Friday, October 30, 2015

Love at First Bite: Le Petit Soufflé

[Disclaimer: This blog will be longer than usual as we were fed really well by the generous team behind the charming Le Petit Soufflé.]

I get so giddy and thrilled whenever I receive goodie packages from Looloo. I emailed P to say thanks but her reply thrilled me even more… she invited me to one of the eat-up events of Looloo. Woohoo! After 4 months of reviewing, I finally got an invite to one of their fun events where foodies meet fellow foodies who are patient enough to allow you to take few, scratch that, several snapshots of the dishes served. And the best part of the eat- up was that it was in a restaurant that I’ve always wanted to visit. (I tried twice and failed twice to dine there!)Yes, it’s Le Petit Soufflé!!!
Hi, Le Petit Soufflé!
The charming and aesthetically pleasing restaurant is now a few months old and it still gets packed with hungry diners. 
That only proves that this restaurant is not all cutesy furniture and interiors and that it serves delectable dishes.
During the eat-up, we got a chance to meet the brilliant minds behind the restaurant—Miko Aspiras, Charles Paw and Kristine Lotilla. They mentioned that the inspiration behind the restaurant is the fact that Japanese are so fascinated with French cuisine hence the play of French and Japanese ingredients to whip up mouthwatering dishes. They also mentioned the use of greens to make the dishes look “alive”. And I guess healthy.
First served was the Tropical Basil and Cucumber drink (PHP350, carafe). Despite its dark color, it was not that sweet and in fact, it's refreshing. I liked the tinge of basil and the coolness of mint leaves. (Since this was first to arrive, it preoccupied us for more than 10 minutes, taking photos of all possible angles.

The savory dishes started to be served one after another.
Let’s start with the Kinoko Frites (PHP235).
These deep fried enoki and oyster mushrooms toasted in matcha salt are so addicting. Who would have thought that fried fungi would be this good? Don’t forget to dip it in tonkotsu mayo. It makes it even more delightful. Careful though with the thicker parts for it could give an oily surprise!
The Cheesy and Matcha Puffs (PHP175) reminded some of us of fish balls with its flat round shape. It was pretty much just like flavored bread with a hint of cheese and matcha. I guess it’s a good and light way to start your meal but I wasn't that crazy over this one.
The Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad (PHP345) was perhaps the most photogenic savory dish served. The seared tuna loin was so inviting that it made me salivate while taking photos of it. Thank goodness I did not drool. The garden greens, shimeji mushrooms, tobico and bonito flakes, topped with sesame wasabi dressing added more color to the dish.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to try it. *Insert ugly cry here.*
Team Clingy was raving about the Japanese Beef Curry Soufflé (PHP525) and most if not all of them said that it was their favorite dish in Le Petit Soufflé. It made my expectation higher and when I got to taste it, it was pretty good. In fact, I’m willing to order this when I visit again. It was the type of curry that is "curry-me-no-likey" friendly. The curry taste was definitely there but it wasn’t overwhelming. The nicely cooked cheese soufflé was a great complement to the thinly sliced US beef mixed with Japanese rice and curry sauce.
As a noodle lover, the Vegetarian Soba Pasta (PHP345) caught my eye. Made of buckwheat soba mixed with shimeji, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper in delectable shoyu sauce, this dish is a winner! Serving size though is not that much and could only be good for one to two.
Another dish that deserves the spotlight was the Foie Gras Mac and Cheese (PHP755). This awesome dish (wait, did I mention awesome yet?) was soooo good! It’s a must-order even if you’re not a fan of foie gras. The mac and cheese was oozing with flavor and it was a cheese person’s dream. Sharp, tangy, cheesy piece of heaven. Munch on some Hungarian sausage slices for some contrast in flavor.
I had a lot of squid ink dishes before and Le Petit Soufflé’s Squid Ink Rice (PHP395) was good but nothing spectacular. Well, we can’t expect everything to be superb right? 
One thing to note was that they used fresh seafood with this dish. Oh, and shimeji mushrooms made yet another appearance. Le Petit Soufflé must love this ingredient.
I wasn't really attracted to the Truffled Mushroom Hambagu (PHP595) despite its truffle cream. I had a few bites and yes, it didn't stand out. (Maybe it could have if I ate it before the Foie Gras Mac and Cheese or the Japanese Beef Curry.)
After trying all the savory dishes, I started to munch on French Toast (PHP295). It is Le Petit Soufflé’s signature brioche French toast served with maple syrup and whipped cream and it is worthy to be called a signature dish. It was soft, light on the palate and simply lovely. You can even enjoy it as is sans maple syrup and whipped cream.
When Le Petit Soufflé served the sweet endings, I felt like Gretel being fattened with sweets. I was overwhelmed with the choices they gave us. And with foodies, we do not know the word “choice”. We do not choose. We try them all!
First ones I tried were the hot soufflésMatcha Valrhona Ivoire 35% White Chocolate Soufflé (PHP350) and Valrhona Guamaja 70% Dark Chocolate Soufflé (PHP350), both served with vanilla crème Aglaise.
Both were delightful but I’m more in love with the dark chocolate version. It was richer in flavor and definitely dark. It made my taste buds go ooh la la.
The matcha soufflé had a nice not so strong matcha flavor to it but I guess I’m more of a chocolate person than matcha. (Unless it’s mochi we are talking about.)
After taking a 10 second break, I decided to try the frozen soufflés next.

