New Restaurant Le Petit Soufflé in Century City Mall Dishes Out French-Japanese Comfort Food

Chef Miko Aspiras is unstoppable.

After his stint with Magnum Café and his well-received craft cookie concept, Scout’s Honor in Hole in the Wall, he dives headfirst into another venture: this time, an ambitious French-Japanese bistro—a rare, if not the only, restaurant of its kind in Manila. Le Petit Soufflé, brainchild of Chef Miko and his Scout’s Honor partner, Kristine Lotilla, is one of the newest additions to the sprawling dining choices at the Century City Mall, aiming to give the simplest and the pickiest of diners a taste of two delicate cuisines combined together.

Le Petit Soufflé has one of the prettiest interiors I’ve seen yet—from the fancy façade, to the communal tables, lounges, and intricate seating, to the brightly-colored walls that exudes a permanent sunny feel. I loved the garden-inspired set-up which fills the space with shades of green, like the one lined up on the divider and the fake foliage in the ceiling, from which dangled some decorative rolling pins. It came as no surprise then, when we were told that the restaurant is owned by the same group behind Hole in the Wall.

East Meets West

The menu is a fusion of French and Japanese, a few dishes highlighting both in terms of technique and ingredient. Majority of the items are what we would regard as "comfort food". Be prepared for a rather lengthy post because we ordered almost everything from the menu, LOL! We started with the fantastic Onion Soup (PhP220): caramelized onion soup topped with gratinated gruyere and Emmental cheeses. The flavors were satisfyingly rich, and each spoonful automatically led to the next—this one made me lick my bowl clean.

Corn soup has never been presented before the way the Sweet Corn Potage (PhP195) is. Here, roasted Japanese sweet corn is sautéed, boiled, and blended, then topped with shaved parmesan and—wait for it—salted caramel popcorn! I loved the creaminess and the contrasting sweetness and saltiness in this bowl. With the soups displaying how the Le Petit Soufflé chefs puts twists on traditional dishes, I wondered excitedly what else lies ahead.

The Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad (PhP345) is a must-order: fresh sesame-crusted tuna loin on a bed of greens, tossed along with shimeji mushrooms and tobiko (flying fish roe), and served with a sesame-wasabi dressing. I loved the sweetish kick of the dressing. Actually, I’m a fan of similar dishes like tuna tataki, so this was a big hit for me.

Le Petit Soufflé serves a variety of pasta dishes. There’s the Pancetta Carbonara (PhP355) done the traditional way, no cream and served with egg yolks, then topped with aged pancetta and roasted cashews. The Mac and Foie (PhP625) is as indulgent as it sounds—with 3 kinds of cheeses (cheddar, Emmental, gruyere), shimeji, crimini, slices of Hungarian sausage, and seared foie gras. I loved the multiple textures and flavors in this one.

However, my favorite was the Vegetarian Soba (PhP325). Here, cold soba noodles entangle slices of zucchini, mushrooms, red bell pepper and several other veggies in a light shoyu sauce. The dish was perfectly seasoned, and perfect if you’re looking for a healthier option. I’m going back for more of this.

Traditional French food is also available, like the Croque Monsieur (PhP375), a croissant filled with bechamel, black forest ham, and gratinated raclette, served with a side salad. There's a version with a sunny side-up egg, of course—the Croque Madame (PhP395).

We tried an assortment of rice meals, starting with the Japanese Beef Curry Soufflé (PhP525). The savory soufflé was filled with rice and beef strips doused with a delicious Japanese curry sauce. The spice level was moderate and tolerable enough to keep you going. But the folks of Le Petit Soufflé aren’t done surprising us yet. They rode into the fried chicken bandwagon with an inventive entry: the Crispy Ramen Chicken (PhP355). Instead of regular batter, they used ramen noodles, then serve the juicy chicken with a sesame-dressed cabbage slaw reminiscent of most Japanese plates. The sesame-Sriracha sauce was incredible.

