Saturday, March 12, 2016

First Bite: Atelier Vivanda

I yearned to visit Atelier Vivanda ever since I saw an Instagram post about its grand opening and the fact that it is a two-star Michelin restaurant. I wanted to have dinner there for Valentine's but I was a bit too late to make a reservation. Luckily, R's dad decided to celebrate his birthday there (and it was just one day ahead of mine). Yay! 

Hello, Atelier Vivanda!

It is... not as fancy as I thought. I read a bit about the restaurant and it sounded so formal hence I was surprised that the place is pretty casual. I also had this impression that the place is huge and majestic. But the place is quite small. In fact, it is very cramped.

R and I headed straight to the second floor where R's sister reserved a table for everyone. The space upstairs seemed to be even more cramped. The waiters can't avoid bumping into the diners' chairs or backs and it is never pleasant to experience this.

Anyway, R and I opted to get the set menu for PHP1,900. It comes with an entree, mains, unlimited side dishes and dessert. I got Potato Soup for my appetizer, Vendee Yellow Chicken Breast for main, and Custard for dessert. R went with Whole Cooked Foie Gras, Black Angus Hampe, and Crème Brûlée. The server who assisted us offered to let us try all their potato side dishes.

Since the place was packed when we visited, it took them quite a long time to serve our dishes. It was almost 20 minutes in when the appetizers arrived. 
I was not impressed with R's foie gras. It was a bit dry and seemed like a solidified foie gras pate. 
I loved my soup though. It was thick and rich. Serving was also very generous. Actually, a bit too generous as it was too heavy as an appetizer. It was delightfully creamy with lovely tanginess from the Comté cheese and tinge of saltiness from the smoked haddock. 

In about 20 minutes, our mains were served.
R's black Angus steak seemed to be a bit small and rather thin but taste-wise, it did not disappoint. Cooked medium, the meat was succulent and nicely seasoned. 
It was flavorful enough for you to also appreciate the natural flavor of the meat
The Vendee Yellow Chicken Breast was also good. It was also juicy and had a nice crisp skin. Not a single bite was bland. Though serving size was also small and the chicken breast was a tad oily. 
The sides and salad were served while we were enjoying our mains.
I had a big bite of the greens to help cleanse the palate. And sadly, it is just your usual straightforward salad. It didn't leave much impression on me.
All the sides served were potatoes and I felt that it's Atelier Vivanda's way of making its diners feel full and think that they got their money's worth. 
Well, the baked potato balls with herbs and gratin were pretty good. (Tip: Ask for their signature ketchup for this.) 

The desserts, custard and crème brûlée, were also pretty good. 
First served was crème brûlée and it had a nice and crisp layer of caramelized sugar. The inside was smooth and had a nice light taste perfect to end a heavy meal (of potatoes). 

The custard took forever for it to be served. We had to follow it up twice just to get it. But our annoyance disappeared as soon as the lovely slice of custard pie appeared.
Served with a tiny scoop of salted caramel, it created a nice contrast between the warm custard and the cold ice cream. I didn't really enjoyed the ice cream for it had a rough texture. The custard though was great. It reminded me of egg tart with its smooth fill and flaky crust. 

Overall, food was great but ambiance and service were not too good. I hope that they rearrange their tables to make it roomier for diners. 

Atelier Vivanda is located at U-A8 Forbes Town Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. It is open from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. For reservations, contact them at 848 2632 (VIVANDA) or +639 18 848 2632 (VIVANDA). 

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