The Valrhona Aragauni 65% soufflé (PHP325) with mixed berry confiture was good though forgettable. The taste wasn’t that strong to make an impression.
Sadly, same goes for Pistachio frozen soufflé (PHP400). Or maybe it could have if I poured some cherry Griottine confiture. Then again, I’m not fond of pistachio and I dislike cherries.
The hot soufflé pancakes—Matcha Soufflé Pancake (PHP180) and Classic Soufflé Pankcake (PHP160) were next.
The Matcha Soufflé Pancake had a nice light matcha taste. Dashed with icing sugar and matcha powder, it was a sight that could capture your tummy. It is at its best with crème Anglaise (light pouring custard).
On the other hand, the Classic Soufflé Pancake reminded me of bibingka. It has this similar fluffy texture and it made me crave for salted eggs.

And speaking of salted eggs, one of the other deserts served that night were parfaits and one was the Salted Egg Caramel Parfait (PHP195).
Not everyone liked this one as it was not your usual dessert. A mix of vanilla custard and salted egg custard with caramel sauce, peanut brittle and almond dacquoise (cake), it was something that took us a bit of time to appreciate. It was good though with the classic soufflé pancake. It was an unexpected Christmas treat!
I loved the Matcha Parfait (PHP195)! The matcha custard base softee was yummy and it was made even more interesting with the Valrhona Equatoriale 55% crumbs, adzuki beans, jelly and mocha for texture. And just like the first parfait, this one had two chocolate pretzels too.
I wasn’t able to note down the Watermelon Cake’s price but it was also one of the least popular desserts that night. I was surprised that it was salty but I was told that they could have put some salt on the watermelon for contrast with the chiffon cake. Hmm… that’s possible.
Another dish I failed to  take note of was the Manchego Cheese Cake. It had a nice sharp tangy cheese taste. But for as something to end my meal, it was a bit too flavorful.

Aside from the Valrhona darkchocolate soufflé, one other sweet that caught my attention was the Matcha Custard Base Softee (PHP95). Charles P. said that it is one of Le Petit Soufflé’s underrated items and I agree. This one is awesome! Rich matcha taste! It was sweet yet not too sweet to the point that you’ll question if it’s still matcha or not.
Overall, it was an amazing dining experience. The dishes were great and just writing it down makes me want to go back now. Again, thank you, Le Petit Soufflé! Thank you, Looloo, for the wonderful night!

Le Petit Soufflé is located at 3rd Floor, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca St. Barangay Poblacion, Makati City.
Le Petit Souffle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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