I was introduced to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to yesterday. Kathy, like me, has decided to leave the BPO industry and got a job with Alliance Francaise de Manille. She’s been inviting me to have lunch at Le Couge Rouge and, after canceling on her on January 15 because of my session, we finally set aside January 22 (Saturday) and it pushed through.
And I have never been so glad for something to push through.
I’ve been needing an Art-Fix since I did my second Alveo run two weeks ago and Alliance was exactly what I needed. I kind of foresaw the restaurant as a small bistro tucked into a little corner in Reposo – I did not expect it to be a wonderfully designed restaurant on the first floor of a French institution. Eating in Le Couge Rouge was an EXPERIENCE.
It wasn’t just the food, albeit, admittedly, the food was really good. Kathy and I shared the following dishes: cut up baguettes with butter, pork chop with veggies and rattatouile, chicken with couscous and rattatouile, a slice of quiche lorraine, iced tea (with refills), chocolate croissants (for dessert), apple pie (complimentary) and a bit of white wine (complimentary as well). Our check came to just over a thousand bucks – which, for the amount of food we ordered for the 4-hour lunch we had, was not at all bad.
But I’ve always believed a good dining experience doesn’t start nor end with what is served. The food was good – although I would work on the plating a little – but there were so many other things that would make me want to go back:
Part of Le Couge Rouge’s charm is that if you didn’t know about it, you’d never find it. It’s inside Alliance Francaise de Manille, this wonderful, wonderful French school in Reposo. Upon entering the institute, you first see their reception area – very small and welcoming – with brochures on their different services. One brochure even lists 5 reasons why you should study french! Walk a little further and you’ll be in a bit of open space. Now I’m not sure if this is the real set up of Alliance, but when I was there, the space was used to house wooden sculptures (see image). I wasn’t able to get a look at their tags, but I knew Alliance was only featuring Arturo Luz this month, so those were probably also his creations. After that bit of space comes Le Couge Rouge. With around 10 tables and 4 couches to sit guests, the restaurant oozes with warmth and sophistication. A bar serves as their bridge to the kitchen as well as a display area for the various pastries and pies offered.
I didn’t get to see the second floor – Kathy told me, however, that this was where the classrooms were located.
Needless to say, the food was delectable. And, thanks to munchpunch.com, I can actually write down the dishes’ names. First of all, of course, was the endless supply of bread given – baguettes sliced into inch-thick pieces with softened butter. The it was the Quiche Lorraine (ham and cheese in cream). This was my order originally but Kathy and I ended up sharing everything. Then for our main dishes, we had Blancs de Poulet Couscous Aux Legumes (chicken fillet couscous with mixed vegetables) and Cotes de Pore Couscous Aux Legumes (pork chop couscous and vegetables). Not contented with 2 main dishes and a slice of quiche, we still opted to get dessert – so Pain Au Chocolat (chocolate croissant) it was.