Friday, December 14, 2012

A Mix of Flavors at Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe

A culinary term for mixture, Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe presents a refreshing and diverse mix of both local and international flavors created by young Chef Katrina Kuhn Alcantara and her staff. In one amazing lunch, I got to experience the full range of flavors at Mesclun, including familiar and comforting flavors with some refreshing twists. My previous posts highlighted classic dishes reinvented, and that culinary trend continues with Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe featuring Chef Katrina's personal culinary take on classic dishes.  

Drawing from her own favorite dishes enriched by her numerous travels abroad, Chef Katrina presents a wide range of flavors at Mesclun, an inspired mix of classic old world cuisine updated with new world notes and Mesclun's personal touch. And yes, I got to sample Mesclun's much talked about sourdough pizzas.   

Entering Mesclun, the clean, modern interiors seem to come alive with bright splashes of color, making one feel almost immediately at home. The playful and casual vibe of Mesclun also gives one an idea on the food they serve, elegant yet homey, rustic yet cool and hip.

Subtle touches of elegance can be found all throughout Mesclun, like this innovative wall of wine bottles giving it a modern yet classic feel. The overall warm palette is accentuated by sudden bursts of vibrant colors, adding character and charm to Mesclun's casual feel. And it is this wonderful medley that characterize Mesclun's cuisine, as I eagerly await the coming meal.

I start things off with Mesclun's Power Shake (P 160), a refreshing blend of apples, cucumber and lettuce, just perfect to shake off the cobwebs from the previous night's drinking spree. And definitely a good sign of things to come. And today, Mesclun serves up their signature dishes from the Midday Medley (Lunch) and Sunset Selection (Dinner).

Warm, soft bread and a tasty garlic herb butter is also served on cool personalized chopping boards. Very cool. And the starters arrive...

Mesclun's classic French Onion Soup (P 245), caramelized onions in a rich beef broth topped with a crust of gruyere cheese. Hearty and comforting, rustic and flavorful, a perfect starter.

Sisig Spaghetti (P 245), classic spaghetti with a twist, a light, cream sauce pasta topped with pork sisig and chicharon. And with the cooling heat from the chilies, perfect (spicy, but heat levels may be adjusted).

Mesclun's playful inventiveness transforms an old world favorite of pasta into something entirely new and different, as the flavor notes of the local spicy sisig bring a certain richness to an already rich cream pasta for a totally new flavor experience. I never would have thought of a combination like this, but it works. This is one pretty awesome combo, and definitely worth trying.

Mushroom Duxelles (P 395), truffled portobello mushroom spread served with homemade bread. Rich, creamy and nutty, another cool starter. The creamy mushroom spread on warm, toasted bread provides contrasting textures and subtle flavors.

Buffalo Balls (P 395), chicken meatballs in spicy buffalo sauce served with blue cheese dip.Elegantly plated, another cool twist on the usual buffalo wings.

A nice spice goes with every bite, perfectly balanced by the rich blue cheese dip. The rich flavors associated with Buffalo Wings are replicated with Mesclun's Buffalo Balls, and this one is a lot easier to eat, and before you even notice it, you're going for your third ball. Very cool balls.

Then, Mesclun's trademark pizzas arrive, fresh from the ovens. Salume Calabrese (P 345), a traditional sourdough pizza topped with rich tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and salume calabrese. The rustic crust balances the sharpness of the salume calabrese, simply perfect bite after bite...after bite.

Next, a different pair of pizzas arrived next. A taste from Chef Katrina's travels, Mesclun's traditional Flammekeuche (an Alsatian dish literally translated as "flame cake or "pie baked in flames"'), with the Bacon Flammekeuche (P 270, foreground) topped with salty bacon, onion, creme fraiche and nutmeg, and the Sausage Flammekeuche (P 290, background), topped with English and Italian garlic sausages, onions, Swiss cheese, creme fraiche, and shredded basil. Crisp and full of flavor, best when drizzled with chili oil. Almost like a flat bread, the creme fraiche and meat toppings provide pure and robust flavors unlike the usual tomato sauce topped pizza.  Definitely something new and different.

The Four Cheese Sourdough Pizza (P 345), topped with cream sauce, mozzarella, fontina, gorgonzola and goat cheese. Rich and creamy, with subtle and sharp notes from the different cheeses blend for a cool burst of flavors in every bite.

A slice of Spinach and Gorgonzola Pizza (P 345), a sourdough pizza with cream sauce, gorgonzola and spinach. Creamy with a subtle sharpness on a traditional crust, balanced flavors in every bite. And the sourdough crust also adds a subtle flavor note enriching the pizza's taste. Nice touch.

Mac and 4 Cheese (P 495), macaroni and melted fontina, emmenthal, mozzarella, and grana padano cheeses with a hint of lemon. Hearty and filling, what can be more comforting than a bowl of macaroni? Four different and unique cheeses. And the lemon does add a nice note to the creamy Mac.

Duck Confit (P 995), French duck leg and thigh slowly cooked in goose fat, and served on a bed of mashed potatoes, onion and garlic confit. Crisp outer layer over juicy and tender meat, perfect. And the goose fat just adds so muchness to the already rich duck, a great dish. 

Grilled Pampano (P 555), grilled whole Pampano with green beans and mango tomato salsa, a much healthier option, but still packed with subtle, fresh flavors. The fresh tomato and mango salsa really completes the dish. Perfect.

Mango Yogurt Smoothie (P 160), sweet and a little sour, another refreshing beverage before dessert.

And dessert begins with the Banana Nutella Crepe a la Mode (P 215), freshly made crepes with bananas and Nutella topped with vanilla ice cream, And not just any ice cream, but Arce Ice Cream, from the same family who once owned the Selecta Ice Cream label... 

...and the Mango and Condensed Milk Crepe (P 215), freshly made crepes with mangoes and condensed milk topped with vanilla ice cream. Rich, creamy and indulgent, another perfect ending to a great meal at Mesclun.

Mesclun also offers Chef Katrina's very own Paulene's Chocolats Suisses, an artisanal line of premium chocolates, perfect for holiday gift-givimg. 

The awesome lunch ends with Mesclun's locally sourced premium brewed coffee, rounding out a perfect lunch at Mesclun.

One awesome lunch, a variety of flavors, that's Mesclun for you. Special thanks to Spanky Enriquez for another cool dining discovery, to Kathy Manuel-Salenga, The Linden Suites' Director of Sales and Marketing, and to Chef Katrina Kuhn Alcantara for amazing medley of cool dishes. I will definitely be back... 

Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe is located at the 2nd Floor, Tower 1, The Linden Suites, 37 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Centre, Pasig City or call 638-7878 for inquiries.

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  1. Replies
    1. hey mich, great food, cool place! Great to hear from you mich!

  2. My mouth is watering, simple but fabulous!

    1. Hi cquek, great dishes, and you're so right, deceptively simple yet awesome dishes, great to hear from you cquek!

  3. Yes! Mesclun deserves to be discovered! I've been looking for good place to get an ultimate comfort from Onion Soup, loving your pictures by the way.

    1. Hi Joy, cool place and great food, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Everything looks great. The artistic style of wine racks is amazing. I really want to try the sisig spagahetti.

    1. Hi lencilicious, the sisig spaghetti's good, spicy and rich, definitely a must try, thanks for stopping by!

  5. I'm so interested to try the Grilled Pampano and the place ambiance is so inviting as well.
    Happy New Year from Food Trip Friday


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