“The pumpkin soup alone is enough reason for you to keep coming back again and again and again…”
There’s been so much buzz about Chef Miguel Pacheco that I succumbed to celebrating my daughter’s birthday there last night.
Chef Miguel, honed in French-inspired cuisine in both Bermuda and Vancouver, runs his own place in the burgeoning Barrio Kapitolyo restaurant row. More precisely, in the northern section of Pasig’s East Capitol Drive… around two blocks from the corner where kitschy yet iconic Café Juanita originally started.
The place billed as “Open Kitchen” is minimalist – exuding an “after-the-show-classy/casual-New York-resto”, imagineered from the ground up.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows entertain you with the fascinating street life outside while you wait for your order.
First sign that the place holds promise: the piped in music.
Not Air Supply. Not Kenny G. Not Pharell Williams.
We were made to feel at home with a little musical help from the vinyl albums of Esperanza Spalding and Miles Davis, playing on a tube-amped turntable.
The dinner was a complex-but-made-uncomplicated event.
My taste buds panicked at the explosion of delightful taste sensations – sweet, burnt, salty, confused…
Next at bat, the most unforgettable pumpkin soup I have ever tasted: savory and slightly sweetened by a small scoop of vanilla ice cream… with surprising bits of almonds swimming underneath… topped off by the bite of onion leeks.
This offering singlehandedly convinced me that I need to keep coming back to this temple of flavors. (Kept asking myself: can this be the end of my long time relationship with Cibo’s pumpkin soup? Can soup bigamy be an option?)
Then, my taste buds were waylaid by a slew of memorable appetizers…
Next, the main course(s), shared by the whole family.
(This sinful dish reminded me of its equally unforgettable next-of-kin served at Jakarta’s legendary Blue Grass Resto)
There were one or two more dishes… but I suffered a memory collapse when the dessert surprise was wheeled in. A dazzling potpourri of sweets that ranged from pastries oozing with dark and white chocolate… and a delectable cheese cake, among others.
To say that the birthday celebrant was overwhelmed is… an understatement.
Overall, Open Kitchen was a pleasant experience for us – almost matching the surprise dinner that my family arranged for me on my birthday at Mozaic in Ubud, Bali last August (the only Indonesian restaurant to be selected as one of the 100 World’s Best in the San Pellegrino Guide).
With the predictable onslaught of word-of-mouth hallelujas, I have a feeling that it will soon be hard to book a table at Chef Miguel’s kingdom.
A nice problem for this young driven guy… don’t you think so?