Rosa Ocampo spends a delightful evening indulging in Provencal-inspired dishes in a brasserie-style restaurant
Mireio, Raffles Makati’s signature restaurant, was launched a few months ago. It is split into two floors – on the ninth floor is the main restaurant that can seat 77, plus a private dining room for 12. A staircase connects the main area to the rooftop bar and lounge, Mireio Terrace, which has 60 al fresco seats and 10 in the air-conditioned section.
Adhering to Raffles’ literary connection, Mireio is named after the eponymous poem by Nobel-winning poet Frederic Mistral of Provence, who wrote about the forbidden love between Mireio, the daughter of a rich farmer, and a basketmaker, Vincent.
The first thing that struck me when I stepped into the restaurant was the warm and cheery vibe exuded by the Provencal-inspired brasserie. The floor-to-ceiling windows allowed in light, whereas the white, royal blue and yellow furnishings, flowers in tall vases and a lemon display made up the inviting interiors.
There was also a mural depicting the daily life of Mireio in Provence, and an antique book of the poem in the Occitan language. As well, the plates in the private dining room were painted based on Mistral’s poem.
Created by chef Nicolas Cegretin, himself a son of Provence, the dishes on the menu take their cues from the rich traditions of the French countryside and are cooked using traditional French techniques.
I chose the beef tartare as a starter. The added goat cheese added a creamy taste, while the basil brought out the taste of the meat.
I then progressed to the chef’s bouillabaisse. This sumptuous seafood broth gets its colour and aroma from the rouille sauce which contains saffron and cayenne paper. The shrimps are cooked just right they’re almost transparent, and the restaurant certainly didn’t scrimp on obtaining the freshest available seafood.
For dessert, I opted for the apple tart tatin which came topped with a heavenly scoop of vanilla ice cream. The crust was crisp and the thin slices of Granny Smith apples were neither soggy nor too sweet, lending to a palate-pleasing treat.
Instead of a cup of coffee to round off my meal, I opted for a shot of absinthe, the anise-flavoured liqueur distilled from the wormwood shrub. The elaborate setup the speciality drink was served in was a talking point.
Restaurant manager Nicolas Bacq – also from Provence – brought the traditional water fountain to my table.
The cold water trickled drop by drop, melting the sugar cube slowly, passing through the hollowed absinthe spoon and into the glass. Bacq explained that sugar and water were slowly added to the absinthe so as not to alter the aroma and flavour.
I liked my absinthe, which was not too strong and had a sweetish tang. I regret not emptying the glass for fear that I might get drunk.
It’s personalised, attentive and efficient. While waiting for my dining companion, I decided to climb up to the Mireio Terrace.
Bacq offered to show me around. He recommended visiting the terrace between 17.00 and 17.15 to catch the sunset and linger until night descends to see the city skyline light up.
Mireio serves great food at affordable prices. It is also tops in location, ambience and service. It must also be mentioned that Mireio Terrace is a fantastic vantage point to watch the sunset over Manila Bay.
Location 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City
Opening hours 18.00 to 00.00; Mireio Terrace17.00 to 00.00
Telephone (63) 2 795 0707