It has been awhile since my visit to Le Petit Souffle so I was delighted to receive an invitation from chef Miko Aspiras.
Unfortunately, his event fell on a hectic day. I didn’t want to skip it entirely so I thought I’d give my seat to my brother and dine vicariously through him. Being a follower of Miko’s creations, Jai (he is actually called Toto at home) was more than happy to go along with my idea. And Miko graciously accommodated him. Thanks again, chef!
Here is Jai’s account of the evening meant to introduce new dishes and announce that a second branch of Le Petit Souffle is in the works. They’ll be in Megamall soon! Yay!
Words and photos by Jai Nadal:
Le Petit Souffle is a French and Japanese concept restaurant and cafe aimed at serving comfort food.
Just imagine, the sophisticated techniques of the French combined with the attention to detail of the Japanese. With a young Filipino chef that’s focused on elevating his craft at the helm, what else could you ask for?
Chef Miko Aspiras invited my sister, Nana, for a Post Madrid Fusion Manila Dessert and Savories Tasting. Her day was already full, so she sent me to cover the dinner after Chef Miko’s approval.
What a night!
The evening’s menu features dishes that will be available soon at Le Petit Souffle’s new location in the Fashion Hall of SM Megamall, so no need to go all the way to Makati! Also included are the dishes Chef Miko made to represent the Philippines at the recently-concluded Madrid Fusion Manila.
I came all the way from QC after work, so I was a bit worried I’d be late because of Edsa traffic. Couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when I arrived and I was one of the first few people in.
The top 3 items of the menu will be debuting once Le Petit’s new branch in SM Megamall Fashion Hall opens around August 2016. It’s quite the wait, but just like the souffles on the menu that require 20-30 minutes before served, the new branch is sure to be worth it! Chef Miko told me that the new place was big enough to incorporate a bakery, so that’s another thing to get excited about!
First up is the entree – skin-on potato wedges with pot of cheese fondue. Fromage, Frittes, Fondue. Potatoes and cheese, right off the bat, a classic comfort food combo. Almost every cuisine in the world has a dish combining both, which attests to how comforting and just simply delicious it is. Le Petit’s version is no exception. Potatoes cooked just right to give it a bite on the outside, but leads to soft, almost fluffy inside. Dipped in the mixture of cheeses, I almost wish I was on a couch at home.
The first dish was rich, so now we have something light and refreshing. Chopped Chicken and Miso Salade. I have to say that the chicken was beautiful. Very juicy and moist with just the right amount of char. I almost forgot that this was a salad! There was a good variety of veggies with some nuts (cashew, I think) to add texture. A great thing for me about this is that the veggies are chopped thin and nice. No fumbling with huge leaves! The dressing was served on the side, so you get to decide how much of it to put. We put everything, then mixed. Surprisingly, for me, it was just the right amount. It didn’t end up flooding the salad, and there was enough to coat the whole bowl. Right amount of acidity, too.
Of course, as the name of the restaurant suggests, they specialize in the often intimidating-to-make souffle. I am familiar with the souffle as a dessert. Apparently, it can also take on other forms such as this ratatouille souffle. Ratatouille is basically a vegetable stew usually with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant as the main ingredients together with a number of spices. Very flavorful and very delicious when cooked right (as all vegetable dishes are). Inside the souffle are the usual ratatouille suspects – tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and some bell peppers. There’s also (what looks to be) short-grain Japanese rice, which makes the whole thing light, yet filling. If all vegetable dishes are served like this, I probably wouldn’t mind being a vegetarian! Then again, the souffle is made of eggs, so I guess it still can’t be done. Haha!
Moving on to the dishes from Madrid Fusion Manila.
Chef Miko has been out discovering local ingredients that he can elevate together with his craft. What better way to show this than to highlight the ingredients he found all over the country and serve them in a form that’s familiar with almost every Filipino – the polvoron.
We’ve got Strawberry (red), Sweet Corn (yellow with pili nut on top), Ube (purple), Pumpkin (brownish orange), Calamansi (green), Squid Ink( black), and one more that I keep forgetting (it’s the white one, which is also the closest to the classic polvoron). Nana: According to Miko, white one is made of Adlai.
Who would’ve thought you could serve polvoron this way?
By the way, even though it’s polvoron and it was served near the end of dinner, the whole set is more of an appetizer, which Chef Miko also confirmed.
From this photo, the polvoron looks like sushi. I believe it’s also best to eat them the same way – by hand, and in one bite.
The classic polvoron usually has a subtle smoky and milky flavor owing to the burnt flour and powdered milk. Chef Miko’s interpretation is similar in texture and feel, but the flavors are surprisingly quite intense.
My favorites are the strawberry and ube, but that’s just a personal thing. All of the polvoron represent their flavors without fail. I still wonder how Chef Miko packed such an intense strawberry flavor in the polvoron. It’s like the essence of strawberry turned into powder, formed into polvoron, then once if hits your mouth, the flavor just explodes! I’m allergic to seafood, but I still tried the squid ink polvoron. For those who like squid and seafood in general, I bet they’d love this! Essence of the sea in one bite.
Last for the night is another dish presented at the recently concluded Madrid Fusion Manila. “Laro.”
Laro is Chef Miko’s childhood in a plate. There’s “Pawis,” “Kalawang,” (Sweat and Rust) and the iconic flower of any Filipino’s childhood (well, before technology took over, anyway) – the Santan (aka Ixora, Jungle Flame, or Jungle Geranium).
Pawis is a salty, soft meringue that complements the caramel or “nectar” from the Santan. Kalawang is burnt white chocolate, which I believe brings the whole dish together adding a subtle burnt yet sweet flavor that also balances the salty Pawis component.
Of course, we couldn’t ruin such beautiful plating, so “Laro” was served to every group in plates like this. Chef Miko added the Panna Cotta made from Bukidnon butter to the mix just for good measure.
Le Petit Souffle is located at 3/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati. For inquiries, you may call (02) 7185681 / (02) 8863056. For updates, follow lepetitsouffle on Facebook and lepetitsouffleph on Instagram.