's a look at the restaurant as photographed in the daytime:
Amuse Bouche (Truffle Scrambled Eggs)
The featured amuse upon our visit: the truffle scrambled eggs, neatly placed in a glass. The eggs are pillowy and soft, its flavor subtle – it won't compete with the hit of shaved truffle you'll get in the center.
You have the option to order either a warm or cold appetizer.
House-smoked salmon – cold appetizer
Something light to start your meal, with all the components balancing the flavors.
Burgundy snails in garlic and parsley butter – warm appetizer
Duck leg confit
A hefty serving. The potatoes are actually cooked in duck fat as well – and the beans and crisp tomatoes do well to offset all the richness.
Grilled tuna steak with foie gras and truffle sauce
Tuna steak – a lighter alternative to beef or pork, but as it goes, appropriate given all the other strong flavors from the foie gras to the truffle sauce.
We let the potatoes float in that truffle sauce a while before polishing it off. Good sauce mustn't go to waste. Not a drop of it must be left. Use the bread if need be!
Braised beef cheek topped with pan seared foie gras
This plate had been licked clean by one errant writer, unnoticed by the rest of us. You would not have found the evidence.
Literally a meat-and-potatoes dish, the added hunk of foie gras up top was a welcome addition.
Even for those for whom cheese is not a passion, there will likely be something to appreciate in this diverse cheese plate, featuring 7 types. Le Jardin makes its own cheese, and this plate includes those with stronger flavors like ash, and savory flavors like chive.
Dessert de Gils
There was a guessing game at the table about the many components in this dessert. Among them: meringue, nougatine, fresh strawberries, raspberry sorbet, vanilla bean ice cream, mango puree, and balsamic vinegar. It shouldn't work, but it does – try to get all the elements in a spoonful.
Moist chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream
Poke this dessert with a fork and out comes the sinful filling, overflowing in a chocolatey pool of love.