First look: Atelier Vivanda Manila

Deli Slicer and Open Kitchen  1
Atelier Vivanda 50-day dry-aged Holstein rib steak
Atelier Vivanda black angus rib-eye
Atelier Vivanda condiments
Atelier Vivanda cross-section of ribeye
Atelier Vivanda desserts - creme brûlée and custard
Atelier Vivanda Pommes Dauphine
Atelier Vivanda Pommes Darphin
Atelier Vivanda soft boiled egg appetizer
Atelier Vivanda text
Atelier Vivanda menu

Atelier Vivanda Manila
Located at Forbestown Road, BGC, Taguig City.

Proof that being nice pays off- you get invited by friends to take a sneak peek at the hottest restaurants to open this 2016.

Michelin-starred chef Akrame Benallal's casual dining resto Atelier Vivanda is due to open to the public this February 2, but One Big Bite- along with some food editor buddies- were given a taste of things to come.

We soaked in the polished and modern interiors, from chessboard-like tables that come with a knife slot to the petite open kitchen where the young chefs whip up bistro favorites such as the steak and potatoes the brand is known for.

We started the meal with an appetizer of soft-boiled egg, fresh sliced button mushrooms, cottage cheese, with homemade mayonnaise. The pine nuts add a nice nutty flavor and crunch, while a light grating of egg yolk compliment the creaminess of the sauce.

The stars here are really the steaks and their potato sidings. Their black angus rib-eyes are cut 3/4 inch thick and usually prepared to a medium doneness. These are served with pink salt and chef Akrame's pepper oil. This is really all one needs to enjoy the steaks at Atelier Vivanda, allowing the flavors of high-quality meats to take center stage.

The standard rib-eye was impressive enough, but a steak connoisseur must experience their 50-day dry aged Holstein rib streak. Large enough for 2 (but can be shared by 3 to 4 ladies, I think), this meticulously prepared hunk of meat is worth every hard-earned peso. The meat is noticeably leaner, but the aging process has broken down the flesh and made it softer, developing an almost nutty flavor reminiscent of aged Gruyere. What a treat that was!

Accompanying the meats were their classic potato preparations. I personally enjoyed the crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside Pommes Darphin.

The Pommes Dauphine are like thicker rösti potatoes with the inherent sweetness of caramelized potatoes.

The desserts in Atelier Vivanda is no afterthought. The creme brûlée is classic- the crispy, browned top breaks to make way for the soft vanilla custard. Speaking of custard, their custard pie is especially addicting, with the subtle flavor of the citronella ice cream adding just enough zing. I would come here even just for these sweet endings.

A short chat with part owner Khristine Gabriel revealed that it was none other than iconic French chef Allain Ducasse who convinced Akrame to open shop in Manila. "Akrame asked (Ducasse) if it was a good idea to open Atelier Vivanda here, and he replied, 'now is the best time.'" Thank you, chef Allain, we think so, too.

By: Chinkee Clemente-Koppe

Atelier Vivanda Manila
Located at Forbestown Road, BGC, Taguig City

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