Friday, December 5, 2008

Bianca's is Back!

I have zero self-control.

I told myself that I would blog about this restaurant after I tried other dishes on my next visit, but I just cannot contain my excitement.

After almost a year of renovations, Bianca’s has finally reopened its doors. The Yakal St. “Dynamic Duo” of Bianca’s (Swiss) and Carpaccio (Italian) has resurfaced as a multi-level gastronomic mecca for foodies craving authentic European fare, which will soon include a steakhouse come January 2009.

Those who know me well (and are privy to my gluttonous exploits) are aware of my deep love and devotion for Bianca’s. Ever since my dad started bringing me there for lunch before going to the office together (a bribe, I believe, so that I would be encouraged to go to work more often), I was immediately hooked.

If I could have my meals there every single day, I probably would. Their classic Central European dishes (Beef Goulash with Spaetzle, Roesti Emmenthal) and Continental menu items are both hearty and reasonably-priced. Post-renovation, the management has decided on focusing solely on Swiss food, which made me a bit sad. I have always enjoyed their weekly specials, wherein I get to have a totally different meal on every visit. The server pointed out, though, that they still had weekly specials (where you get to choose one appetizer and one main course), although all the items, of course, are Swiss dishes.

The interiors expectedly reflect the cuisine- floor-to-ceiling wood planks, wrought iron light fixtures, the Swiss red-and-white reflected on the window trimmings and table setting. You can tell that the place was done and tastefully-decorated with a lot of attention to detail and a good dose of love. The restaurant, after all, is named after the Swiss owner’s- Mr. Werner Berger (same owner as Santis Delicatessen)- daughter, and a tribute to their heritage.

Since it was just their second day of operations after reopening, Mr. Berger and F&B Manager, Andreas, were there to entertain the guests. The usually grim and subdued owner was in high spirits, greeting and joking around with us and other diners. Andreas also dropped by the table a few times to check up on us, and chatted with us about Swiss cuisine, how the flavors are actually more attuned to Filipino tastes than we think.

To begin our meal, Matt and I both had our own servings of Raclette (a mildly-flavored, semi-soft cheese) with pearl onions, mini-gherkins and boiled potatoes. I don’t think I have to describe how delicious melted cheese tastes like.

Accompanying this rich dish, I had a glass of Fendant D’ Amour 2005- a crisp, steely and nicely herbaceous white wine. Sexy wine distributor Bluefrog turned me onto this Swiss white (which she initially described as “strange”), sharing that its hint of cheese (I figured gruyere) in the finish makes it a highly-recommended accompaniment for fondue. And was she ever right! It was a match made in heaven, for sure, and it made me want to order more Raclette so I can keep on sipping the wine with it. Priced at around P600 per bottle, this is a sure winner for potluck wine and cheese gatherings. I’m thinking it would go quite well with most semi-soft and mildly-flavored hard cheeses, from Fontina to Manchego.

Since I just had Geschnetzeltes (pork or veal strips topped with a rich mushroom sauce, typically served with Reosti) recently at Cave Werdenberg (the wine bar next to Santis Yakal), I opted not to order my favorite Swiss dish this time, and picked the Chesa Bianca Meatloaf with Reosti (pan-fried shredded potatoes). Mr. Berger recommended I pair it with the Ventisquero Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 2005- an extremely robust, full-bodied Chilean red wine. This is truly modern in terms of heft and complexity- deep purple, blackberries, wood shavings anise and some kind of baked fruit… I can imagine it would stand up well to the richest of stews. With a dab of spicy Tomi mustard, the meatloaf and potato dish was a pretty good match with the wine.

Matt ordered the Sausage and Reosti, but decided to replace the Cervelat with Veal Bratwurst. With the veal sausage, Mr. Berger recommended he have some sweet onion sauce with his dish. It was good, but my conservative German still preferred good, old-fashioned Tomi mustard, which was thoughtfully provided in huge, unopened tubes.

