Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jeffrey's Manila RestoReview 2008: Zucchini's

Zucchini's Grill and Vinotek, Quezon City

I have to come out and say I'm a little biased about this place. My previous trips here have been nothing but beyond expectations. I can still taste their wonderful Cream of Apple and Pumpkin Soup (with roasted walnuts and apple chips) and the Lamb Lollipops with Saffron-infused Rice.
However, this actually works against them for my review today. I was expecting nothing but pure gourmet ecstasy. Sadly, I was not as impressed this time around.
For appetizers, we shared a Sea Scallops dish served multiple ways, and a Duck Breast Salad. The Sea Scallops dish had nothing memorable and was mostly mush. Even the element served with foie gras lacked flavor. The salad looked pretty appetizing but alas the duck was overcooked, and eventually renders the dish flavorless just as a salad dish with overcooked meat.

The soup never fails to impress. I tried the Roasted Mango Soup instead of the usual Apple/Pumpkin. It tasted more like Squash soup as it was more savory than sweet. I think it was probably a squash soup mixed with some mangos, and mango bits to give it a little bit of a sweet after-taste.

The Lamb Lollipops a la Provencale (with Escargot Ragout, Cauliflower Puree, and Zucchini Florentine) was pretty interesting. The taste of the lamb paired with the Provencale sauce was quite disappointing, but I was more interested in the sidings. The Escargot Ragout had a very subtle taste but a very distinct presentation, it was mixed light and airy, similar to a garlic mash. The Zucchini Florentine was some spinach contained in a section of zucchini, covered with some melted cheese. Disappointed by the taste, but presentation is still wonderful.

Dessert? I can't really remember if Zucchini's has good desserts or not. I ordered the "Frozen Coconut Souffle". I've never heard of such a thing.... souffle, that's frozen? (Okay, maybe it's because I'm just not an experienced gourmet.) Plating, presentation, and originality are all off the charts. This was some crazy concoction from the chef's demented psyche. The base of the dish was thin slices of pineapples caramelized with sugar and created little saucers of pineapples. On top of that in the center was some type of frozen coconut custard, similar to panna cotta, accented with a cherry on top. This was more a work of art than food. Visually impressive, but hard to eat. The custard was alright, but the pineapples were very hard to cut, and definitely way too sweet.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

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