Tuesday, August 15, 2017

First Bite: Aruga Cafe by Mesclun

Mesclun is a familiar name for those who frequent Ortigas and Serendra. It has been a favorite of mine ever since my first bite of its Sisig Spaghetti. And last month, this superb restaurant found a new home in Aruga by Rockwell.

Hello, Aruga Cafe by Mesclun.
Mesclun's newest cafe is the first thing you'll see once you enter Aruga. And I was warmly greeted by the front hostess who introduced me to Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara, the talented chef behind Sisig Spaghetti and a lot more.

I headed towards the function room (that could easily fit 20 guests) where some of favorite foodies were waiting. And since it has been years since I last saw Frannywanny, I made sure that I get to sit beside her. (After all, we were sort of seatmates back in 2010.)
Chef Kat gave us a short yet sweet introduction of Mesclun and gave us a rundown of what to expect for lunch. But all eyes were at the eggs menu. As egg lovers, we drooled at the idea that we could enjoy eggs the way we want it. Poached, sunny side up, boiled, sous vide, or even how our grandmothers prepare it... sarciado.
Though Aruga Cafe by Mesclun has a mini buffet, we focused on its a la carte menu. And I started off with some of Mesclun's complimentary bread and butter. Its light taste was a perfect starter.
I also liked Mesclun's Tamarind Iced Tea (PHP125) as it was not the usual drinks you get elsewhere. It reminded me of tamarind candies that I used to buy in supermarkets.
First served were the Mushroom and Spinach Empanaditas (PHP345) and Buffalo Balls (PHP375).
The empanaditas were delightful! I love how the truffle oil made this appetizer heavenly. Each piece was so fragrant that I can't help take a big sniff before savoring it. And it having garlic too made it so hard for me to resist another bite.
I thought that the buffalo balls were kwek-kwek from afar because of its color. But it was actually chicken balls coated in buffalo sauce with blue cheese sauce as dip.

This one's great too and will definitely whet your appetite with its slight spice. Think of buffalo wings without the bones.
A beautiful bowl of French Onion Soup (PHP270) was served next and I couldn't help notice the mouthwatering torched Gruyère cheese on top. And the first sweet bite was memorable! 

The contrast of the natural sweetness of onions and salty taste of the cheese was magical. I liked it a lot!
The Goat Cheese Salad (PHP475) is perfect for those who want to eat healthy yet yummy food. This bowl of arugula, walnuts, and baked goat cheese topped with basil vinaigrette was nothing short of scrumptious! 
The slight bitter taste of arugula was well balanced by the dressing and the salty taste of goat cheese complemented the greens. The walnuts also added texture making it not your boring kind of salad.
I'm a big fan of Mesclun's Sisig Spaghetti (PHP295) so I internally squealed when I saw it being served to us.
It was still the light cream based pasta topped with pork sisig and chicharon that I love. To give it more punch, I drizzle it with calamansi.
Another pasta dish served to us Black Ink Spaghettini which was new and still off the menu. I liked that it had that seafood flavor without tasting fishy. And just like Sisig Spaghetti, this one tastes even better with a bit of calamansi (or lemon) juice.
For pizza, we had Shrimp and Anchovies (PHP375). Aptly called flàmmeküeche, this flatbread is topped with arugula, crème fraîche, onions, garlic oil and of course, shrimps and anchovies.
With all ingredients having lighter flavors, the strong salty taste of anchovies overpowered the rest. (Not that I'm complaining as I like my pizzas a bit salty.)
Guests who prefer light afternoon snacks with friends would enjoy Mesclun's Clubhouse (PHP345). This thick sandwich stuffed with chicken spread, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, egg and ham can serve as a filling meal or a lovely dish to share with some amigas over coffee. You may also choose between white or wheat bread.
I recall some of KTG's resident foodies drooling over the Chicken Tikka (PHP395) when it was served. And I understood why they reacted that way after one bite. The chicken thigh fillet was succulent and packed with flavor. The fresh yogurt added a bit of creamy taste to it and the greens added crunch.
Since I had a shoot scheduled that afternoon, I had to leave early and I missed the meats! Then again, that gives me reason to visit again soon.
Aruga Cafe by Mesclun is located at Ground Floor, Aruga by Rockwell, Waterfront Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati.

Aruga Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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