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
09178838801

4 comments:

ChichaJo said...

Excited!!! Glad to hear they are open already :)

Chinkee said...

Same here!:-). I missed Marc's food!

MrsLavendula said...

ooohhh so excited! was so sad when we didn't get the chance to dine in je suis before they closed so this is such happy news! =)

Chinkee said...

MrsLavendula- Isn't it?!:-). We're eating there tonight and I'm excited to see the new menu. He said some of the JSG classics are there, but there are a lot of new dishes too. Can't wait!