Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Taste of Provence at Mireio

Art and the rich and rustic cuisine of Provence blend seamlessly in Raffles Makati's newest dining destination...

Raffles Makati recently launched its newest fine dining restaurant, Mireio, offering local diners a taste of Provence high up the Makati commercial and business district. Inspired by Nobel Prize-winning poet Frederic Mistral's love for Provence, Mireio recreates traditional French cooking techniques with Mediterranean influences in an elegant setting. The inspiration stays true to the Raffles tradition of honoring literary luminaries, with Mireio set to become one of the metro's top dining destinations.

Located high above at the ninth floor of Raffles Hotel Makati, the new upscale brasserie-style restaurant is named after the heroine of Frederic Mistral's classic poem, Mireio. Throughout its elegant interiors, various art pieces inspired by Provence can be found, including the impressive cubist mural by Marcel Antonio (R).

Drawing inspiration from French art, cubism and the rustic and vibrant colors of Provence, Mireio takes you on a visual and culinary journey to southeastern France, with its impressive collection of commissioned art and its equally impressive cuisine prepared by Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin.

The casual yet refined interiors of Mireio exude a graceful elegance, accentuated by commissioned art pieces from local artists showcasing the rich culture and culinary traditions of Provence, from its spacious dining areas to private function rooms and board rooms. The entire space is a piece of Provence at the heart of the metro.

Mireio also features an upper level with its formal bar and open rooftop terrace offering guests panoramic views of the Makati skyline. It's the perfect spot to catch the sunset with a few rounds of handcrafted cocktails created by master mixologists. At the bar, special cocktails inspired by Frederic Mistral were served...

...strengthening the literary connection with one of Provence's favorite sons and literary luminaries. Dennis, one of Mireio's master mixologists, entertained guests with his smooth moves as he prepared Mireio's signature cocktails. Nothing like a few rounds to get you in the proper Provence groove...

Start with a refreshing Spritzer followed by a round of cocktails inspired by Frederic Mistral's poem... the Vincen, named after Mireio's forbidden love, a soothing blend of Hendrick's Gin, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, lemon, soda water, and fresh cucumber slices. The distinct floral notes of Hendrick's Gin come through with every sip, followed by the fresh sweetness of cucumber perfectly finished by the deep, smoky notes of Laphroaig Islay Single Malt. 

The aptly named 1947 strengthens the French connection even further, referring to the year the Philippines and France signed the Treaty of Amity establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. The cocktail's key components include the best of both countries, with Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac from France and our very own Don Papa Rum, capped by sweet crushed raspberries and fresh lemon juice. French cognac and Filipino rum in one innovative cocktail, it's the proper cocktail to toast the enduring and close ties between the two countries.  

In between sips, tasty appetizers were served, including Mireio's Oyster Cream with Iodine Foam served on a half shell. The delicate briny sweetness of the oysters are just what you need...

...with another round of Vincen, as you ponder on the tragic love of Mireio and thoughts of Provence linger in your mind's eye as you gaze on the brilliant nightscape of Makati from the open rooftop terrace. It's this recurring theme that makes Mireio special, with its subtle associations with Frederic Mistral's poem reflected through its art and cuisine. Then, it was time for a taste of Provence...

That evening, management and staff of Raffles and Fairmont Hotels welcomed guests for the exclusive preview of Mireio. David Batchelor (L), Managing Director for Raffles and Fairmont Hotels, detailed the tradition of Raffles with literary and artistic connections, with Mireio as its latest dining concept.

Nicolas Bracq (L), Mireio's Restaurant Manager,  then described what diners can expect from Mireio, traditional cuisine from Provence with its menu dictated by the season's freshest produce and flavors as Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin (R) and his team prepared the first course for the evening's dinner...

For the first course, Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin served his elegantly plated Amuse Bouche, a tasty duo of Smoked Salmon with Granny Smith Apples and Dijon Mustard Cream and Beef with Goat Cheese, Basil and Crispy Bread. The fresh and clean notes of the salmon are punctuated by the subtle bite of the Dijon mustard and the sweetness of the apples for complex yet balanced flavors. The savory richness of the beef tartar is layered with the creamy notes of the goat cheese and minty basil, rich and flavorful starters reflecting the vibrant "sun-drenched" flavors of Provence.

Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin's second course featured an indulgent Roasted Duck Foie Gras, Granny Smith Apples and Ginger Chutney, another impressive dish from Mireio. The thick slab of foie gras just melts in your mouth, releasing savory and buttery notes lining your palate. The sharp flavors of the ginger chutney tempers the richness of the foie gras, cleansing the palate as you go for another indulgent slice.

Then, Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin served his comforting Chilled Zucchini Soup with Basil and Chorizo, a hearty soup with pure and fresh flavors. The bold notes of the chorizo contrasts with the mild hints of the fresh zucchini for another masterful blend of flavors. For Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin, it's all about using the finest and freshest ingredients of the season. 

A native of Provence, Nicolas Cegretin's menu combines the rustic style of home cooking recreating dishes he grew up with and more sophisticated versions honed by years of experience from his own culinary journey, describing his dishes as "elegant in a simple way, so that the flavors of our ingredients are the highlight."

Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin then served his next course, the Grilled Skipjack Tuna with Carrot Mousseline, Espuma, and Caramel, offering the season's freshest flavors on a plate. The lightly grilled tuna is tender and juicy, with its fresh briny notes complimented by the sweet carrot mousseline. Plated perfection.

For the main course, Chef de Cuisine returns to his roots in Provence with the rustic Slow-Cooked Ox-Tail Parmentier with Black Truffle Jus and Meslun, a hearty dish with tender beef topped with buttery and creamy potatoes. The richness of the beef and buttery potatoes, along with the distinct earthy and nutty notes of the black truffle combine for comforting, home-style flavors. One spoonful is enough to transport you to the idyllic countrysides of Provence, with its pure and honest flavors.

For dessert, Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin shared his sinfully indulgent Rum Baba, Coconut and Lime Panna Cotta, Exotic Soup, Mango, and Passion Fruit Sherbet to complete your culinary journey to Provence.

After a freshly brewed cup of coffee and more sweet bites, Mireio had one more surprise for the guests that evening...

A nightcap with the green fairy ends the evening on a high note, with rounds of Absinthe served the traditional way, slowly dripping iced water from an absinthe fountain. The mysterious, and often dark undertones surrounding Absinthe just added yet another layer to my experience at Mireio. Said to be the drink of choice by many artists and writers like Hemingway, Picasso, Verlaine, Toulouse-Lautrec, and van Gogh, it's another link to the enduring aura of Provence.

One sip reconnects you with the fabled past of Provence, and another brings you back. That's Mireio in a nutshell. And in a sip. Formally opened last December 12, 2016, diners now have another culinary destination to add to their long list of options with Mireio at Raffles Makati. Now you can have a taste of Provence right here in the Mireio.

Mireio is located at the 9th Floor, Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati. For more information and reservations, call 795-0707 or email 

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