Friday, June 25, 2021

Chef Alain Raye Lights Up Poblacion with a Lavish Dinner for Disciples Escoffier at Dr. Wine Manila

The night lights are lit once more in the once vibrant neighborhood of Poblacion as the economy slowly opens up with the easing of quarantine restrictions. And the lights shined bright one night at Dr. Wine Manila...

Poblacion is back, awakened from the long slumber of quarantine with its familiar Bohemian vibe. It's a cause for celebration, but with tempered optimism guided by mandatory health and safety protocols. Chef Alain Raye brings his elegant yet hearty culinary style to a memorable dinner hosted by Disciples Escoffier at Dr. Wine Manila for an evening of gastronomic delights with a French spin.

Poblacion Rises...

A popular dining destination, the Makati neighborhood offers a colorful palette of culinary experiences found in the many different corners and streets of Poblacion. Escoffier PH brings back its special dinner events to the neighborhood in one of Poblacion's rising restaurants. Escoffier PH Founding Chairman Chef Philip John Golding (L) and Escoffier PH President Chef Sau del Rosario (R) welcomed guests to the special dinner at Dr. Wine Manila...

It was an evening to catch up with good friends, and Dr. Wine Manila in Poblacion was the perfect setting for long overdue reunions. And a classic dinner by Chef Alain Raye.

Paired with wine, the special dinner for Disciples Escoffier at Dr. Wine Manila also introduced Michelin-starred Chef Alain Raye's culinary style rooted in traditional French cuisine. With years of experience under his belt, Chef Alain Raye showcases both traditional and modern culinary techniques with his take on French cuisine. That means rich and hearty with unrestrained flavors. 

French Connections in Poblacion

Any meal at Dr. Wine Manila begins with their fresh-baked bread, the Dr. Bread Sourdough. Served with silky smooth butter, a generous dab adds an indulgent layer of richness and flavor to open up the palate for the special dinner. You can always expect good things from a dining establishment when it shows the same level of dedication with its fresh-baked bread. 

Back at the counter, Chef Alain Raye keeps a close eye on the dishes being expedited from the kitchen. That evening, Dr. Wine Manila also welcomed back its regular customers after the long days of quarantine. It's both comforting and reassuring to see some semblance of normalcy after the quarantine experience. Things may never go back to the way we remember it in this new normal, but it's good to see the Poblacion neighborhood slowly back on its feet and in character.

Our dinner at Dr. Wine Manila began with the intricate Eggplant Caviar Wrapped in Thin Tomato garnished with herbs and edible flowers. It's a dish that immediately provides a glimpse of Chef Alain Raye's personal style and attention to detail. The soft eggplant caviar is delicately wrapped in fresh tomato sliced paper thin and drizzled with olive oil for an elegantly plated starter.

I was once told that freshness is flavor, and it resonates with this dish. The deceptively simple dish delivers seemingly contrasting and complex yet balanced layered flavors to the palate. The eggplant seeds add a delectable pop with each bite for textural contrast followed by the garden-fresh crispness of the tomato. 

The flavors are fresh, clean and uncluttered, even nuanced with the subtle sweetness of the eggplant given a flavorful boost from the sharp tartness of the tomato. Simple yet masterfully executed, the dish reveals Chef Alain's inventive use of fresh flavors in a unique starter of eggplant and tomatoes. There's this refined elegance in its simplicity, plated by Chef Alain.

And like the best dishes, the freshness of the ingredients deliver all the flavors. Impressed with the first course, Chef Alain returns to the kitchen for the main course...

The elegant starter by Chef Alain Raye was paired with the refreshingly crisp 2015 Jean Luc Baldes Comte Tolosan-Clos Triguedina Viognier & Chardonnay with its fragrant floral notes followed by vibrant fruity hints of pear. The pairing complemented the fresh, clean and mildly tart notes of the fresh thin-sliced tomatoes and deep sweetness of the eggplant.

As more guests arrived, many of them regulars, Chef Alain remained busy at the counter overlooking and expediting the various tickets for the dinner service. Chef Alain then emerged from the kitchen with the evening's main course...

...fresh from the oven. The plates are readied as Chef Alain carves the main dish. 

The savory Beef Wellington Served with Potato and Bacon Hunter Cake is Chef's Alain's take on Filet de Boeuf en Croûte. Widely regarded as a typically English dish, the French have long been known to wrap savory food in puff pastry. Chef Alain recreates this traditional and rustic dish with tender and juicy beef draped in duxelles or finely chopped mushrooms and paté covered in a crisp pastry shell with a side of potatoes topped with bacon known as Bacon Hunter Cake. It's a traditional staple for the hunt, hence its name. 

With its juicy pink center, the beef is tender and juicy delivering solid beefy flavors followed by the deep nutty notes of mushrooms and the buttery crisp crust. It's hearty comfort food, French style. The Bacon Hunter Cake is a meal in itself, with layers of sliced potatoes topped with crunchy and smoky bacon. 

Taken together, it's a rustic and hearty meal with an old world traditional vibe. Rich and full of flavor, the savory main brings comforting flavors with every bite in a homey bistro setting.

The main dish is paired with the 2018 Jean Luc Baldes Malbec du Clos, a deep and robust red with full-bodied flavors and smooth finish.

Chef Alain heads back to the kitchen to prepare the evening's dessert...

...the Tarte Tropezienne, a soft brioche with a rich and smooth vanilla cream filling. The origins of the indulgent filled brioche dessert is credited to Alexandre Micka but the more interesting story involved actress Brigitte Bardot while filming in St. Tropez back in the fifties. She suggested naming the creation after the town of St. Tropez. And it just doesn't get any more French than that.  

The soft brioche is transformed by the velvety smooth vanilla cream, adding a whole decadent layer of indulgence. Not too sweet, yet each soft bite drapes the palate with a lingering richness. The dessert is paired with Codorniu Clasico Semi Sec NV to cap a lavish dinner at Dr. Wine Manila. From starters to dessert, Chef Alain Raye offers traditional French flavors weaving new experiences to Poblacion.

Old friends and new friends, it was good seeing Poblacion again after so long due to the quarantine. And Chef Alan Raye of Dr. Wine Manila adds a rustic French spin to the multi-colored layers of flavors in the vibrant neighborhood. The neighborhood is back, resilient as ever, in the new normal...

Dr. Wine Manila is located at the Ground Floor, 5921 Algier Street, Brgy. Poblacion, Makati or call 0917 563 8811 for inquiries and reservations. You can also visit their FB Page at for more updates.

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