I believe having a little lunch by yourself every now and then is healthy for one's soul, oui?
I'm on a constant lookout for happy places, places---usually restaurants, cafés or bookstores---where I find comfort and contentment (apart from my home) even for a couple of hours. Usually these spots have a serene and relaxing atmosphere, serve coffee, and don't make me feel like I have to leave right away. Books are a plus, albeit I have my own personal library in my Note 2, so I'm not so worried.
Living in the South, I would always pass by and notice Le Petit Chéri whenever I'm in the area. One particular morning, I was already hungry, having run errands around Alabang. My last stop was at Molito, and Le Petit Chéri was one of the very few restaurants that were open before 12 noon. In fact, I believe they open as early as breakfast time.
The place was spaceous and bright, with the sun shining through the big picture windows, muted only by the light Roman shades that covered them. A glass display showcased different cakes, pastries and macarons, while on top stood a pretty Eiffel Tower figurine. They sold little ones just like it, as well as different French-inspired mugs, as seen under the grand winding staircase leading up to the mezzanine.
I hurriedly perused the menu for something warm and savory to fill my stomach before I eat something heavy, and the Shrimp Bisque quickly caught my eye. A pottage of shrimp purée, tomatoes, white wine and brandy, the flavors were robust, and bordering on briny, yet it was exactly that why I kept putting spoonful after spoonful into my famished mouth. A couple of shrimps curbed the richness when included in certain bites, while the cream added a little dimension to the flavors at hand.
You couldn't get any more French than with the Coq Au Vin (pronounced as kōk ō van), and so I went ahead and tried it. Tender chicken that was rich with its juices and herbs, it was cooked in brandy and red wine sauce, and served with haricots verts (green beans) and rice pilaf. The combination of flavors were a delightful and palatable one, so much so that I kept dousing each piece of bare chicken meat with the sauce. The mushrooms were a great touch, a certain earthiness to end each lovely bite with.
The iced tea had a tincture of zesty calamansi that made me breeze through it like cold water after a morning exercise. I still had dessert in mind so I ordered for another beverage, something coffee based yet still cold. The caramel in this Créme Caramel Latte was lost on me; nonetheless, I still enjoyed the drink.
While waiting for dessert, I trekked up the staircase to take a peek at the mezzanine. It was filled with more tables, and a large bookshelf occupied the wall on the right. On display were business books, children's books, and books on lifestyle and design, catering to every crowd. Further ahead was a function room, also with its own bookshelf. Several paintings adorned one wall overlooking the dining area below.
From a top view, such massive size could very well pass for a hamburger...
...only, I didn't order one.
It was the biggest macaron I have seen; even bigger than the ones in The Cake Club. Just like it though, the discs were a bit dry. A crunch precedes a dollop of cream that washes through your mouth, bringing with it pieces of dried fruits and nuts. I thought there was too much Chantilly cream for my own good, and lacking of sweet tooth that I am, no amount of nuts or candied fruits erased the saccharine taste on my palate fast enough. The orange and pineapple compote did help at first, bringing with them some faint traces of acidic tang, but I still couldn't bear to finish the whole thing. Oh yes, it was an eye candy, albeit for the likes of me, this Le Petit Chéri macaron was simply just that.
Despite being disappointed with the dessert, I would definitely go back here again. Good, affordable French food, plus a very nice and relaxing ambiance, it's pretty hard to find such a combination elsewhere.
Le Petit Chéri
Spot: Molito Lifestyle Mall, Madrigal Ave. cor. Commerce St., Alabang, Muntinlupa
Contact Nos.: 0917-511-0138 or 403-6354