Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rustic Comfort Food at Chef Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen

Chef Bruce Lim is back, serving his favorite comfort food with a playful twist, at Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen. 

The wide and elegant interiors at Chef Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen evokes a formal old world charm, but the friendly staff make you feel right at home. A casual and homey vibe takes over as you settle in your chair, and as you glance through the menu, you'll find quite a number of comforting favorites at surprisingly affordable prices. And you just know, this is one cool place.

Opened only late last month, Chef Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen features classic comfort food with an inventive continental spin. Modern and contemporary, yet comfortingly familiar. Chef Bruce Lim formally opens the dinner service with a personal ritual as he whips out his iPhone, and plays "Man in the Mirror" to get in the groove...

...and the kitchen fires up for the dinner service. An assortment of fresh baked bread served with Chef Bruce Lim's Herbed Butter and the unique Coffee Maple Butter arrived at the table. And that Coffee Maple Butter is seriously good, with a caramel-like sweetness to it, and my experience at Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen is off to a good start.

Chef Bruce Lim, along with his sidekick JC and his staff, then serve their signature starters. Bruschetta with Foie Gras and Jam (P 450), crisp crusty bread topped with mango jam and seared foie gras. The richness of the foie gras is balanced by the sweet and tart mango jam for contrasting flavors. This early, the creative flavor combinations by Chef Bruce Lim are an indication of more good things to come.

Caesar Salad (P 225), char-grilled romaine lettuce and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes dressed with a rich Caesar dressing made even richer with roasted garlic, topped with queso de bola shavings. The garlicky dressing and sharp notes from the queso de bola combine for rich flavors, giving this salad a real kick.

Ldb and Duxelle (P 435), slow-braised and tender ox-tongue with mushroom duxelle and caramelized onion cream sauce served en croute, doesn't get more comforting than this. As you break the thin pastry shell covered in cheese, the rich onion cream sauce oozes with finely minced mushrooms and the tender ox-tongue.

Lapu-Lapu Ceviche (P 350), fresh rockfish marinated in a sharp citrus vinaigrette topped with crispy danggit on pickled radish. Chef Bruce Lim plays with contrasting textures, with the sharp and clean flavors of the soft and fresh fish complemented by the crisp and smoky dried fish. Each dish served just packs so much flavor, and one can sense an element of fun in many of Chef Bruce Lim's dishes... the Pata Fritters, one of the many new dishes Chef Bruce Lim and his team developed. Think crabcakes, but instead of crab meat, Chef Bruce Lim uses shredded crispy pata. And you just can't go wrong with pork. Chef Bruce Lim adds his own brand of fun and playful inventiveness on traditional dishes, adding unique twists that make it totally new and different.

Sizzling Ox-Tail Kare-Kare (P 550), soft and tender ox-tail simmered in rich and thick peanut sauce on a hot cast-iron skillet, and served with fried rice cakes. The sizzling hot cast iron skillet releases a rich aroma from the bubbling sauce, but the real twist to this old favorite... the Tripe Salad. A bold flavored Tripe Salad is paired with the Sizzling Kare-Kare, with tender beef tripe and bagoong topped with spring onions. This one's good on its own, but pairs perfectly with kare-kare. Rich, comforting flavors with a twist, and this dish is another excellent example.

Grilled Ribeye Steak (P 945), tender USDA beef ribeye grilled to perfection, topped with fried onions and cheese served with a tangy cream sauce and potato pave. A premium ribeye topped with grated cheese...definitely different and seriously good. 

Tortang Talong (P 150), fried eggplant stuffed with sauteed pork and egg, topped with slices of salted egg. Another classic reinvented, and the salted eggs really add rich flavors to this familiar dish made even better at Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen.

Beef Steak Pasta (P 390), grilled steak with spaghetti in a rich and creamy citrus sauce topped with caramelized onions and fried shallots and served with sauteed mushrooms, a comforting pasta dish with a beefy punch.

Fish Market (P 550), Chef Bruce Lim's playful execution featuring fresh lapu-lapu baked in lemon grass marinara, served with crispy danggit and potatoes. A light and healthy option yet full of rich flavors, a classic dish served differently. And at Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen, you can expect more of that. Much more.  

Chef Bruce Lim also served a sample of their upcoming specials, called the Slab Specials, with one kilo servings of ribs, steaks, and fresh seafood. That night, Chef Bruce Lim presented his Baked Salmon Slab served with marble potatoes. The delicate salmon, wrapped in banana leaves and slow-baked, is amazingly tender and moist that almost melts in your mouth. Ideal for groups, Chef Bruce Lim has another winner with his Slab Specials.

For dessert, choices include the Warm Chocolate Tart with strawberries and cream (P 250, L) or the rich Quesong Puti Cheesecake (P 250, R), the classic baked cheesecake bruleed and dressed with macerated mangoes and strawberries. 

But it's Chef Bruce Lim's Signature Buko Pie (P 150) that I'll keep coming back to, with the comforting flavors of the traditional buko pie, served warm in a glass.

With a crust made from crushed coconut cookie crisps layered with young coconut strips and topped with rich coconut cream sprinkled with brown sugar, Chef Bruce Lim hits a homerun with this one. And like many dishes at Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen, the unique and playful twists transform the familiar into something entirely new and different.

Chef Bruce Lim has other comforting dishes tweaked with his own unique style, like the Lamb Rack Crusted with Pili Nuts, Duck Confit with Kalabasa Cream Sauce, Sauteed French Beans with Danggit, Country Style Braised Pork Humba and other classic dishes like Cornish Hen, burgers, and steaks.

Familiar, comforting dishes with a playful twist. All these and more at Chef Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen. I hear "Man on the Mirror" on the radio, maybe it's time to head back to Bruce Lim's Rustique Kitchen...

Bruce Lim's Rustique kitchen is located at 820 Leelin II Building, Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road), Makati City or call 750-2104 for inquiries and reservations.

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  1. That Kare kare photo you posted makes me hungry lol Kare-kare is one of my all time favourite native dishes. This place is quite close to where I live, but never had a chance to check this place.

    Honey G. /

    1. The sizzling kare-kare paired with the tripe salad is really good, you should give it a try. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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