Sunday, October 11, 2009

Islandhopper Dines at Purple Feet

Wine Depot, 217 Nicanor Garcia St. (formerly Reposo St.), Bel-Air,
Makati City, 8973220, 897816

The Bait:
Dining in the middle of wine heaven
The Line: "Our Wine List is Our Wine Shop"
The Hook: Green tea pannacotta
The Sinker: I'm nitpicking here, but if you pick a copy of their biz card, you see their unimaginative logo, a literal translation of "purple feet," which at best reminds you of your neighborhood spa and at worse, reminds you of er, purple feet.
The Catch: P1k-2k per person; exclusive of wine

How can this semi-alcoholic, 100%-gluttonic [my word] couple refuse an invitation to dine in a wine shop on the week that Wine Depot was having a restaurant promo around the metro?

With no signs outside, Purple Feet gives you the experience of entering a speakeasy, sans the burly bouncer and the secret password. It feels like you're in on a secret, but it's the food that is the contraband, not the alcohol. Walking in, one might take several minutes to get to the dining area with all the eye candy -- glistening, glowing bottles of wine calling out your name, tempting you to shop. But we had friends waiting for us, so we had to resist all impulse to walk the aisles.

We were pretty hungry too; this made our decision to go for the set menu easy and obvious. Check out that picture of the blackboard. Four courses, each one accompanied by a glass of wine. At P888. It's a really good deal; unfortunately tonight (October 11) is the last night for it.

The Blue Cheese Seafood Chowder is hearty, creamy, flavorful -- three adjectives tops on my gustatory vocabulary. Dig deep into the tiny soup cup to find spoonfuls of shrimp and calamari. I would have wanted more, But more dishes were to follow. The Villawolf Gewutz...gewirtz...gewurtz...uhm white wine that comes with it is sweet; tastes like champagne without the fizz. A good start.

The Atlantic Smoked Trout in Macadamia Dressing doesn't look impressive, but actually tastes good. To my untrained wine palate, the Tulloch Verdelho was just okay, but that's because I'm not really big on white wine.

For entrees, my hubbalicious chose the chicken, and I had the fish -- one of the few occasions when he was right, and I was wrong. The saving grace of my Lemon Poached Garfish with Saffrom and Olives were the fresh, raw herbs topping it, and that dollop of Indonesian catsup on the side. Other than those, the fish was the opposite of spectacular. More white wine, please.

Our host, who opted for the ala-carte menu had Duck Breast, which she made me try. It's very good -- oriental-flavored, slightly sweet, crispy skin. For that price (900+) though, you might be better off getting your duck fix in chinese tea houses, says my host. Of course, aesthetically, the warehouse, secret restaurant ambience of Purple Feet is hard to beat.

The dessert totally made up for the entree. The Green Tea Pannacotta was sublime. And the Dr. Loosen Reisling was almost ignored, if not for the fact that I'm cheap and I don't want wine to go to waste. The Vittoria Coffee is very good; dense, bitter, and strong. Great ending to a good, well-paced meal.

I would love to come back on a non-promo night. The dishes on the other blackboard look like must-tries -- that Portabello Mushroom with Foie Gras and Stilton Cheese is now officially part of my bucket list.

But what's more interesting is the option to pick out "raw ingredients" like beef, scallops, duck from the board, and then collaborate with the chef to whip up dishes to your liking. That and the green tea pannacotta are worth a return trip. I'll have red wine with my dinner next time though.

(Forgive me for the lousy pictures taken by my lousy phone cam.)


Simply Life said...

looks like some great selections!