We've always had the impression that good French food is pricey and come in servings that can only satisfy a tiny bird. That's why we usually exclude them from our options when we're out on a date. But this belief changed when we dined at the Champetre (pronounced as "sham-pet") Boutique and Restaurant—a classy, breezy joint featuring authentic French food by Chef Marc Aubry.
It's light and airy inside this restaurant in Taguig, with its bright buttercup yellow walls, leaf stencils, the vines on the ceiling, and ambient music setting the mood for a romantic time. It's very homey, and it lives up to its name Champetre, which translates to "country style."
It reflects on the way they prepare their food too. Moving away from the snooty, stuffy reputation that most French restos have, this one offers the kind of French cooking the way it's cooked in French homes before they fancy restaurants gussied them up.
Here's what we had:
STEAK TARTAR (P690) is made of chopped beef seasoned with parsley, onions and capers.
TRADITIONAL ESCARGOT BOURGUIGNONNE WITH GARLIC BREAD (P480) has a strange name but it's basically this: snails in a sauce made of red wine, and onions.
GRILLED US BLACK ANGUS RIB EYE WITH ROASTED BONE MARROW & MUSHROOM SAUCE, FRIES & SALAD (P1,450) is cooked on the outside and red on the inside. Just how we like our meat!
RABBIT ALA PAULINE (P920) is named after the chef's grandmother who used to cook this for him when he was a child. And yes, it's really rabbit—rabbit with bacon, tomato, mushrooms and herbs.
PAN-FRIED SEA BASS WITH PEPPERCORN SAUCE (P980) is definitely a sea change from the usual bangus and tilapia.
ALGERIAN COUSCOUS (P920) has three kinds of meat in it: chicken lamb and beef. Think of couscous as a rice-alternative. Just as filling but grainier in texture.
GRILLED ATLANTIC SCALLOPS WITH MUSHROOM DUXELLE & PUFF PASTRY WITH BEURRE BLANC SAUCE (P990) are soft on the inside, firm at first bite, and creamy all the way through.
NELUSKO CAKE (P280) is the first chocolate-based cake that Champetre's chef learned to make as an apprentice.
DARK CHOCOLATE & ESPRESSO ICE CREAM (P190) A homemade delight. The soft, fine textures will have you asking for seconds.
Champetre Boutique & Restaurant is located in G/F Net One Center Bldg, 26th street corner 3rd avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. They are open from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Photography by Paul Mondok