Florabel at new Estancia Mall: 12 things to try
MANILA, Philippines – I was looking for a venue that would be quiet enough for a small, private business meeting, airy enough for a sweet respite from the confines of the office, and would have a unique and varied menu with plenty for my guests to choose from.
Enter Florabel, which recently opened at the new Estancia Mall in Pasig, right along Capitol Commons, where several interesting restaurants and bars have mushroomed. The Florabel that was at the Podium closed in 2014.
At this location, with the feel of a posh garden restaurant, the food is a touch pricey – but you get what you pay for, from the service, to the servings, to the food.
Here, we found iced teas with a sorbet tops that melted slowly into the drinks, old favorites like salads and risottos trussed up with unlikely ingredients, perfectly plated and presented.
And then there was the crowning glory – dessert, a frozen brazo de mercedes that sent us spiraling into the best kind of food coma.
Here are a few things to try:
I felt the need to include the drinks below in another story called "15 ice cold drinks to get you through summer" because I think the drinks menu here is special.
The "sorbet drinks" are simply called iced teas on the menu – you would never guess that they come with a generous scoop of flavored sorbet on top that gently melts into the iced tea, subtly changing the flavors as you drink.
This is the passion fruit house tea (P195):
This is the iced mint tea (P185):
There's also a fruity lychee and peach shake (P175) to try.
Then, the salads. You won't find the usual Caesar and seafood salads here. The salads are not an afterthought. They are sizeable dishes that can double as a light lunch, not at all overdressed and with elements that pair beautifully with the summer season.
Here are 3:
The Spicy Tuna salad (P395) is the kind of thing you will choose out of the photograph on the menu, it's lovely.
Light and fresh, with plenty of summer fruits to keep the flavors swirling.
If you like prosciutto and melon, this Parma Ham and Melon salad (P355) is also a tasty option. Large slices of parma ham make the salad good for sharing.
The Crabmeat Salad with Caviar (P450) is a pretty option for your table, too. Many of the salads have a similar base – lettuce sprinkled with the petals of the blue pea, an edible purple flower – but the different ingredients really have a chance to shine.
One interesting item on the menu – Chef Florabel Yatco's Award-winning Adobo (P695). Originally a duck dish, this version is a chicken entree, with a side salad and two pieces of lumpia.
The chicken is buried under a mound of melted cheese and tomato, and comes with a generous bowl of garlic rice. It's perfectly nice – but there are many other menu items to choose from, too.
At Florabel, order to share if you can, versus getting one dish per person. This Green Tea Seafood Risotto (P695) is a treat. There's plenty of seafood here – mussels, squid, salmon, shrimp – as well as the other elements, like edemame, cauliflower, and broccoli – but none of it was over- or undercooked.
Now make sure you make room for dessert.
My favorite was the Brazo de Mercedes (P225), frozen with a sugared layer over the meringue. This was the dessert highlight for our group.
Another popular option: the Creme Brulee Torte (P245), buried under colorful fruits in season.
The cheese flavor in this Queso de Bola cheesecake (P295) is very bold, and the cake more crumbly – make sure you dip it into the vanilla sauce on the plate for the full effect.
There are ice cream options if you're looking for a colder finish to your meal. This is the Chocolate Mud Pie (P320), which includes dark chocolate fudge ice cream, a chocolate drizzle, and chocolate-dipped cherries. A gigantic rocky road cookie is the best garnish.
Make sure you get the corner tables, the ones with the plush purple couches, which can seat about 5 people comfortably.
There are options to splurge or to really splurge (other menu items include a beef burger with lobster and foie gras and a prime rib with bone marrow, both well over P1,000). But this is a good option to celebrate a special occasion, stop for an after-work drink, or indulge in a happy treat for no particular reason. Don't forget the brazo. – Rappler.com