Of a steak to die for, Valentine’s and a taste of the good life (The Establishment at The Fort)
February 15, 2011 4 Comments
I am a relatively simple guy. (Relative to who, well, you be the judge. :))
I’m easily satisfied by a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg for breakfast. I love it when my mom cooks ginisang pechay or okra at bagoong. The office cafeteria crinkles and coffee bun make me smile. Masaya na ko sa C3 meal ng Jollibee.
For special occasions though, I want to go all fancy and showy. Especially if it’s for someone worth it.
Last night, I took my gorgeous love out to The Establishment at The Fort. It definitely is the posh-est and most opulent restaurant we’ve ever been. It did not disappoint even with the high expectations I’ve had since planning the date last month.
Earlier that afternoon, someone called to confirm my reservation. When we arrived, the reception staff were all dolled up and were very pleasant. The wait staff was equally remarkable: polite (They don’t just point you to where the restroom is, they accompany you to it.), attentive (For the duration of the night I had to ask only once for my glass of strawberry and mint-laced water to be refilled.), just the right amount of “perk” and get this, their English was spot on! (Ako na ang impressed!). A violinist was also playing that night to serenade the couples with classic love ballads and musical favorites. Perfect, perfect, perfect. As soon as we sat down our table at the Crystal Room, I knew we were up for something great.
(Ok, fine. I have to admit. Deal Grocer was instrumental for this fancy-schmancy 4-course dinner. Don’t judge.)
We started off with the Golden Camembert with Mixed Berries Compote and Warm Goat Cheese Salad. A twist to the classic cheese-fruit combination, the deep-fried yet velvety Camembert was complemented very well by the amply sweet compote. I liked it way more than the actual salad mainly because the greens weren’t crisp enough for me. Fortunately, the dressing, goat cheese and pine nuts that topped the salad redeemed the dish.
We were then served with Pumpkin Cappuccino. After the first taste, I told H my mom makes a better kick-ass squash soup, not only because it was my mom who whipped it up but because I like my soup thick and hearty. Only after a few more spoonfuls did I get what the soup offered. The cinnamon wasn’t an afterthought after all. It gave the soup that much needed kick without adding too much sweetness. Some volume was added too when I decided to mix in the froth (Pumpkin cappuccino. Get it? Get it?).
Next up, main course. At this point, our appetites have sufficiently been whet already by the two earlier dishes so we were just itching to dig in what was placed in front of us.
H had the Hainanese Salmon and Japanese Teppanyaki Rice paired with Chardonnay. The salmon she had was bigger than the standard cut one would expect and was served with an equally sizeable bowl of what first appeared and what we thought to be brown rice. The salmon was fresh and was clean to the palate while the rice was an explosion of earthy flavors – yin and yang. Perfectly chilled and appropriately sweet, the Chardonnay was definitely not out of place.
I, on the other hand, had the Pan-Seared US Beef Tenderloin with Lychee Truffle Sauce paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. Love. Love. LOVE. Undeniably the best piece of meat I have tasted, to date. The medium rare beef was faultless: seared on the outside and pink in the inside. The first bite, up to the last, was heavenly. It was something that had to be savored, not rushed as you want the taste of both the steak and the lychee truffle sauce to linger in your mouth. The meat was so tender and almost melted in my tongue. H knows it hit all the right notes with me as she saw me close my eyes one bite after the other. I could go on and on and rave about his dish but really, you have to try it to get where I’m coming from. If you will go to The Establishment just for that steak, I bet it would be worth it. The heady red wine and the grilled veggies on the side didn’t hurt too.
Whew. So after that perfection of a main course, the dinner was capped off with a plate of The Establishment’s signature dessert: Pistachio Jateau de Lupe. It was pistachio filling in between twenty layers of crepe topped with a dollop of mint cream. The dessert was surprisingly cake-y (as opposed to crepe-y), was refreshing and light and was a fitting close to the lovely dinner we just had.
Some time in the middle of the meal, H gave me her Valentine’s day gift:
Yup, a sports cap and a portable LED reading light. Once again, she wins. (Thanks love!)
All images courtesy of Deal Grocer. Sigh. Moments like this make me wish I have a P&S that’s good on low light conditions. Samsam’s a star lang pag maganda ang lighting…