Wednesday, August 06, 2008

let's eat: la régalade french bistro

tonight was not a good night to eat at la régalade. first of all, we're on a diet. secondly, part of that diet is de-toxing, which means no alcohol. for one week lang naman. this is day four and we just know we're gonna break it by friday, so tonight we were good. la régalade is a new resto that seems like it was one year in the making and it finally opened over the weekend. it's supposed to be a franchise of a canada-based resto owned by a michelin-starred chef. OK, so we're ready to be impressed. it starts with the phone call and when we called for a reservation, we were made to wait for FIVE minutes, we kid you not, as they checked the reservation book. interiors: nothing special, lots of dark wood, an open kitchen, a long bar on one side, and donut-shaped lights, which reminded us of a chinese restaurant we ate in in hong kong (same lights, only they were red). but we gotta say, we LOVE the ladies room! this is the only restaurant we've been to where the ladies room was actually BIGGER than the men's room. the ladies' had a nice little lounge and only two stalls, but each one had its own sink! and guess what, there was actually a QUEUE for the one-man-at-a-time men's room. never seen that before. well, except maybe at V bar (or was it venice?) back in the day. menu was short and tight. but we were on a diet, so we went straight to main course: grilled jumbo tiger prawns with lime and ginger (P820). our date ordered a gratinated onion soup (P200) to start with and stewed lamb with dried apricots and spices (P750) for main course. the servings were huge and are meant to be shared family-style. the prawn dish had five pieces and were really jumbo. it was really good, like nothing we've ever tasted before. it had a rustic vibe going, like some french countryside grand-mère got a bunch of ingredients from her garden, chopped them up, and mixed them all together in a pot. the lamb was good too, tender, tasty, very comfort-foody, but we weren't feeling the mechado-ness of it all. it was served with couscous, which went well with the prawns too. the soup was huge too, with generous servings of cheese and onions—sticky, steamy, and stinky, just the way we like it, heehee... now we were a little disappointed with the wine. our date ordered a glass of côtes de gascogne and for 200 bucks a pop, you wish they'd be just a little bit more generous. we mean, a bottle of this at retail must be about 500 bucks! we also have to comment about the service. our table must have been given the worst waiter in the room. there were a lot of "VVVIPs" and "owners" there tonight, so the good guys were probably dispatched to their tables. first, he forgot our order. twice. if you're not gonna write it down, you better damn well remember it. we ordered three things and when he served the soup, he had to ask our date what his order was again! then our date ordered a second glass of wine, which the waiter also forgot. there he was standing in the corner and we tried to get his attention with eye contact and mental telepathy to no avail. so our date stood up and went to the bar to get the wine himself. THEN when the waiter picked up our water glass to refill it, the coaster stuck to the bottom of the glass and fell on the middle of our plate! the worst part: he didn't even notice! we had to call his attention to it to be more careful next time. he tried, but failed. his grade: NI (needs improvement). birthing pains, we know, we know. but we're definitely going back for the food.

la régalade french bistro, 820 arnaiz avenue (pasay road), makati city, tel 750-2104, 750-2105 (it's right across kink cakes)

7 comments:

SR said...

I was so disappointed with La Regalade, not so much by the food, but by the service. I pretty much had the same experience as you.

The food is comfort French, which in itself means simple and not fancy. So the food, true to form, is nothing spectacular. But nonetheless, it is with good flavor, good quality and generous in portion. However, I find that at the P800 to P1,000 price range, it's a bit pricey. As someone directly involved in the restaurant trade, I calculate that a reasonable price level would be at P200 lower.

The wines, all from Sommelier, are priced retail times 3 (old school pricing). These days, the more prgressive restaurants and even the hotels are priced at times 2 max, not times 3.

Maybe they are undergoing birthing pains, but I'd like to share my negative experiences:
1. The waiter forgot what I ordered and ASKED ME to repeat it AFTER he served my soup;
2. I had to ask for a spoon for my soup;
3. He placed our dishes in front of us as if they were individual plates (just like in your pic, notice how the lamb had a large serving spoon). I had to ask for service plates and I moved the dishes in the center;
4. The wine by the glass is served so short, it's as much as the half portion CAV serves;
5. The couscous was lumpy;
6. The waiter bused out (actually more like grabbed) my companion's plate without asking, while he was still eating from her salad bowl!
7. Lastly, my pet peeve--I paid cash and my change was supposed to be P636. being short P1 doesn't bother me, but they gave me back five P100 bills, two P50 bills, one P20 bill and fifteen P1 coins! Each bill was so bulok, as if it just came from a wet market. It was so gross, I did not want to touch any of it. But the staff didn't deserve a single peso's tip, so I picked them all up, down to the last coin.
8. Neither the manager, nor the owner cared for our problems. We didn't get a hello, a how was your dinner nor a thanks for coming from them. Heck, we noticed them all night, but we were never noticed by them. I guess they VVIP's had to be attended to more than us.

