My time in Manila was coming to a close and that meant before long I’d be waving goodbye to sunny Manila and be boarding a plane back to London.
While I’m not one for believing in goodbyes (I’m more of a “see you later” person and considering how much I travel, it’s generally fairly accurate), I couldn’t leave without a final dinner with my crew.
Le Petit Soufflé had been on my list to try for a while but I’d just never quite made the trek over to La Población to give it a go. With its oddly fused Japanese-European menu, you just knew it was going to be one of those places that was either amazingly awesome or just downright weird.
The crew texted to say they were leaving the office as my Uber pulled up outside the mall so I made my way in alone, got us all a table and perused the menu. I ordered a Hot Matcha Latte while I was waiting – and in one fell swoop, I was won over. The latte was quite simply the best I’ve had outside of Japan.
The crew turned up and orders were placed. The best thing about being four is it maximises ordering opportunities – why have one thing to yourself when you can order four things, stick them in the middle and have a bit of each.
It wasn’t long before the instagram-ing began – just look at the focus and concentration!
To start, we settled on the Kinoko frites, the Sweet Corn Potage and the Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad. (You don’t realise how many attempts it took for my mac to accept ‘Kinoko’ and stop trying to autocorrect it to ‘kinky’. Kinky frites – now that would be worth trying!)
The sesame crusted tuna was perfect; seared just right and served with a creamy sesame dressing that was addictively good. I didn’t try to sweet corn potage as I was too busy eyeing up our mains but Kristine polished it off in a flash so I’m guessing it was good.
The Kinoko frites were a bit of a let down – super greasy even by fried foods standard and not particularly flavoursome. Pat thought they’d been cooked in reused oil…I didn’t think they were that bad but I definitely wouldn’t order them again.
On to the mains, Pam was working on a “1 good, 1 bad, 1 really bad” rule. None of us knew what this meant and were sat there wondering why would you would intentionally order bad food at a restaurant!? Turns out it’s actually her “healthy eating” plan that one of the things ordered has to be good for her, one can be a little bit bad and the other can be really bad. In line with this, we ordered the Aged Duck Confit, the Just Mac’n’Cheese and the Vegetarian Soba pasta.
The Mac’n’Cheese was wonderfully bad – goodness me, I didn’t realise how much I’d missed eating cheese. The quality of the cheese was debatable but I was past the point of caring. Taking account of this, my review is somewhat biased…but in the moment, it was heavenly.
The duck confit left a little to be desired. It could’ve probably done with a little less ageing; the meat was tough and lacking the tenderness I’m used to from duck meat. It was still tasty but being the most expensive plate on the table by far, I’d been expecting a little more. We finished on a high note with the Soba Pasta. With really light flavours and a decent portion of vegetables, we were able to mostly convince Pam (and ourselves) that the meal was reasonably healthy…at least until we saw the dessert menu.
Oh dear…so much for a ‘reasonably’ health meal. Le Petit Soufflé didn’t disappoint with dessert. It was easily the best part of the meal…we probably should’ve just started with dessert and gone from there. After fierce debate, we settled on the French Vanilla Bean Soufflé, the Valrhona Grand Crus Chocolate Cake and the Strawberry Lychee Parfait. It’s hard choice between the parfait and the Valrhona Grand Crus but for me, the parfait won it. I’m not quite sure whether it was the 25 minute wait that got us or the fact that we’d were so full but the soufflé seemed a bit below par for what was meant to be the signature dish. That parfait though…