The Japanese influence on Chef Patrice Martineau’s take on French contemporary cuisine is unmistakable.
Until Saturday, June 30, 2012, Old Manila at The Manila Peninsula is featuring a new menu by the French chef, who is the star of The Peninula Tokyo’s hip restaurant, Peter.
His dishes are surprisingly different, and yet familiar, layering the typically clean but complex flavors of Japanese food to traditional French cuisine.
Unusual pairings of food
What’s different stems from unusual pairings that somehow work.
The marinated scallops were topped with mango-passion fruit chutney, spiced watermelon and finished off with a pouring of watermelon-citrus broth infused with wasabi. It was perfectly light and flavorful.
The chef’s Tasmanian salmon confit was served with a caramelized fresh fig—a curious choice—along with the smoked salmon salad and potato tempura. It was a strange combination to see on your plate at first, but the jury was in with the first bite. The fig lends a subtle sweetness to the otherwise savory fish, and the crisp potato adds contrast to the soft smoked salmon.
The juiciest chicken
The red-label chicken was poached in a creamy but not cloying champagne sauce and paired with a mushroom fricassee and celery.
In France, red-label chickens are considered expensive, as they are raised under strict rules in terms of what they’re fed, what their living conditions are and how long they’re reared.
Poaching gave the already good quality chicken softness and juiciness with every bite.
Unusually light and clean
Lastly, the Pavlova-like dessert of Apple-Citrus Vacherin with Granny Smith Gelee, cider reduction and Chantilly cream was the perfect ending. The crisp-on-the- outside, chewy-on-the-inside meringue paired with cream, apple and topped with yuzu powder was sweet and tangy and very refreshing.
Although the words light and clean aren’t usually top of mind when I am describing French cuisine, it was exactly what I was thinking while having my meal.
The flavors were unique, but subtle, and even the cream-based dishes were surprisingly not over-the-top—a very different experience indeed from typical French food. #
Chef Patrice Martineau’s menu will be available at Old Manila until Saturday, June 30, after which we will culminate his week-long stay with a cooking class of the week’s best-selling dishes. For reservations, call The Manila Peninsula at 887-2888 or 810-3456.
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Erica Paredes has been working in the publishing industry for almost a decade as a fashion and beauty editor, newspaper columnist, stylist and make-up artist. Nowadays she juggles her time between food and fashion, beauty and travel plus mommy duties to her 8 year old daughter.
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