The dream collaboration that led to Chef Du Partie

7 months ago

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Chef Du Partie

More so if it’s a plan brewed by a set of culinary giants in their own rights: Malou Forest, of Mamou and Recovery Food fame; Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara of Mesclun and Chuck’s Deli; and Kristine Gallego-Locsin, formerly of Lu. Chef du Partie, or CDP Global Table, is a joint project between these three ladies, and each one’s strengths and specialties are on display at the restaurant. There’s Katrina’s European influence at play, Mamou’s glorious steaks, and Lu’s famous small plates.
“The concept started when I first went to Buvette in New York. It’s a French bistro that serves small plates, but their portions are really robust. At that time, tapas were really popular in Manila but we wanted to do something different,” Malou shares. When she brought Katrina to New York to try out the restaurant, the pair knew they were on to something special. And when Kristine came on board, the trio was practically unstoppable.

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Even with such a pedigree behind the restaurant, CDP Global Table never feels snooty. In fact, it’s just the opposite—the food and wine list are accessible, and the service is warm and friendly. The manager of the restaurant is Ann Berges, a French lady. “We wanted a French manager because we also serve wine. Ann is perfect because she’s from Bordeux and her family owns a winery—and we have the same philosophy, that wine shouldn’t have to be expensive to be good,” Malou says.

Ann, ever friendly and approachable, is always at the restaurant to assist diners in choosing their drinks, but the restaurant also has a helpful drink menu listing the different flavor profiles of each wine, and suggested wine pairings; it’s like having your own personal sommelier! The cocktails at CDP are crémant-based. “Crémant is sparkling wine that’s not made in the Champagne region,” Ann says. “But sometimes, it’s actually better than champagne!” Try the bubbly cocktails like the Anjou, Rosalee, and my personal favorite, the Ezmeralda with kaffir lemon lime liquor and grapefruit.

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The food, of course, doesn’t take a backseat to CDP’s spirits: try the French Onion Soup, which is so thick and hearty that it can instantly dispel any rainy day blues. “If I were thin, I would have this every day,” Malou jokes. The Maine Lobster Vongole is also a crowd favorite—fresh Manila clams liven up al dente pasta flavored with fresh fennel, while Maine lobsters add a luxurious twist to the dish. Although the bowl is small, it’s meant for sharing—although I doubt you will want to share. The Steak Frites Poutine has crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fries topped with wagyu steak cooked to your desired doneness (an influence of Mamou for sure; this is best medium rare) topped with gravy and kesong puti in place of cheese curds. Blue cheese is served on the side with more gravy. And for an appetizer that’s (quite literally) to die for, don’t forget the Pig’s Ear Fries—crispy fries with an extra oomph from the cartilage, that’s best dipped into the accompanying anchovy vinaigrette. It’s street food all gussied up, and an excellent display of the playfulness that went into creating CDP’s menu.

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Everything, from the excellent wine list, the well-curated menu, the whimsical interiors crafted by Jorge Yulo, to the warm service, make CDP a winner in our books this early in the game. “Where is CDP going? That’s hard to say. A lot of things are happening so fast. Try asking me again in six months,” Malou laughs. If the current menu and service—already stellar, and something most diners would be hard-pressed find room for improvement in—are anything to go by, then we have a lot to expect from CDP in the future indeed.

Words by Janelle Año
Photographed by Grace Juliano
Located at Ground Floor, 148B Level R1 Power Plant Mall, Lopez Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati


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