Sunday, July 28, 2013

Atelier 317: "Backwell's" Hidden Secret

A fusion of rich flavors, a creative, inventive and non-traditional approach to classic cuisine, in the most unexpected of places. Sometimes straying off the beaten path can be so much more rewarding. And once you find Atelier 317, things really start paying off. Big time. 

Atelier 317 showcases chef and owner Stephanie Zubiri's passion for food. The full range of flavors, the best of global cuisine provides the inspiration, including experiences drawn from her extensive travels abroad are brought to life in each and every dish.  There is a playful inventiveness, and one can sense this creative spirit in traditional dishes with a unique twist that make it new and refreshingly different. True to its name, Atelier 317 is a working studio constantly churning out new ideas, new flavors, and unique dishes.

Located in the narrow streets of Palma and Osias right at the back of Rockwell, sometimes referred to as "Backwell," Atelier 317's eclectic interiors also reflect their diverse culinary style, featuring classic Filipino favorites with a global spin, French and Italian flavors, Moroccan, and even Vietnamese inspired dishes. Leave it to Atelier 317 to surprise you.

In one awesome evening, I got a taste of Atelier 317's diverse menu, starting with the Foie Gras Molo Soup (P 300), a delightfully rich shiitake mushroom soup with thin miswa noodles and pork molo wontons with a flavorful and indulgent filling of foie gras, adding another layer of flavor and a new twist to this traditional Filipino favorite. Served in elegant shooters, this classic soup dish is comforting and familiar, but the addition of foie gras makes this totally different. And better. Much better. Like an upgraded Molo Soup version 2.0.

Next, Atelier 317's Flamed Kesong Puti Caprese Salad (P 280), an Italian classic with a cool local twist, with fresh tomatoes lightly grilled for a subtle smoky flavor topped with kesong puti or local white cheese, drizzled with an olive oil and balsamic reduction and fresh basil. Light yet flavorful, and the local cheese is an interesting tweak.

Atelier 317's signature Lamb Gyoza (P 280), another refreshing twist infusing Moroccan flavors in a traditional Japanese favorite for a new and different flavor experience. The lamb gives it a totally different character, and the combination works well. Paired with any of Atelier 317's imported beers, perfect.

The Asian Slaw (P 280), a cool combo of crisp white cabbage and flavorful red cabbage, plus julienned carrots, fresh sprouts, sesame seeds and cilantro with a distinct hoisin sesame dressing for that Asian touch. The freshness of the vegetables and the Asian dressing is another cool blend that works well.

Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken (P 550), crisp fried chicken cutlets covered in a rich roasted curry sauce paired with cardamom scented basmati rice and a side of fried eggplant raita. The spicy curry sauce has a cooling heat that gradually builds, pairing well with the crisp chicken and the basmati rice.

This is then followed with another chicken dish with a distinct Filipino twist, Atelier 317's creative and unique Crisp Chicken Bicol Express (P 500), with a familiar creamy sauce made with coconut and chili, served with a tasty Portobello Mushroom Red Rice Sinangag. I never thought Bicol Express could taste this different, and this good. This was a delicious surprise.

Vietnamese Cha Ca La Vong (P 450), a dish inspired by Chef Stephanie Zubiri's numerous trips to Vietnam, with crisp dory cutlets sauteed in lemon grass and turmeric, generously topped with fresh herbs and crispy shallots on a bed of thin rice noodles with a lemon-based Vietnamese style dressing. The subtle flavors of the fish are contrasted by the sharp dressing, another dish I enjoyed.

The next dish captures Atelier 317 and Chef Stephanie Zubiri's approach to traditional Filipino dishes, adding a distinct new twist with a fusion of flavors from other culinary influences resulting in a totally new and exciting reinvention of a classic Filipino favorite, the Balsamic Beef Adobo (P 3,500 good for 6/ P 650 individual serving). Normally made from pork and chicken, Atelier 317's adobo version uses prime US Black Angus Short Rib slow cooked until fork tender, with fresh tarragon and ginger-orange julienne for that cool infusion of French flavors. The dish comes with Portobello Mushroom Red Rice Sinangag. The balsamic adds a sweetness to the rich sauce, and great with rice. And in true pinoy style, lots of rice.

Atelier 317 then goes traditional with its Limoncetta (P 380), a rustic version of carbonara, just the way it should be, with spaghettini tossed in olive oil, butter and parmesan made richer with lemon zest and parsley, and topped with crispy bacon and an egg yolk. Simple, yet rich and creamy, you won't miss the creaminess of the usual carbonara, this one's just way better. After mixing all the ingredients, one bite and you'll never look at the usual carbonara the same way again. Ever. Just can't get any better than that.

You can also have another version of Atelier 317's Limoncetta with fresh salmon, and you get the same rich flavors as the original version with bacon. A simple dish using the best ingredients for the best flavor, works for me all the time.

Dinner ends with desserts from Atelier 317's collaborators, including this rich Molten Chocolate Cake from Casa San Luis. Other desserts include ice cream from Pinkerton and cupcakes by SweetPattiCakes. Paired with a Latte or Cappuccino, another perfect ending at Atelier 317.

The secret's out, discover the most inventive, most creative fusion of flavors, and you won't find it in Rockwell. Stray a bit further back, and you'll find it in "Backwell".

Atelier 317 is located at Palm Rock Building, 6060 Palma corner Osias Streets, Poblacion, Makati or call 358-0987 or 0917-830-8393 for inquiries and reservations. You can also visit their website at

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  1. Beautiful styling and photography.

    1. Hi cquek, thanks! Great to hear from you!

  2. i wanna try the lamb gyoza and limoncetta! looks really good!! :)

    1. Hi Berylle, definitely new and different, tastes great too!

  3. Now I realised what I have been missing these past couple of months - yummylicious food posts like this! Good to be back blog hopping :-)


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