Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Late Afternoon at Mesclun Bistro Serendra

French ham on a freshly baked brioche, topped with duck egg. Just can't get better than that. And in the fading afternoon light at Serendra, Mesclun Bistro shines with its unique and diverse menu. Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara is at it again, with her own take on classic dishes inspired by French and continental cuisine with that unique Mesclun touch. 

After sampling Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara's Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe at The Linden Suites (see my previous post here at, I was looking forward to her second branch at Serendra. Mesclun Serendra offers the same classic dishes, but in a  more casual, bistro-style setting. Formerly Cuillerre, Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara's French resto, Mesclun still retains some of the signature dishes from the former resto, adding to the vibrant mix of flavors Mesclun is known for. And true to its name, one can sample a wide range of flavors at Mesclun, from French cuisine to Alsatian style flatbread pizza, and even pasta with sisig.

Mesclun Bistro offers two convenient seating options, including an al fresco dining area. The French doors and glass windows allow sufficient ambient light to filter in, and at night, Mesclun's lighting is adjusted for a warm glow, giving the cool modern lines a rustic feel and vibe. 

Mesclun's thematic interiors with its wine bottle wall and bright green chairs are consistent with the look of its first branch at The Linden Suites, and the design elements work well in the new space. Despite the smaller space, one doesn't feel cramped at all at Mesclun Bistro, a corner table by the window pretty much feels like your very own personal space.

Our dinner at Mesclun Bistro begins with Escargot (P 345), baked French snails in garlic parsley butter with a freshly baked mini baguette. Butter truly is the secret of French cooking, as the rich garlic parley butter roundsout the subtle flavors of the escargot. Mesclun also bakes its own mini-baguettes and brioche fresh daily,  and once you've done short work on the escargot (which can disappear quickly), try dipping a piece of the mini-baguette on the garlic parsley butter, and you'll be glad you did.

Next, Andre's Poke (P 345), Hawaiian style tuna ceviche in soy sesame dressing and Sriracha mayo.  The chilled fresh tuna is coated by the rich dressing, spiked with Sriracha for a refreshing heat. Served with toatsed and crisp crostini, each bite delivers a delicious play of flavors and textures.

This. Brioche Croque Ma Duck (P 335), French ham on brioche loaves with bechamel and gruyere-emmenthal gratin topped with duck egg and served with house made potato chips, a personal favorite. The mild flavored French ham comes to life with the creamy bechamel and cheese combo, and the duck egg adds the finishing touches to the dish. Gently break the yolk, and allow it to slowly drape the brioche before taking a slice. The freshly baked brioche is soft and creamy, with a buttery richness. I'll have this any time and yup, this one disappeared in minutes...

Then, the first of Mesclun's specialty pizzas arrived. Mesclun's Sourdough Pizza with Anchovies (P 295), topped with tomato sauce, anchovies, mozzarella, capers and basil. The crisp sourdough crust and the imperfect circular shape gives it a rustic and traditional look and flavor. The anchovies and capers give it that sharpness tempered with the creamy mozzarella and sourdough crust, another perfect blend of flavors.

Next, a pair of Mesclun's Flammekeuche, Alsatian style flatbread pizzas with homemade creme fraiche, with Sausage (P 295), topped with English and Italian garlic sausages with onions, Swiss cheese. creme fraiche and shredded basis; and Speck (P 295), with German Prosciutto, onions, creme fraiche, arugula and lemon oil. The absence of tomato sauce is not missed at all, with the creme fraiche and combination of toppings providing all the flavors. The tin crust flatbread is crisp, a perfect base for the fresh toppings.

And just when you thought Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara was done, the indulgent Foie Gras Baguette Sandwich (P 1,395) was served next, pan-seared duck liver on freshly baked baguette with raspberry-infused Port wine reduction. The sweet wine reduction balances the richness of the foie gras, and this one is a real winner. It's got foie gras, 'nuff said.

Next, a cool pasta dish I've tried before, and still a favorite. Sisig Pasta (P 245), spaghetti with pork sisig and light cream sauce topped with chicharon and chili. In a dish that probably best defines Mesclun's inventive approach to food, combining flavors and cooking techniques from around the world for unique dishes.  

Finally, Mesclun's House Cured Corned Beef (P 595) was served, US Angus corned beef with cabbage, carrots, potatoes and Pommery mustard horseradish sauce, served with its cooking broth and rice. Hearty, filling and comforting, seriously good.

Mesclun Bistro serves some of the most creative and inventive dishes at Serendra, and definitely worth a second visit. And if you happen to be there in the late afternoon, drop in and check out the fading afternoon light. And Mesclun's glowing dishes...

Mesclun Bistro is located at the Ground Floor, Serendra, 11th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, or call 954-2100 for inquiries.

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