February 10, 2010

Dinner for two at Masseto

Looking for the perfect venue for a romantic tête-à-tête dinner with your loved one? I present you: Masseto. I first heard of this place through D.'s EMBA friends raving about the mouth-watering food and posh interiors and then remembered I had read about it somewhere.
For our birthdays, we decided to give it a try and see for ourselves if the flattery was unfounded or if we had just found ourselves a new culinary gemstone in Makati.

Masseto is located on Valero Street, near corner Rufino. There is no building name and no big signage, just a signature red seal, symbol of the renowned Italian wine that gave the restaurant its name - and testament of the wine-loving owners.

The ambiance is warm and rich. The interior design includes alcoves lights for dim, intimate lighting, lush and heavy armchairs, dark wood, marble bar top, and a glass wall behind which thousand of bottles of wines are kept at a perfect temperature.

Being suckers for anything truffles (Truffle Eggs Benedict from The Goose Station being a clear favorite) we started off with potato chips with truffle dip as our apéritif snack, followed by crab cakes with red bell pepper sauce as appetizer. The truffle dip was yummy, although the chips just tasted like regular chips. I really enjoyed the bell pepper sauce of the crab cake. A tangy mango sorbet palate cleanser was served to us right after.

For entrées, D. ordered the crispy duck leg and I chose to go for the sole with brown butter lemon sauce but unfortunately they were out of stock on the fish that day and I had to switch my order to lamb ribs and sausage with couscous.
Both dishes lived up the raves. The duck was tasty, moist and had outrageously delicious skin. I wished I had ordered it so I didn't have to be content with just one bite. The lamb was literally falling of the bone and the sausage was reminiscent of the merguez sausage we used to eat in the South of France. The dish made me reminisce which is made it even better.

The dessert was a little disappointing after the tastebud-high of the main course. Warm chocolate cake with honey ice cream sounded like a no-brainer. And we did indeed cleaned up the plate, but overall I would say it was good not extraordinary. I think the lava cake of Cyma could easily live up to Masseto's version. The honey ice cream could use a hint more honey.

I think everyone should at least give Masseto a try, even the more so if you're looking for a slightly more upscale intimate venue. I am also assuming that they have a fantastic assortment of wines - we don't drink any but it certainly looked like it and knowing one of the owners, I'm sure they do.


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