12 September, 2007on
from top left, clockwise
Barkada Ribs, Oysters Royale, La Maison’s Exteriors, Scallops Florentine
Here is a confession of sorts. I hate surprises. Thus, when it comes to writing my restaurant impressions, I do my research. Yes, I know. By reading other people’s opinions on any subject, I could end up tainting my own. But I would like to think that I do know that the opinion of single food blogger doesn’t make (or break) a restaurant or that most newspaper food articles sound like glorified press releases. Both media must be read with a grain of kosher salt. Enough said.La Maison is not a Manila-based original. Established by the husband and wife team of Ray Alcoseba and Marissa Panganiban, this “casual French restaurant” opened its kitchen in Lahug, Cebu. Due to its initial success, a second branch opened at the Ayala Center Cebu soon after. In May this year, the couple, with the help of their Swedish chef and partner, Chef Robert Lilja took a leap and opened their Manila branch at the Ayala Trinoma Mall.
There is a feeling of confusion with the interiors of this restaurant. On one side, there’s an attempt to transport guests to a European home and yet on the other, the umbrella ceiling lamps and rattan furnishings bring you back into a more modern Pinoy reality. It’s almost like the restaurateurs couldn’t decide the direction to take with their restaurant’s design.
A notable grace of this restaurant is the service. The waiting staff from the very moment you enter their establishment are prepared to serve. They are courteous, attentive and fairly knowledgeable about their restaurant and food they serve. They were never overtly hovering or obtrusive. The La Maison’s service was above satisfactory.
From the food to the interiors, La Maison attempts to make the fine dining experience more accessible and affordable. The restaurant’s desire is to bring French inspired cuisine to a clientele who would not normally want or need to eat in an expensive and intimidating French brassiere. This goal although admirable does have its failings. By pandering too much to conventional tastes, the primary ingredients that make a memorable dining experience are lost in deluge of over sauced dishes and misaligned interiors.
Would I return to La Maison? For now, as a personal preference, I think I’ll be running away from home.
Ayala Trinoma Mall
North Edsa, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 916 6351
Telefax: (02) 916 7069
Ayala Center Cebu
Ayala Food and Entertainment Center
Cebu City, Cebu
Telephone: (032) 415-7077 to 78