Saturday, November 19, 2005

Food Critique: Pepato

I got to know Pepato when I was scanning the TV one night. I saw Margarita Fores, owner of Cibo and Cafe Bola being interviewed in (I think) the Lifestyle Channel and she was talking about her newest restaurant. I got intrigued and so I suggested Pepato to be our next "food-trip" destination. Here's the verdict:

The Ambiance - The mood was a bit dark and fancy. Fine-dining qualities also with the lighting and the fixtures. The ambiance alone screams expensive! But it is a nice place to chill and to have a couple of drinks with a date.

The Food - I started with the appetizers... breadsticks with a twist! At first I thought the breadsticks were are part of the table setting but it was edible so i tried it. Nothing special with the taste but the difference maker was the ingredients they used to make it like squid ink (i forget the other one) together with the bread dough formed into a breadstick. Weird huh? Yeah but innovative... Something new rather than your typical breadsticks. The dipping sauce for the breadstick was a choice between unsalted butter and herb-infused olive oil. Both dips were a good compliment to the unorthodox breadsticks. Dang and I came late so we ordered a new plate of Lamb Bone Marrow and a Grilled Austrailian Steak. Everybody had a try of everybody's order (contrary to fine-dining etiquette but who cares!?!) and the dishes were generally good. First, Venice's order, tht Lamb Osso Bucco... it was not quite what I expected since my concept of Osso Bucco was a creamy dish much like a thick beef stew but when it came it was the spanish style Osso Bucco and I didn't like it that much. Don't get me wrong it was good but I didn't like that much olives in a dish. The sidings were great though like the mashed potatoes which was broiled so there was a crust over it and the blanched spinach. The next dish I tried was Matthew's, which was the best! It was a Ribeye steak that was cooked to perfection! The meat was really tender and moist. When you slice the steak, you can see it's juices glisten. You can see the beautiful cross-section of the meat, the seared outer shell creating a barrier for the pink center. Since it was cooked medium-rare, the meat was juicy and the sweetness of the meat was trapped by the searing of the outside. You didn't need gravy or any sauce for this since the meat was flavorful enough. Oh yeah, did I mention the zuccini that was to die for? Well, I'm mentioning it now! The next dish I tried was Chinang's order, I forget what it was called but it was also good. It was sort of like tenderloin steak strips or something like that. Again, it was really cooked well and it was very tender. The sauce also complimented the meat. Maina's order was also great! She ordered a Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed with Gorgonzola Cheese... Love it! The chicken breast was very juicy and cooked perfectly from the inside out. The mixture of flavors with the walnuts gave it a little roughness and the gorgonzola cheese was a perfect mix with the neutral flavor of the chicken. The Lamb Bone Marrow and the Grilled Austrailian Steak that Dang and I ordered was not that great since the bone marrow was not quite what i expected. It smelled kinda funny so you needed to put some lemon on it to cover the strong meat smell and some salt. The only thing out of place was the truffle paste since the meat has a strong smell so why would you put another strong smelling ingredient to compliment it? Maybe Dang and I expected more and didn't get it! The Grilled Austrailian Steak was good but we didn't enjoy it that much since it was really a small piece. I knew I should have order the regular piece and not the tasting piece! Come to think of it, shouldn't the tasting piece be by all means the same with the regular piece taste-wise? I can understand the difference though since the tasting piece was kinda small and cooking it with the same process as the regular serving would definitely change it's taste and tenderness. Smaller pieces cook faster so cooking it at a longer time would make the meat tough and dry. Maybe if I ordered the regular one, the doneness of the steak would be quite different. I should have ordered the Sea-Bass instead... Well, maybe next time...

The Price - The meals are quite expensive. Prices range from Php800-Php1200 or even more! I just hope authentic ingredients are used and not substitute ones because for their price range, I am gonna expect the best!

The Service - The service was exceptional. My water glass was never empty and our breadsticks were always replenished. Very good service! They even offered to keep our food warm while waiting for the dinner latecomers. They also give you palette cleansers after your meal. Perfect service for the right ambiance!

I enjoyed our dinner at Pepato, loved their steaks and chicken. I surely will come back for the Sea-bass...

Greenbelt 2 1st Level
Estrella St.
Ayala Center
Makati City
Tel. 757-2636

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