Thursday, July 25, 2013

La Maison Rose

This post is long overdue but I get lazy just looking at the bazillion photos to sort out and edit. And I get a bit neurotic with that. Most of the time I end up editing one photo 5 or 6 times before I'm happy with it. I have a silly habit of giving the same photo different file names instead of just overwriting them that by the time I'm done, my laptop is a whole mess of jpg files.

Anyway, back to the post: 
You've got to hand it to the Lhuillier family to turn an old house into a chic French restaurant with an east-west flair. There was quite a big hype and buzz when it opened. 

We visited La Maison Rose for lunch on a Thursday with no reservations. I didn't think it was necessary. I was surprised to see several of the tables already occupied when we went inside. That day was quite a busy weekday lunch. Luckily, we were able to get a table.

From the moment you step inside, you'll know this was no ordinary restaurant. The interiors is quite pretty, the design uniquely beautiful. I love the blue walls, the mix-match of different furnitures that blend in well with the French-Vietnamese concept and the colorful lanterns and umbrellas on the ceiling. The atmosphere feels cozy, very easy going, very feminine. 

There are two main dining areas inside -the front room (photos above), the adjacent room (photo below) with round tables, a private room and the patio. A nice round door that would have made Mr. Bilbo Baggins very proud leads outside to the patio from the area with the round tables. The adjacent dining area feels a bit cramped and we were seated at a table next to the hobbit door.

The second floor is reserved for the French classes being offered by Alliance Francaise de Cebu

The lunch started out with complimentary sliced french bread - with no butter *sad*. On the other hand, the bread itself was good and baked fresh. *love*

Next came the complimentary bite-sized canapes. Three glasses of pumpkin soup, three gougeres (puffs) and I'm not even quite sure what the 3rd one is - the thin round piece of pastry topped with what seems like truffle paste. They must have overlooked the fact that we were a party of five, not three. So not everyone in the group were able to taste all the items on this plate. For an upscale restaurant with a somewhat pricey menu, I would hope for a bit better service than this.

The menu is presented in an ipad. You can even choose how well you like your steak and review all the items selected before sending the order. Seems very fancy but I actually prefer the traditional menu. One ipad to go around five people (or more) will take almost forever to finish ordering. See the mains we ordered below.

Sunny Vegetable Salad: Greens mixed with grilled tomatoes, red bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, parma ham and topped with feta cheese. I'd give this a (3/5). Too much vinaigrette. 

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese (3.5/5)

Black Pepper Steak : US hanging beef steak with a pepper crust, served with a black pepper sauce (nicely done with good flavor 4/5) Two of my colleagues ordered this same dish. If you say medium rare, you will get it medium rare just as how the French will cook it and still a bit bloody.

Quenelles:  Bangus and Halibut quenelles poached and dipped in talangka crab sauce 
Very special dish. I've never had anything quite like it. (4/5)

Parrot Fish Papillote :  Succulent fish prepared with onions and dill, served with a beurre blanc sauce with herbs (3.5/5)

The bill came in this cool book-box with a picture of the Eiffel Tower. I ♥ Paris.

First impressions: Though the food was mostly good, it was not as excellent as I had hoped. I guess I expected a lot more after all that buzz online. It's also a little more expensive than your average meal in the city. Service needs a little polishing. The negative points were pretty minor things but overall it was a good, pleasant experience. I will definitely go back to try the desserts another time.

If you are curious to try authentic French food prepared by French chefs in Cebu, this would definitely be a place to visit. 

OR you can eat your heart out on a French buffet with unlimited wine at the Soiree Beaujolais held every November at the Marco Polo.

La Maison Rose (The Pinkhouse)
371 Gorordo Ave., Lahug, Cebu City (beside the Mormon Church)
Hours: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm (lunch);  6:30 pm - 1:00 am (dinner)
For reservations: (032) 268-5411