It was lovely to see my favorite servers in their new traditional Swiss uniforms. I wish I could have taken pictures, but I’ll catch them next time. The service in Bianca’s is consistently great as ever, the staff obviously well-trained and always chirpy. Food always comes out fast and hot.

I will surely be back to try more of their dishes. I like how the menu seem to be authentic Swiss, and not a hodge-podge of Central and Eastern European dishes, like in some restaurants out there. I’m pretty sure that food-loving Pinoys will not be trading in their sinangag for reosti, but if what Andreas says about Swiss food being quite similar to Filipino flavors holds true, then Bianca’s one-two punch of great food and excellent service will most definitely make it a permanent fixture in Manila’s swiftly-diversifying foodscape.

Chesa Bianca Swiss Restaurant
Yakal St.
(the building next to Santis Delicatessen)
Brgy. San Antonio, Makati City
Tel. no. (632) 8151359


Miguel said...

hmm authentic swiss food...should go there soon. Last time I was there was too long ago

Chinkee said...

Hi Miguel! Yes, you should try the new menu. I kinda miss the old one wherein it was more like bistro/cafe fare. Matt always used to order their the Angus Cheesburger which he claims to be the best in Manila. Sayang... But then, the new all-Swiss menu also looks promising.:-)

Ines said...

Wow it looks great! Can't wait to go again and check it out! Went there a month ago craving shnitzel and it was still closed!

Fendant is so great with raclette, the photos are drool-worthy! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinkee,

WOW, very swiss-like this restaurant. The wood-interieur gives a lovely cozy-feeling.

Nice week-end,

Anonymous said...

P.S. I grew up on the swiss border.


Chinkee said...

Hi Ines! Yes, the Fendant and Raclette was an excellent pairing.:-) Do visit them soon. I'm sure their schitzel will be good, just like the menu items I have tried. Enjoy!

Chinkee said...

Hi Martin! It's a lovely restaurant, isn't it?:-) I hope you get to try it if ever you somehow end up on our side of the world. Let me know what you think if you do.

I actually visited your blog recently and saw all of your enticing recipes. Hoping to try the Alain Ducasse roasted chicken soon.

Thanks for dropping by!:-)

Anonymous said...


you will love the Alain Ducasse roasted chicken, as I saw you made a wonderful chicken for your family on Thanksgiving Day.

All the best, :-)

Noel said...

I look forward to revisiting this place. The food sounds hearty and robust. All we would need is winter surrounding us as we eat.....but air-conditioning will do well enough.

Nice post. Made me hungry.



Chinkee said...

Hi Noel! I really enjoyed writing about this one... It shows how much I love this place. Can't help playing favorites sometimes.:-)

Just realized I can't do the Bianca's lunch with you guys. I'll be cooking something up for our barkada's christmas dinner and I'll need to be alert and sober to do that.:-) Please let me know if you guys are up for fondue some other day, though.

Thanks for the invite again...

Chinkee said...

Martin- Actually I can't take credit for that turkey (it probably looked like a chicken ccompared to the ones you get over there. Hehe.). That was really my sister's and her friend's handiwork. And, boy, was it good! I only made the mac and cheese.:-)

dyosa said...

I'll try this one soon. Thanks for sharing.

mikky said...

an old favorite... glad their back... :)

Chinkee said...

Hi Dyosa! Yes, definitely a must try...

Chinkee said...

Hi Mikky! I know, right?:-) So happy they're open again. Just went back for the fondue and, in my opinion, its the best one in the city.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I just came across your blog. It's great reading, but it's making me hungry! Aaargh! :)

The menu's been extended lately to include some international, home-style, comfort dishes that are more in lieu with the original Bianca's... have you been there lately?



Chinkee said...

Hi Najube! Actually, I was just there two days ago after a really long time and I did notice the new international menu. Answered prayers! Hahaha! Thanks for dropping by my blog.:-)

ikyachuck said...

Looks like you really love this restaurant. :) Will give it another shot and try the ones you ordered. :)

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