Chef Miko insisted that we try their Squid Ink Rice (PhP395) and damn, were we glad we did! A blanket of creamy soft scrambled egg cloaks the delicious squid ink rice beneath. The rice was perfectly al dente, the briny flavors exploding with every spoonful. Some seafood and mushrooms are tossed in for added texture, but believe me, the squid ink rice is enough.

To-Die-For Drinks and Desserts

For desserts, there is no shortage in comes to choices. Seeing as Le Petit Soufflé is helmed by pastry chefs, not ordering dessert when you visit is kind of … stupid. We tried all three parfait variants, the first of which is the Matcha Parfait (PhP220), made with a matcha custard base with chocolate cake chunks, chocolate syrup, coffee jelly, beans, and white chocolate wafer. This was well-balanced and delicious, but hardcore fans of matcha might find the tea flavor they crave for a bit too subtle.

The Strawberry Lychee Parfait (PhP220) was better, in my opinion. Vanilla custard mingles with chunks of vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, almond dacquoise, strawberry syrup, lychee jelly, vanilla wafer and crushed pistachio. I loved how this was nicely sweet without being too cloying.

My favorite? Why, the Salted Egg Caramel Parfait (PhP220) of course! Who would have imagined salted duck egg would work so incredibly well in a dessert? I totally dig the contrasting saltiness (egg) and sweetness (vanilla custard, caramel sauce) of this dessert, along with a play of textures (peanut brittle, granola, almond dacquoise, choco-coated cookie sticks). YOU HAVE TO ORDER THIS!!!

Now, on to the soufflés. Of course, please don’t leave Le Petit Soufflé without trying any of the soufflés! There’s a light and fluffy classic French Vanilla Bean Soufflé (PhP300) which I thought was AMAZING, as well as a matcha version (Matcha Valrhona Ivoire 35% White Chocolate Soufflé – PhP350) for those who can’t get over their green tea cravings. The Valrhona Guanaja 75% Dark Chocolate Soufflé was unforgettable—a fluffy dark chocolate frozen soufflé served with a tart orange and berries sauce.

People who are truly passionate about food have this concept of “tear-inducing” food—Le Petit Soufflé’s Valrhona Grand Crus (PhP375) is such a dessert. Layers of a hodge-podge of Valrhona chocolates make up this cake—Araguani, Caramelia, Dulcey, and Equatoriale—resulting in an extremely rich, sinful, indulgent dessert. Chef Miko himself showed us how it’s eaten best, poured the vanilla bean crème Anglaise sauce and mixed it with the dark chocolate dust. I’m craving for this again!

For drinks, trust me and order the Strawberry, Mint, and Celery Iced Tea (PhP375/carafe)—a refreshing blend that’s subtly sweet and minty, perfect for the summer heat! A Yakult Guava Iced Tea (PhP375/carafe) is also available, but if you’re craving for something richer, get the Cold Matcha Latte with Matcha Softee (PhP170).

The Verdict

With diners nowadays a lot more playful, open-minded, and adventurous when it comes to eating out, I have no doubts that Le Petit Soufflé will be a huge sensation. The ingenious twists on the dishes say a lot about the creative minds of the chefs, but even if they are reinvented or presented in an entirely new way, they pay respect to their French/Japanese roots. If you’re ready to be surprised and experience a new progression of Manila’s dining scene, head over to Le Petit Soufflé at the Century City Mall. My top recommendations are the onion soup, tuna salad, vegetarian soba, squid ink rice, salted egg caramel parfait, and Valrhona Grand Crus. Let me know what you think about these dishes when you drop by the restaurant. I'm already planning a trip back to take my friends, especially the dessert-loving ones!

Congratulations to the people behind Le Petit Soufflé!

Le Petit Souffle
3/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave., Poblacion, Makati City
11:00AM - 10:00PM
Budget: PhP500/head and up

Do you love matcha? Soufflés? Fusion cuisine? Have you tried Le Petit Soufflé? Share your thoughts and comments in the Disqus feed below!

My meal was sponsored by Le Petit Souffé. All opinions, however, are my own.

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