Sunday, April 15, 2012


The words "brasserie" and "brassiere" are often jumbled in my Pinay mind. I always have to remind myself that the former is a French upscale restaurant probably with lots of lacy decor and the latter is a restricting undergarment preferably with some bits of lace sewn in. The two words do have one thing in common. Both are relevant to feeding, with the former producing sumptuous French sustenance from its kitchen, while the latter holds the twin kitchens that produce the genetic soup that serves as the first form of nourishment we all get a taste of.


One night, after a particularly grueling week at work, our lady boss (yes, she is the type to whup yo' ass and justly deserves the title) invited us to a dinner at a newly opened brasserie in Greenhills run by the French Chef Cyrille Soenen formerly of (the now defunct) Restaurant Cicou in Makati. 

The Brasserie Cicou is located at the ground floor of the OB Montessori building along Eisenhower Street in Greenhills. The interiors, with its distressed wood and palo china furnishing, remind you of relaxing private beach houses found in Palawan or the Maldives.

Some  design elements, however, like the wine glass and wine bottle chandeliers,  give you an idea that the brassiere is run by someone with a certain sense of madness which I don't mind because dash of madness always helps when creating good food.  

The restaurant also has an open kitchen and it doesn't hurt that the chefs sweating it out to make your meal are charming young men and women.

Since the group wanted to taste a little bit of everything, we loaded up on the appetizers.
Fresh oysters
Chorizo canapes
Canapes in filo pastry served in wooden platters

The best of the bunch were the fresh sardines marinated in olive oil and served with mesclun salad and a line of black tapenade on the side. 

Since the sardines are fresh (I think they use tawilis), slathering a little of the anchovy and olive tapenade gives the fish the salty flavor Pinoys automatically look for when eating fish.

The Chef Cicou salad was a very Pinoy mix of greens, farmer's ham, gruyere cheese, roasted chicken, boiled eggs and tomatoes.

Chef Cicou salad

As entree, we had Boeuf Bourguignon or braised beef in red wine, carrots, mushrooms and cream.

Boeuf Bourguignon
I have no idea if it tastes anything like the ones made by Meryl Streep or Amy Adams in Julia and Julia. I just know that the beef was braised to buttery tenderness. As it should be, the Boeuf Bourguignon is not as salty as the braised beef most Pinoy restaurants serve. I pray for the customer who asks for "seasoning" after ordering the dish.

With the appetizers and entree done with, we proceeded to have dessert, by the plateful. 
The canelé is a 2-inch high pastry that is said to have originated from Bordeaux, France. In the 18th century, a bakers in the region formed a guild of Canauliers and made only certain types of bread, including the canelé. Suplada!
A dozen delightful little devils


There will eternally be a mental snapshot of my first bite of the Chocolat Moelleux or molten lava cake. The rich and decadent flavor of the cake should be followed by a chip of the sweet macaron and some of vanilla ice cream. This rivals the chocolate souffle cake of Cafe Lawis in Bohol.

Kouing Aman
I have never tasted Kouing Aman before and therefore have no comparison. If you are looking for a buttery, caramel treat, this is the dessert for you.

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