Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Champetre Means "Country"
The name of a restaurant plays a more crucial role than most people think. It gives the guest an idea of what- and what not- to expect. It prepares you for the kind of experience that you are in for and puts you in the appropriate mood. Basically, it's the establishment's visual barker, telling people: "come inside, you want this."
When I received a text message from Chef Marc Aubry inviting me to a get-together at his soon-to-open restaurant- Champetre- I was bubbling over with excitement. Not only because Marc is my favorite French chef in Manila, but also because I was excited for my friend and his new venture. Matt and I were regulars at the now defunct Je Suis Gourmand, and over the years we have become friends with the hard-working and talented Frenchman.
But with my excitement came concern and confusion: What is Champetre? What does it mean? Will the name intimidate the non-French speaking public?
With a little internet research, I discover that Champetre (Shom-PAY-truh) is a French adjective meaning "pastoral" or "country". When we arrived at the restaurant's location (Je Suis Gourmand's former spot), what struck us the most were the colors: rich marigold-colored walls trimmed with soft vermillion- warm, cheery and definitely inviting. The space which used to be function rooms have been converted into a boutique where all kinds of delicious goodies- preserved fruits, bottled sauces, French wines, etc- will be sold. On the walls are framed prints of the French country life- a quaint farm house, rolling hills splattered with lavender, an oblivious wild boar.
Marc prods us to check out our favorite spot in the back, and I happily take a picture. Matt kids, "Chinkee will mark her territory in a bit." I ride along and say, "Yes, good thing you're not serving asparagus tonight." Marc, already used to our bawdy toilet humor, just laughs. I was kidding, of course.
The spread was simple but plentiful, and most definitely delicious: Matt devoured the mushroom quiche and was constantly stealing my puff pastry-wrapped Merguez sausages. There was a selection of cold cuts that I happily ate with beautiful crusty bread. Wine was abundant and nicely-laquered the evening's conversations, which, we were surprised to discover later on as we checked the time, lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
If the get-together was any indication of what the restaurant would be like, then Manila is definitely in for a treat. Champetre is a place that you can come to if you are craving for real country-style French cooking- none of the snooty stuff, just authentic French food. And, being a fan of Marc’s cooking for years, it will be delicious French food. The vibe is definitely laid-back and more relaxed than most French restaurants. Champetre makes you feel at home and I think that is what the owners want. After getting to know the Aubry’s (including their three beautiful and charming children) a little bit more that night, I come to the conclusion that this is definitely the direction they should be headed.
As for the name- yes, Champetre is perfect.
Champetre will be having its soft opening beginning May 5, 2011, Thursday.
Champetre Boutique & Restaurant
G/F Net One Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Tel. No. (632) 8158801-02