Maybe I'm nitpicking, but trust me, one or two problems I'm willing to accept (I was even expecting it). But when all those happen in one night, it doesn't make a good first impression.

It'll be a while until I go back.

Worth a try, but be forewarned.

EIA said...

I love your site!!! :-) Very informative and uber-cool! I'm wondering if we've met before. I used to work for Sta Elena under Gippy T.

the fash pack said...

thank you, eia :-)

teddy said...

hi there..

you're right about the food. we went there i think the next day after you and elbert did and the food was VERY good - we especially liked the bourguignone and the Manila clams with chorizo and tomato - SUPERB! for me the only downside was the bread. ew.. didn't like it.. i wonder if they make it themselves, but it was pangit. the bouillabaisse was excellent, too! it wasn't too full when we were there (it was a thursday nite) and well, service wasn't bad at all. the best thing, aside from the fare, was the price - we ordered maybe three appetizers, the lamb, the bourguignone, the clams and chorizos, french onion soup and the bouillabaisse and a bottle of red and the bill came to an unbelievably cheap $160! one of the chief owners was there and maybe he gave us a discount but if he did, i wasnt aware of it.. but still - we were four people who ate and it was all a really good deal.

teddy said...

hi there..

you're right about the food. we went there and the food was VERY good - we especially liked the bourguignone and the Manila clams with chorizo and tomato - SUPERB! for me the only downside was the bread. ew.. didn't like it.. i wonder if they make it themselves, but it was pangit. the bouillabaisse was excellent, too! it wasn't too full when we were there (it was a thursday nite) and well, service wasn't bad at all. the best thing, aside from the fare, was the price - we ordered maybe three appetizers, the lamb, the bourguignone, the clams and chorizos, french onion soup and the bouillabaisse and a bottle of red and the bill came to an unbelievably cheap $160! one of the chief owners was there and maybe he gave us a discount but if he did, i wasnt aware of it.. but still - we were four people who ate and it was all a really good deal.

S&R said...

I was so disappointed with La Regalade, not so much by the food, but by the service.

The food is comfort French, which in itself means simple and not fancy. So the food, true to form, is nothing spectacular. But nonetheless, it is with good flavor, good quality and generous in portion. However, I find that at the P800 to P1,000 price range, it's a bit pricey. I think that a reasonable price level would be at P200 less.

Maybe they are undergoing birthing pains, but I'd like to share my negative experiences:
1. I also ordered onion soup and had to ask for a spoon for my soup;
2. He placed our dishes in front of us as if they were individual plates (just like in your pic, notice how the lamb had a large serving spoon). I had to ask for service plates and I moved the dishes in the center;
3. The wine by the glass is served so short, it's as much as the half portion CAV serves;
4. The couscous was lumpy;
5. The waiter bused out (actually more like grabbed) my companion's plate without asking, while he was still eating from his salad bowl!
6. Lastly, my pet peeve--I paid cash and my change was supposed to be P636 but they returned only P635. being short P1 doesn't bother me, but they gave me back five P100 bills, two P50 bills, one P20 bill and fifteen P1 coins! Each bill was so bulok, as if it just came from a palengke. It was so gross, I did not want to touch any of it. But the staff didn't deserve a single peso's tip, so I picked them all up, down to the last coin.
7. Neither the manager, nor the owner cared for our problems. We didn't get a hello, a how was your dinner nor a thanks for coming from them. Heck, we noticed them all night, but we were never noticed by them. I guess the VVIP's had to be attended to more than the rest of their customers.

Maybe I'm nitpicking, but trust me, one or two problems I'm willing to accept (I was even expecting it). But when all those happen in one night, it doesn't make a good first impression.

It'll be a while until I go back.

Worth a try, but be forewarned.

Anonymous said...

I ate there last night with my colleagues. The service was so-so. The food was just okay (personally prefer Je Suis Gourmand and La Cabane). Worth a visit, but nothing special. You are right about the wine though, they really are so kuripot with the portions. The one thing that really got to me was the music. I don't understand why it had to be so loud! Thanks for posting about it tough, I wouldn't have known about it if not for for you. Cheers!