Chef Bruce Lim is back with a new restaurant called Rustique Kitchen. He partners with Tony Boy Cojuangco and Gretchen Baretto to take over the old space of La Regalade. If you’ve been to La Regalade before, the space is still the same save for removing the dividers between tables and making the lights brighter.
We had a sampling of the still evolving menu at Rustique Kitchen composed of old favorites from his previous restaurant to new twists on familiar fare.
Bruschetta with Foie Gras and Jam (P450). Mango jam slathered bruschetta with slices of foie gras and garnished with alfalfa sprouts. You first encounter the crisp bread the creamy melt in your mouth of the foie gras mixes with the sweet and tarty mango jam. Indulgent and delicious.
Lapu Lapu Ceviche (P350). Fresh pieces of grouper marinated in citrus vinaigrette then topped with crispy dangit. The dangit adds more than a decorative touch as the umami flavors of the dried fish seeps into the top of the ceviche adding another layer of flavor. I’m kicking myself for not enjoying ceviche and kilawin before but I’m glad I’ve acquired a fondness for them.
Pata Fritter. Crispy pata strips are used in this pork version of a crab cake.
Caesar Salad (P220). Char grilled romaine lettuce with Caesar salad dressing and topped off with grated quezo de bola. The char grilled lettuce has a nice smoky taste and aroma complemented by the nutty quezo de bola. A nice twist on a classic dish.
Beef Steak Pasta (P390). Grilled steak on top of citrus cream pasta. Pretty good value for the filling plate and the amount of steak.
Ldb and Duxelle (P435). Slow roasted ox tongue with mushrooms and caramelized onion cream sauce. Not the prettiest dish but it was quite comforting with the mix of tender ox tongue and cream sauce.
Tortang Talong (P150). A bit weird to find this on the menu but it was excellent though. The salted egg slices kick this one up a notch and you’d better get an order or rice or you’ll regret it.
Fish Market (P550). Lapu Lapu wrapped in banana leaves topped with a lemongrass marinara sauce. On the side are french beans and marble potatoes and dried anchovies.
Banana Leaf Salmon (P1998). This is part of their slab menu, which are suitable for at least 4 people to share. 1 kilogram of salmon fillet baked in banana leaves to medium and served with a citrus potato salad. The meat was not dry and was still very juicy especially in the middle.
Sizzling Ox Tail Kare Kare (P550). A deconstructed kare kare with fall off the bone ox tail simmered on reduced peanut sauce, tripe salad and rice cakes served on the side. One of the best renditions of kare kare around although not faithful to the classic but all the more perfect for me since I don’t like tripe. I just want the ox tail, the peanut sauce and the vegetables.
Grilled Rib Eye Steak (P945). Grilled USDA rib eye served with sauteed greens, fried onions and cheese. The cheese is an interesting addition, I don’t think I’ve even seen that unless in a cheese steak sandwich.
Signature Buko Pie (P150). This is served in a glass with a base of crushed coconut cookies, layered with coconut strips then topped with warm coconut cream and sprinkled with brown sugar. This is one dessert you should definitely try.
I’ve met and talked to Chef Bruce about food and more and I found him to be a really nice person contrary to his on tv persona. I hope he succeeds with Rustique Kitchen. The menu is still a work in progress but the dishes are good and the prices are quite reasonable.