Christmas is always a great time to go out in Manila, especially with all the great new places opening up. Raffles Makati recently opened Mireio, its upscale brasserie Provençal style restaurant. Raffles hotels are associated with writers and literature; the new restaurant takes its name after poet Frederic Mistral’s work, Mireio. It is a poem about forbidden love set in the beautiful region of Provence. Artist Marcel Antonio depicts the love story on a large painting in the main dining room.
The food offerings are delicious Provençal fare including generous servings of foie gras pate, mussels in mustard and saffron sauce and my favourite, the osso buco in mashed potatoes. Chef Nicolas Cegretin, The Provence-born chef is perfect for his culinary role in this newest dining destination focusing on Provençal and French Mediterranean cuisine. Cegretin makes use of fresh ingredients found seasonally, where they are the stars of the dish. We were served a creamy zucchini soup which Chef Nicolas proudly said was made with no cream- refreshing but elegantly fluffy at the same time.
Mireio offers a seemingly intimidating 20 page wine menu that will be printed out daily to update their stock of bottles on offer. My favourite thing about the wine menu? The wines come with tasting notes! This is great if you are looking to try out a new wine and a new region. Most, if not all French wine labels don’t say what kind of grapes are used, leaving many people to guess, wing it, or rely on what the server or sommelier says. This is one of the friendliest wine menus in Manila! One will notice that the wines on the list appear on it because they fit the cuisine in the restaurant. Lots of Chardonnays, Pinots-old and new world and beautiful Rosés.
Their wines by the glass are some of the nicest I’ve seen on offer in Manila restaurants at very good prices. They make sure to have one wine from Provence, one French wine and one new world wine. Manager Nicolas Bracq mentioned that Provence has a great selection of Whites and Rosé which compliment the cuisine well. One white wine by the glass is one of the oldest in France, Chateau Roubine- dates back to the time of the crusades, where soldiers would stop by for a drink. There is also a good number of red wines from the rest of France, as well as the Bordeaux de Prestige category of the best of the best.
A big draw to Mireio is their beautiful roof top bar. Manila has seen many rooftop bars come and go, but none has ever been as pretty as this one with its sprawling layout and great selection of drinks. There is also an indoor area if air con is more your thing. They have taken great care to link the Philippines and France in their selection of alcohol, most notably in their cocktail 1947. 1947 was the year the Philippines and France signed the Treaty of Amity, which solidified diplomatic relations between the two countries. The cocktail is a mix of Rémy Martin and Don Papa rum, topped with a mixed berry concoction that is sieved into the drink- made to resemble blood- a nod to the blood compact.
One can end the evening in Mireio by having Absinthe, a traditional Provençal digestif. They prepare the absinthe the ‘proper’ way by dripping cold water on a sugar cube over a metal spatula to dilute the absinthe. The food and drinks reflect the best of Provence. This, coupled with the literary references and beautiful art in the restaurant transports one back to the time of Toulouse Lautrec, where the green fairy may make an appearance.