I have always loved eating comfort food because it makes me nostalgic. I remember my childhood years when my grandmother would whip up something in the kitchen during a rainy day like a steaming bowl of Arroz Caldo or during times when I’m under the weather and she’d come up with a good serving of Chicken Sopas in no time. During Sundays, when everyone is home, she would cook our favorite Kare-Kare. All these old school dishes would always never fail to make me smile. And so, I was greatly delighted to discover that Chef Bruce Lim has re-created some of our country’s well-loved comfort food as well as a few international dishes at Rustique Kitchen.
Rustique Kitchen is a new restaurant that officially opened just last July 25 and is owned by power couple, Tony Boy Cojuangco and Gretchen Barretto, with Chef Bruce Lim. This establishment is located along Arnaiz Ave., Makati, taking the space of what used to be the La Regalade.
As I entered Rustique Kitchen, it reminded me of a classic living room of typical old-rich houses decorated with warm and rich color tones in orange and subdued yellows and browns giving the place that homey, welcoming and relaxing feel.
But don’t be fooled by Rustique Kitchen’s ambience. It may exude that fine dining atmosphere with exorbitant prices but their dishes are actually price-positioned at the mid-range mark. You can even enter the restaurant wearing casual and comfortable clothing if you so desire.
After having a good fill of the appetizers (which I thought wouldn’t stop coming), the Crab Bisque was rolled out.
A rich and creamy soup accented by the brandy. The brioche was just as lovely as the soup. It was buttery and moist, perfectly complimenting each other.
For the main course, 2 dishes were served by Rustique Kitchen: Oxtail Kare-Kare and Fish Market.
A Rustique Kitchen deconstructed Kare-Kare with everything on it. You might wonder where the shrimp paste is which any traditional Kare-Kare is known to have? The shrimp paste has already been incorporated to the delicious oxtail while being cooked. The fall-off-the-bone oxtail carries the flavor of the shrimp paste making it more delectable to eat. But with a sweet and nutty sauce like this, I still prefer to have a separate shrimp paste that I can mix it with. But that’s just my preference.
This Rustique Kitchen platter showcases the bounty of the sea. Fried dried fish (Danggit) and sauteed French beans with roasted garlic + fresh Lapu-Lapu in lemongrass marinara sauce + baby potatoes topped with Dilis (anchovy). This is something you would want to eat on a slow day. Simple yet very comforting.
For dessert, we had Buko Pie.
Coconut cream, coconut meat and crushed pie crust as base served warm in a glass. Really rich and heavenly! Definitely a show stopper! It has the consistency of a panna cotta and guinataan sans the tapioca pearls. Not too sweet but the richness made me stop after 4 scoops. Next time I order this, someone will have to share it with me. This can also be eaten as a nice mid-afternoon snack, by the way.
Chef Bruce Lim was given the free-hand to showcase his expertise in the kitchen and to feature his reinvention of old and modern dishes as well as his signature offerings. The concept of comfort food with a twist is quite apt because as Chef Bruce would say, “I do things kinda crazy.”
At Rustique Kitchen, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds – affordable quality food in a luxurious setting.
Leelin Bldg. 820 A. Arnaiz Ave. (formerly Pasay Road), Makati City
Twitter and Instagram: @RustiqueKitchen
Mondays to Fridays:
12NN to 3PM for lunch
6PM to 11PM for dinner
6PM to 11PM
Parking slots available in front and basement.