I am supremely thankful that a lot of trendy places are deciding to promote themselves via coupon sites, because it really feels like I’ve been afforded the privilege of really good food that I wouldn’t usually be able to try out. No exception is FEU Makati’s cooking school’s resto, LOOP.
Coming from a culinary school myself, I know that that sort of restaurant tends to be a very good learning ground for students in both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations. And for those who are really into the hospitality industry, the experiences there can be fun or you can have some entertaining stories to tell about the things you’ve gone through there.
Finding the building itself was a challenge for us, since we do not often wander deep into the Makati area. We had to ask for directions from the security guard of a nearby building who pointed us in the correct general direction. Once I found the sign that said FEU, we knew we were in the right place. But out of the whole building, the actual restaurant is in one, almost negligible, corner (read: sulok). The low, intimate lighting makes it harder to find, especially at night.
The reservation we had was for near closing time, so we pretty much had the place all to ourselves, which is fine because we really got the feel of the intimate setting. The ambiance is quite good. They have a glass-less show kitchen, which is really a must for culinary school restaurants.
Our coupons were for some Australian Meltique™ Strip Loins (part of their steak promotion), soup, and some chocolate desserts at the end.
First, we were served with the bread plate. Personally, I thought it was a fantastic way to start off dinner. Those look like regular slices of French bread, but if you have the sense to drizzle on a bit of the provided olive oil (or whatever the heck oil it was) and sprinkle some salt, it becomes such a delight. I will not apologize for waxing poetic. Those who appreciate the subtle harmony of flavors will know how far a bit of oil and salt can go. The big granules of salt bring out the sweetness of the oil.
Mom was too afraid to try it out. She did not relish the idea of stuffing “oily, salty” bread down her throat. I tried to explain, but to no avail. Pffft. Her loss.
That was followed with onion soup, which lacked the cheesy bread on top. Other than that, it was quite good. Though the plating is fairly simple, the seasoning was fine.
We ordered some drinks… All rated good on my book. The signature drink is interesting. It has a name like Sakura or Cherry Blossom or something. Fruity, sweet….
Up next was the main attraction: Steak!… Let me just say that the ingredients really do contribute to a huge part of how a dish will come out. After all, what use is the best chef in the world if you get a bad piece of steak?
But I will be quick to add that the chef also did a fantastic job. They kept it simple, but everything was so flavorful. The steak was tender, tender, tender. And I have to admit that it is still amazingly tender and juicy despite the fact that I ordered it medium-well. (It’s a compromise I have to make when dining with my parents. They always go for well-done for long term gastrointestinal health. —Hay nako!— But I am also willing to meet halfway.) Still tender, by the way, after my parents ordered it well-done.
The green circle around the plate is basically parsley juice. It disappears once you have the gravy on, but works as a nice design for the plate. Mashed potato was done properly enough that it didn’t require being smothered with gravy, though I still put a bit of the sauce because that’s just who I am. Veg is also cooked well (thouroughly, but not soggy).
Though the serving size isn’t in steakhouse portions, I found myself pleasantly full afterwards, with room to spare for some dessert.
The Chocolate Symphony, though tiny (a bit bigger than a serving of baklava), has the desired impact. It caps off the meal very well. This is to say that the food served in that set was not light on the flavors, but complemented each other nicely. Made with valhrona chocolate, this dessert melts in your mouth in a “warm and fuzzy feeling” way. The sweetness doesn’t kill the chocolate. And in my opinion, the serving size is just right: It satisfies you, but makes you want more.
At my request, we ordered the Pear Frangipane Tart as I have been intrigued by frangipane for a while now. The idea of fragrant ground almonds on a tart gives me high expectations. Perhaps it will taste like macarons…
It was my first time to try frangipane and, frankly, I was disillusioned. I couldn’t really taste the almonds that much. It was all crust. The poached pear was fine, and so was the ice cream. The bleu cheese crumble is reminiscent of a compact helping of cream cheese in terms of texture. However, I found the pastry too big if you decide to eat each scoop with a bit of pear, ice cream, and crumble. If that is how all frangipane tarts are, then they are not my cup of tea.
Overall, though, the food is definitely something to come back for. The careful preparation is obvious here. On our way out, my mom did not forget to compliment the chef on the cooking. And I agree with her perfectly.
LOOP Creative Dining
cor. Sen Gil Puyat Ave.,
(Buendia) and Malugay St., Makati
*Near RCBC and The Columns Condominium