Friday, April 15, 2011

Manila - Philippines - Chef Jessie Rockwell Club

Whilst I am not Filipino (as some people have thought I am, although I've also been mistaken for Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean...), Manila is somewhat of a second home to me.

When my family moved from Hong Kong (where I was born) to Australia in 1998, my father ended up getting a job in Manila, so he spent half his time there and half his time in Melbourne with us (he has racked up the miles, believe me) and of course, when both my younger brother and I were in primary and high school, we were there almost every holiday.

In 2009 I started working for my dad and spent every other month there. Whilst I like the place, I'm glad I'm now in Melbourne predominantly.

So over the years I've gotten to know Manila pretty well and when I am there, especially on short trips like this one was, I tend to write up a little itinerary of favourite restaurants I want to eat at.


Chef Jessie is located in Rockwell, and used to be Le Souffle, but obviously has been taken over by the head chef there, who I've met briefly once and is a lovely lady.



When this was still Le Souffle, I much preferred this location over to the Le Souffle (which I think is now closed) in Fort Bonifacio, as the interior here is much lighter, brighter and whilst not so youthful, maybe a little more fresh and frinedly at least.

My Dad and I love getting a table next to the window that over looks the pool, it's especially pretty at night!



We started with 'caviar' with cream cheese on crackers. Simple, sinful, delicious. We both completely forgot I wanted to take a picture and immediately dived onto it once it hit our table, hence the half eaten picture. Whoops!


This is an old favourite of mine, it's always hard to pick what to eat when you're in a restaurant in the Philippines I generally find, as the menu is absolutely insanely massive. It's really not my kind of thing, but it's theirs apparently.

However, whenever I see the wild rice risotto (which is really not a risotto at all. More like a very neat and tidy stir fry?), with vegetables, I can never go by it. The wild rice is so beautifully nutty and wholesome, I absolutely love the almost crunchy, quite al dente texture to the rice. Slow release carbohydrate...hoorah! I was asked if I wanted it with chilli, which I replied to positively, only to find that they were certainly not being light handed with it! It was really exceptionally hot, and I can usually take decently spicy!

Still loved it though. Nice to feel healthy-ish!


My dad always loves their angel hair pasta here, he's always marvelled over how perfectly it's cooked and how tasty it is. Forgot what toppings he had here...was too busy battling chilli in my dish...


I was feeling rather peckish for sweets this evening. So we went for two desserts. Ooh la la.

Previously I had had their cheesecake here with mangoes and loved it, so I ordered it again, except with blueberries this time.

It was good, but quite different, this one was obviously baked with the crust around the outside of the cake that wasn't there in the past and I was hoping it would be more refrigerated, as I do like them cold. This was a bit too room temperature for my liking and although it was lovely that it was light, I was really looking forward to something thick and dense, which it wasn't. But I guess it's better for me that way and it was still an excellent dessert.

Just a shame when you're hoping to get one thing and get another you know?


However, their souffles were still divine. As you might have caught on before, the previous name of the restaurant was indeed 'Le Souffle' and they have a very, very generously sized souffle menu with almost every flavour you can imagine, chocolate, pistachio, almond, baileys, bananas...(my mum always orders a ginger souffle when she visits, which has never been on the menu). So you can only begin to possibly fathom how difficult it is to pick just one....

We decided to go with the milk and white chocolate souffle. It takes 15 minutes to get to us, but a well waited 15 minutes. It is airy, light, fluffy, absolutely everything it should be. And chocolatey.

Oh and they served chocolate sauce on the side with it. There's seriously nothing better than digging a hole in the middle of the souffle, watch the steam freshly spiral out (as of course it is freshly baked), and fill it up with sauce. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So whilst I may not get chilli in my wild rice 'risotto' again, I always love going to, the now, Chef Jessie and knowing that I will always consistently get food which I enjoy.

Ground Level, Amorsolo Square, Amorsolo Drive
Rockwell Center