Chef Jessie Rockwell Club: A fine experience

Chef Jessie is not just anymore known as the first Filipina pastry chef but also a restaurateur-chef. She rose to fame in the Philippine restaurant industry during her Le Souffle days. Sadly, I never got the chance to dine in Le Souffle – it closed its doors to diners in 2009. Worry not because today she owns and runs 2 restaurants in the metro, Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie and Chef Jessie Rockwell club which I will be reviewing shortly. The restaurants of Chef Jessie are known to  serve French dishes; though I am not familiar with French cuisine yet, I am only ecstatic to explore it so I was very much excited when I learned that my aunt is celebrating her birthday in one of her restaurants. We occupied their function room which was beautifully set-up with minimal decor. Now let me tell you about her food.

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Photo credit to my cousin Lorraine

Each table was served with a basket of ciabatta bread and rolls accompanied by butter and a special dip. Fresh from the oven my dear friends – still very warm and soft. Butter is always the no-brainer spread of choice but there is something with olive oil dips that I’m always fond of. Chef Jessie’s special dip has a taste of a pesto sauce with slices of tomato and other herbs in it. What can go wrong with herb + olive oil, right? So good you will not want to stop eating those breads. But after several pieces, it will dawn to you that this is just the beginning of a wonderful lunch. So hold the horses.

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Photo credit to my cousin Lorraine

Let’s get down to business – start the drum rolling please. The entrée is Pan Fried Goose Liver in Raspberry-Honey sauce (served with a panache of assorted greens). This is a first for me. Creamy in texture, soft, rich are some words people use to describe a foie gras. On my first mouthful, I did not like it. Did not bother to have a second bite because all that registered in my tongue is its liver-y taste. Well yeah it is liver but I thought it would be the one liver that would change my mind about not eating other (pork or chicken) livers. But it did not so I passed up on this dish and gave it to my cousin instead (to her delight). Fast forward to present day, I am now consuming a fatty liver. I gave it another try because it was supposed to be execellent. How do I describe thee? Fragile, elegant and indeed, rich, very rich – it literally melts in your mouth. But is it worth it? Hmmm not in the mood for moral discussion so I’m not going to dive into the issues surrounding fatty liver production, maybe next time.

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Photo credit to my cousin Lorraine

Are you ready for something hot? Give way for the Creamy Lobster Bisque. Creamy and smooth yes, but I’m not really a fan of bisques (or I haven’t tasted yet the one I would like) mainly because of its roasted taste. When I first tried it several years ago, I already did not like it because of the same reason. Even without knowing how it is prepared back then, I can sense that something in it was roasted and when I looked it up in the internet (as I was writing this entry), I was right! To those who are not familiar with bisques like me, this is how its done:

…the shells are roasted and then simmered to produce a highly flavorful stock which is then thickened. The meat [of crustaceans] itself is added to the bisque near the end of cooking.

I still did not know the above information when we ate here, so I gave it a 2nd chance because of my love for seafoods…but its really not for my tastebuds.

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Photo credit to my cousin Lorraine

Now I’m ready for the real thing – the main course. But wait, not yet? Ah, Dalandan sorbet. Well I won’t argue with this, after the foie gras and bisque soup, this is a good transition for the tastebuds. It really cleanses your palate and readies you for the real thing.

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This is it guys. For the main course, it was a choice between Grilled Fillet of Chilean Sea Bass in Berlinoisse sauce and the Grilled US Black Angus Rib eye which everyone from our table chose. The steak was not a melt-in-your-mouth experience but it was tender. Again, I just wish it was thicker and bigger. But hey, I got my ‘fat’ wish. Just a little bit more please? It was submerged in mushroom gravy sauce when I took a bite (sort of and I do not remember if I was the one who did it!) but it was nevertheless tasty. It comes with a timbale of wild rice vegetable risotto and sautéed vegetables. This was the first time I tried a rice timbale and wild rice. It had a lot of going on so I was hesitant at first but when I tried it, I was surprised. It was very flavourful for a rice and it was the perfect match for the rib eye. I liked it very much, maybe more than the steak ;)

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Last but definitely not the least is the Demitasse of Mango Souffle. Oh.it.was.lovely. Just look at that overflowing (my bad here, admittedly) mango syrup! With the syrup, it was on the sweeter side but I still liked it. The souffle may not be perfectly done but the flavours are there and I’m happy with it.

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I have no complains with the service; when we asked for another batch of breads and rolls (sorry, can’t help it), it was served to us with very minimum waiting time. All tables was tended by more than one servers to ensure everyone got the next dish still hot and almost at the same time.

Chef Jessie played well with flavors and textures – soft, rich, creamy, refreshing, savory and sweet all in one sitting. This was not just a wonderful celebration, but informative too because of the new dishes I’ve tried. This is one happy diner here, thank you Chef Jessie for the experience (and to my Aunt as well hehe). If you are planning for an intimate or formal dinner, this place is recommended. Expect top-notch food and service here – with the price you’re paying, you should :)

G/F Rockwell Center, Amorsolo Dr
Poblacion, Makati
(02) 890-6543
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