Tuesday, May 5, 2015

French Cuisine with an Asian Spin at Le Petit Souffle

The delicate and fragile souffle may look deceivingly simple, but making the perfect souffle is an entirely different thing. "Puffing up" a perfect souffle poses a real challenge, and noted culinary author, James Beard, even said "the only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you are afraid of it." 

Following the success of Scout's Honor, Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla are back with a new culinary concept offering a distinct and creative take on French cuisine. Le Petit Souffle offers an impressive line of savory dishes and indulgent desserts for a whole new flavor experience. And 'puffing up" the perfect souffle happens everyday at Le Petit Souffle.

Located at the Third Level of Century City Mall, Le Petit Souffle explores classic and rustic French cuisine, with the iconic souffle, as the base for a fusion of global flavors. The cozy interiors, with comforting light earth and wood tones, is an apt setting for the unique dishes at Le Petit Souffle. 

At Le Petit Souffle, why not start with a light dessert? Chef Miko Aspiras starts me off with a refreshing Cold Matcha Latte with Matcha Softee (P 170), with the lightly bitter notes of the matcha tempered by the smooth, rich and creamy softee. Not too sweet, with the right balance of flavors in every sip. It's the perfect starter to kick off your dining experience at Le Petit Souffle, and a great way to beat the summer heat.

Then, it's time to sample the savory dishes, each meticulously prepared in the same manner as their signature desserts. Le Petit Souffle's Croque Madame (P 395), with Black Forest Ham draped in bechamel sauce, gratinated raclette topped with a free-range sunny-side up egg on a soft and flaky croissant, delivers rustic French flavors in a light yet filling dish. The soft and flaky croissant, with a light layer of crispness, absorbs the richness of the egg and the bechamel sauce, punctuated by the mild sharpness of the tender ham and the gratinated raclette. The use of a croissant makes Le Petit Souffle's version of Croque Madame different, and sets it apart from the usual dish served in other establishments. It's a light yet filling dish, perfect for an afternoon snack or a light lunch.

A hearty dish is then served next, reflecting the diverse culinary style at Le Petit Souffle. The Squid Ink Rice (P 395), soft and fluffy squid-ink rice topped with fresh seafood, shimeji mushrooms, and soft scrambled egg, combines the rich flavors of the sea in one dish, with plump shrimps, squid, mussels, and fish roe.

Each soft grain of rice is coated with the bold flavors of the squid ink, with each spoonful delivering sharp notes that burst in your mouth. The soft scrambled egg, with its creamy texture, completes the dish. The concentrated flavors of the squid-ink is intense yet light, lending that unique umami flavor to the dish. The play on contrasting flavors and textures blend seamlessly, without overpowering the other. This one's seriously good, and a personal favorite.

Chef Miko Aspiras then served a new and still off-the-menu dish, just one of the many creative dishes that will be made available. The Crispy Ramen Chicken, with tender and juicy chicken coated in ramen noodles and deep-fried, served with a Sriracha vinegar dipping sauce and shredded cabbage. All the flavors of the classic fried chicken, reinvented with an innovative twist.

A closer look at the perfectly crisp chicken reveals the delicate noodle coating, adding even more crunch with every bite. The spicy Sriracha vinegar dip cuts the richness of the chicken, with its soothing layer of heat. It's familiar yet new and different, and a tasty preview from the creative duo of Chef Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla.

Leave room for dessert. No dining experience at Le Petit Souffle is complete without their indulgent desserts. Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla take the basic souffle and transform it to another innovative dessert, the Matcha Souffle Pancake (P 180), a light matcha souffle pancake topped with icing sugar and matcha powder and served with creme anglaise and maple syrup. The airy lightness of the souffle provides the perfect base for this pancake creation, and the matcha flavor gives it a distinct Asian twist. You can also go for the Classic Souffle Pancake (P 160) for a traditional variant.

A generous drizzle of maple syrup and creme anglaise adds layers of sweetness and richness to the pancake souffle that pair well with a robust cup of hand-dripped coffee.

And you have to try the signature souffle. The Matcha Valrhona Ivoire 35% White Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Creme Anglaise (P 350), a classic dessert souffle with a refreshing green tea flavor. The contrasting mild bitter notes of the match are balanced by the rich creme anglaise, and the soft souffle absorbs the richness releasing a flavorful burst in your mouth. You can also go for the Valrhona Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate Souffle (P 350) or the French Vanilla Bean Souffle (P 300). Le Petit Souffle also offers a full range of Souffle Glace, or frozen souffle, for even more choices.

Then, there's Le Petit Souffle's line of equally impressive parfaits. The Salted Egg Caramel Parfait (P 220), an inventive new dessert with familiar yet refreshingly different flavors, with a creamy vanilla custard base softee on salted egg custard, topped with crunchy granola, chocolate pretzel sticks, caramel, peanut brittle, and almond dacquoise. The salted egg custard adds a pronounced salty yet rich layer to the dessert, pairing well with the creamy vanilla custard softee and caramel drizzle for that perfect finish at Le Petit Souffle. Other indulgent options include the Matcha Parfait (P 220) and the Strawberry Lychee Parfait (P 220).

Sweet, savory, unique, creative, and inventive. From starters to mains and desserts, Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla clearly have another winning concept. And you can find all these flavors at Le Petit Souffle.

Le Petit Souffle is located at the Third Floor of Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City or call 886-3056 for inquiries.

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