Offering European dining with Asian sensibilities, Epilogue at the S Maison, the luxurious mall of Conrad Manila, serves continental cuisine with Japanese touches, fusion without going overboard.
The restaurant is helmed by Japanese chefs with various expertise. Kenji Ishihara from Monologue in Jakarta and Tomohide Ono are both Asian- and Japanese-style bread and pastries savants; executive chef Hayato Mitsuhasi brings Japanese precision to Italian cuisine; while chef Minoru Sorimachi is a master of steak and teppanyaki.
Dimmed lighting creates an understated elegance, while brick walls provide warmth in Epilogue where one can bring a business colleague out for lunch, or have a quiet meal with a glass of wine or two.
A lighted bar in red — the colors can change from time to time — gives a dramatic focal point, while bright open kitchen provides patrons with a framed view of quiet precision.
Epilogue’s menu is wittily divided into preface (soups and salads), foreword (pizza), introduction (appetizers) chapter and verse (mains), dedication (pasta), and finally, afterword (dessert). And as tasting menus are gaining momentum here in the Philippines, Epilogue also offers a four-course tasting menu that includes your choice of two starters, main course, and dessert.
Start your meal with Ishihara’s tasty bread creations.
Favorites include the Red Wine Bread with a cream cheese center, which had the barest taste of red wine but had the best texture — very soft and chewy; and the full-flavored Tomato Cheese Bread with every bite tasting as advertised (one can easily envision eating a piece as a quick breakfast snack).
Take note that these breads can be bought at the pastry counter near the entrance of the restaurant.
Foreword, we go! Edamame on a pizza was a novel experience, giving you a bite full of umami with other toppings like mushrooms and wagyu beef.
Feeling like a pizza and pasta combination? You won’t regret ordering the Hayato’s Special, freshly made homemade gnocchi by Mituhasi — light and pillowy in a light-handed gorgonzola cream, topped with prosciutto di Parma, asparagus, walnuts, and Parmigiano Regiano crisps. Certainly a contender for the best gnocchi in Manila, this dish is available every day except on Thursdays, when Mitsuhasi is off.
For the mains, I was partial to Foie’s Gold. Quite a classic pairing with its generous portion of pan-seared foie gras with its dark, crispy bits hiding that creamy rich fatty center atop buttery mushroom risotto with a hint of truffle.
The rosemary-garlic portobello, and the shimeji mushrooms on the plate helped umami matters along as well, while pink peppercorns added a touch of floral spice, cutting the overall richness nicely, although a squirt of lemon would not hurt either, because this dish is rich and all things decadent.
Since one of the captains of this culinary ship is a steak expert, it won’t come as a surprise that steak is one of Epilogue’s specialties.
To those classically inclined, there’s the Maestro, grilled steak Rossini (read: tenderloin) cut of US Prime Angus Beef paired with foie gras and a potato gratin, sauced with a from-scratch demi-glace.
Family celebrations in Epilogue, meanwhile, call for the King’s Cut, 600 grams of US Prime Angus Rib-eye grilled to your preference with sides of potato gratin and creamed spinach, demi-glace sauce (be cautious in saucing with this, as a little goes a long way), kombucha salt, and even wasabi.
Ease into the afterword with a cup of their specialty Kro Coffee or if matcha is a favorite, you’re in for a treat as Epilogue exclusively serves Do Matcha in the Philippines. Do Matcha is a ceremonial grade matcha brand, and in Epilogue can be enjoyed in latte form, or in a cocktail like the Matcha Mojito.
Sip your coffee, tea, or cocktails in between bites of saccharine treats like the sugar-forward Dulce De Leche Cheesecake, or the chocolate hazelnut layered Plascir Sucre. Or if you’re going for the full matcha experience, Epilogue’s Matcha Torte has layers of meringue, matcha cream, chocolate matcha and nuts.
Or head on over to the bread section and take another bite of that Red Wine Bread.
Republished from ABS-CBN News