It’s been a while since my last entry, mostly due to the dearth of good food and craft beer experiences owing to my attempted diet (which has still been successful for the most part, notwithstanding the step back I take during my perhaps too frequent cheat meals). Of note is this particular cheat meal at Atelier 317 to celebrate my mother’s birthday. This was her first birthday celebration since both her boys started their professional careers, hence the meal was their treat.
Atelier 317 is a small restaurant serving fusion food (flavors from all over Asia combined with French technique) located in the Poblacion residential area in Makati, referred to by the hoity toity as “Backwell” because of its proximity to the posh Rockwell area. While fusion cuisine itself is quite dated, I figured that this restaurant was nonetheless worth a try. We had the restaurant to ourselves on a Thursday night, aside from a Caucasian tourist having some yellow water (Budweiser) who left soon after we arrived. Interestingly, the pungent smell of truffle oil was the first thing I noticed as we entered.
L: Gambas y Chorizo; R: Lamb Gyoza, Flamed Kesong Puti Caprese Salad, Ballast Point Big Eye IPA and Hitachino Nest White Ale
The food was pretty good. The most glowering of the appetizers was the Flamed Kesong Puti Caprese, which had a nice smokiness balanced by the sweet and tart balsamic vinaigrette. To pair with our meal, we ordered the above ales from their limited but well-conceived craft beer selection from Global Beer Exchange. The menu has pairing tips for each beer, which I believe is a must for any self-respecting craft beer establishment.
As I’ve mentioned before, I seem to have hop alpha acids in my blood. My mom described the White Ale as a girl’s beer, while my dad found the bitter Big Eye IPA more fruity than the orange peel and juice-containing White Ale. Clearly, there’s no need to introduce hoppiness to my family. Pairing-wise, I loved the play on sweetness between the White Ale and the Caprese, while I found that the Big Eye complemented the more strongly-flavored tapas.
L: Truffle Mushroom Lasagna, Curry Rubbed Crisp Skinned Salmon Fillet; Balsamic Beef Adobo;
R: Crisp Chicken Bicol Express, Molten Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
Our mains were delicious as well. The Bicol Express stood out the most, with the ginger-heavy sauce providing a refreshing balance to an otherwise creamy coconut milk-based sauce. I was never a fan of stewed big fatty pork chunks, despite my love of anything with cocont milk, so having crisp pan-fried chicken instead made this dish an instant favorite for me. The other dishes were interesting, to say the least. For the most part, I loved how the dishes were subtly seasoned, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to come out. This was a must for fusion food, in my opinion, and it was this factor that makes Atelier 317’s food a success. Again, the beers paired well, particularly the White Ale with the Asian-influenced salmon, and the IPA with the spicy, creamy Bicol Express. Dessert was quite a letdown, though, but as we were already stuffed from the tapas and entrees, it was no big deal.
It’s good to see a creative restaurant offering craft beer on its menu, because it allows patrons the opportunity to experiment. That Bicol Express recipe is definitely something I’ll try to replicate at home.