When In Manila, one’s search for glorious food will never come to an end. Question is what makes a good food? To me, it only not refers to how the dish was done; the location where it could be found should also be a major factor to be considered. Located at 5th level of the newest landmark boutique hotel along Katipunan (The Oracle Hotel and Residences) is The O Bistro & Cafe.
Aside from the wide-array of delicious cuisines served, the bistro boasts of providing customers with a different taste of ambience smack right in front of Ateneo de Manila. Interiors are tastefully done with their proud display of artworks from Manny Garibay, Rene Robles, and William Yu to name a few.
An intimate, well-lit bistro situated high enough so it’s away from the noise of traffic, it’s perfect for small gatherings, (tip: perfect for dating couple*winks) with a maximum capacity of around 30-40 pax. The room is compact yet very modern and clean. They have an expansive menu, at the same time all dishes are reasonably priced.
I was curious to ask the Hotel Manager and Director for Sales and Marketing Ms. Angie Vicencio if the bistro has a specific trademark type of cuisine. “Before we were tied to doing Italian cuisine but now we are venturing into different types so as to be more versatile”, she said. She added that they bistro is open to non-hotel guests as well and is having students as one of their largest market. I admire this bistro as they not only reach-out to the needs of their customers but they ensure that even their prices are affordable, they do not sacrifice the quality of the food they serve. This was attested when I had the chance to taste their impressive dishes.
With appetizers laid before us: Sisig Bruschetta, Ham and Tuna Bruschetta, Roti Canai and Chicken Satay, they offered their own version of Peach Tea (Php75++) to wash up our thirsty indigenous tastes.
Sisig Bruschetta (Php190++) is a fusion dish of toasted Italian bread topped with tasty and crispy pork mash flavoured with caramelized shallots and finger chillies. I’m used to eating Sizzling Sisig alone (best paired up with beer) but with it served with French bread? Indeed something new, but with the sour cream drizzled on top, it accentuated the Sisig’s distinct taste. The crunchy and chewy French bread complemented the Sisig well.
The Ham and Cheese Bruschetta, toasted Italian bread topped with cream of Shitake and button mushrooms with dashes of Serrano ham and parmesan cheese (Php220++) was a perfect canvas of what a finger food should look like. It wasn’t too smokey neither too salty, added up with the right mix of the mushroom and cheese. The balsamic vinegar they generously spread on the lettuce will make you want to bring a bottle home.
I totally missed my home in Singapore and was glad that they served two of my well-loved dishes there: the Chicken Satay (Php225++) a famous Thai skewered chicken marinated in choice fresh spices and served with peanut sauce and Roti Canai (Php150++), famous Indian flat bread served with curry sauce.
The Chicken Satay was well marinated and the peanut sauce made the taste more delightful. I love peanut sauce that is not too sweet and this one is just right.
The Roti Canai, is not your ordinary flat roti bread. It’s a little more doughy, certainly not flaky, chewy and crunchy! I very much enjoyed this version as their curry dipping sauce was intensely flavourful and delicious. Not to mention that I loved how it was presented.
Their Mesclun Salad (Php200++), caramelized walnuts, dried cranberries on fresh pears and romaine lettuce truly captured my heart. I would exaggerate if I say that this is one explosive dish, to think that it was just a salad. But the attack of the caramelized walnuts and cranberries was just to die for. It was a breakthrough from the average salads I used to eat in even 5-star hotels.
O Bistro’s Linguini Carbonara (Php245++), linguini in white sauce, chicken, mushrooms, and lardon of bacon with garlic bread. The smell itself is enticing enough; wait until you taste that creamy sauce with the burst of the fresh herb spices in your mouth.
Now, their Fish Salpicao (Php220++) tender chunks of cream dory fish sautéed in garlic and served with steam rice and vegetables was a revelation. One would think this was meat but in fact it was fish, cream dory to be exact. You don’t have to chew it actually; it melts in your mouth. That’s how good it is. Perfect for the vegetarians as well.
Moving forward to the main entrees, here comes the Herbed Roasted Chicken (Php340++), slow roasted chicken with herbs served with steamed rice and panache of vegetables. Really mouth watering as the soft tender meat was rested on a bed of pure mashed potato goodness.
Beef Curry (Php335++), tender boneless beef infused with Indian spices served on a bowl of steaming hot white rice. Even if you are not a curry-lover, you cannot resist the oozing flavour of the curry sauce. The amount of spices used was also appropriate unlike the other curry dishes I’ve tried with other Indian restos.
Here comes the main attraction: O Bistro’s Beef Medallion with Gratin Dauphinois (only Php500++), Australian beef tenderloin cooked to your liking served with oven baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. Yes, only Php500++ for approx 180grams. Steal! Move over Mr. Angus or even Wagyu, here is one competitive dish for those who wanted to eat this dish without a rip off on your budget.
It was served medium-rare so the softness of the meat made our meaty side roar in high spirits once again. Though I prefer my meat always medium-well, it still satisfied my palate. The meat was truly juicy and the flavourful sauce and the potato gratin with roasted and melted cheese is already a filler. “This is our highly-recommended dish in O Bistro”, Ms. Vicencio proudly states.
Then there’s no escaping the sumptuous desserts. O Bistro’s Blueberry Panna Cotta caught my attention. I simply adore them. This is one fool proof dessert I also used to make but it’s difficult to achieve that so-called panna cotta taste. Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian dessert and must portray the following characteristics: light, refreshing, and simple. Seeing the dessert itself, I had no second thoughts tasting it. Placed in a nicely chilled glass, it definitely looks creamalicious!
It didn’t fail me, thank goodness. Imagine the gastronomic food we had only to be spoiled by a dessert? Just when I thought that it sealed our sumptuous feast, they let us try another signature dessert, the Chocolate Fondue. Another steal! Why? Real dark chocolate, fresh fruits, lady fingers and marshmallows, fresh sweet mangoes and apples all for only Php215++. You can go here and spend tea time with your friends right?
Head down now to Katipunan and experience this bliss. Everybody deserves to have this heavenly feast When In Manila agree? Best part is you don’t have to settle for ordinary joints just to suit your budget. This is one classy dining establishment that is definitely worth a come back.
For more information:
QC’s cream of the crop: O Bistro & Café