Duck and Buvette is a new restaurant, open barely a month, in Shangri-la Plaza Mall‘s main wing. It replaced the dour and dark Cafe Provencal at the 2nd floor, right across Marks and Spencer. Duck and Buvette bills itself as a casual French eatery and bakery. We’ve actually passed by its board up many many times intrigued at what would be opening in the space. We finally got a chance to try it out last week during our weekly lunch date with Irene’s sis.
Duck and Buvette gives the area a bright new vibe with their light and chic interiors.
The interiors are quite cozy but the chairs were not really comfortable, and to think we sat on the ones with cushion. They plan to sell freshly baked bread for people to take home.
Buvette is their version of tapas or small plates, done the French way. We got a couple starting with the Crispy Potato Pave with Salted Egg (P175), cubes of potato with creme fraiche and salted duck egg.
Look at all the layers of potatoes. It’s a simple dish but the flavors really go well together. Be sure to eat the potato together with the creme fraiche and salted egg, which really adds a burst of flavor.
The Jacq’s Duck Rillette (P210) was a disappointment though. It was covered with thick layer of duck fat with cornichons, grain mustard, salt and a couple of slices of sourdough on the side.
I mixed the remaining duck fat and cured duck meat and came out with this, which I spread onto the sourdough bread. It was still too oily despite my removing a lot of the fat plus they over toast their bread resulting in a charred taste in some parts. I still prefer the sourdough bread from One Way restaurant.
Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon (P175). This need no explanation, it was excellent. I did not realize a spritz of lemon juice onto the candied bacon would make a whole lot of difference but it did. The combination of sweet, smoky and citrusy just created a perfect balance as you bite into the thick cut bacon pieces (9 per order). ORDER this or you’ll regret it.
Our first main dish was the Pan Seared Hake with 3 Grains Risotto (P460). The hake is a fish similar to cod, our server informed us upon our inquiry. It is pan fried perfectly with a nice crisp skin but the meat is still juicy. We immediately noticed the similarity of the hake to cod, the texture and firmness is the same, even the taste is very very close. Irene and her sister did not really enjoy the risotto because of certain smell but they both like the fish though. I enjoyed the risotto with is wild grain flavor and almost single-handedly finished the whole thing.
We also got a D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit (P980), which is their house specialty. A half duck that’s been slow cooked with hardly any fat left. The skin is crispy and flavorful but the meat is super tender. One of the best duck confits I’ve had in Manila. Be sure to eat the meat with some grain mustard, this kicks it up a notch in flavor.
We finished our meal with some coffee. Duck and Buvette serves Intelligentsia Coffee from Chicago. There are Intelligentsia signage all over as well as merchandise for sale.
Even their mugs carry the Intelligentsia Coffee name. Irene and I both got pour over coffee which took a little while (more than 10 min), probably since the barista is still getting the hang of things. Irene had a cup of El Diablo while I had their single origin of the month, a Flecha Roja from Costa Rica.
They serve each cup of coffee on a tray with a little cookie. The Intelligentsia Coffee mug is quite big, not really an exact fit to the cup are thus making it a bit wobbly. We both enjoyed our cups of coffee, different profiles that suited Irene and me perfectly. Her El Diablo had a chocolatey taste with hints of caramelized sugar while my Flecha Roja had a fruity flavor that I enjoy in my coffee.
We really enjoyed our experience at Duck and Buvette. Despite their soft opening phase, our server was knowledgeable about the menu and even explained what each dish was as it arrived. This is a nice addition to the restaurant scene in Shangri-la Plaza as well as a pretty place to have a cup of cuppa while resting tired feet.
We’re excited to come back and try more of the buvettes as well as some of their other breads and main dishes.