Joining the revolutionary trend towards chef-driven restaurants in the metro, French-American bistro ROUX is a welcome addition to the dining options at Greenbelt 3, showcasing Chef Joseph Margate’s signature French-American dishes.
A seasoned chef who has worked in renowned restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park (New York), Jardiniere under Chef Traci Desjardins (San Francisco), Lark under Chef Jonathan Sundstrom (Seattle) and Clink (Boston), Chef Joseph returned to check out the Manila restaurant scene.
“There aren’t very many French restaurants in Manila, and even fewer that are chef-driven,” Chef Joseph states. “It’s an exciting prospect for any chef. We’ll be making many elements in-house like sausages, bacon and cookies for made to order Madeleines. These will be complemented by specially sourced ingredients like chocolates from Davao, mushrooms from Laguna and organic produce from local growers and artisanal producers.”
FRENCH FLAVORS, LOCAL PRODUCE
The Beef Bourguignon, says Chef Joseph, is the star of Roux’s menu.
“Beef Bourguignon – tender braised beef in red wine — is a quintessential French dish. A specialty of Burgundy, we expect it to be popular among Filipinos because of its familiar elements and its comfort food quality,” he explains.
Roux also puts forward the Pork Hock with Choucroute. Alsatian in origin, Chocroute Garnie is made from pickled cabbages, apples and onions (similar to sauerkraut), and is served with potatoes and sausages.
“Our take on this is a pork hock fried to a crisp, veering away from the traditionally braised pork hock. This will go on top of the Choucroute, with a variety of sausages” Chef Joseph adds.
The Chef also recommends their Cured Salmon served with Warm Potato Salad, as well as the Pork Rillettes – similar to pâté – with house-made crackers.
Chef Joseph also punches up standard bistro fare with distinct flavor. “We have a flatbreads and spaghetti menu, and I’m really excited about the spaghetti with Spanish sardines and roasted garlic butter. We have the Tarte Flambée, a flatbread with onions and double-smoked bacon, and we have the traditional Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame, made with brioche bread, French cheese, and paired with pommes frites, or fries,” he elaborates.
True to its French roots, Roux will be using cheeses such as brie and gruyere from France and other French-influenced countries. Named after roux a traditional thickener for French sauces made of one part flour and one part butter, this ingredient will make an appearance in the restaurant’s soups and sauces, particularly the bouillabaisse.
The dessert menu also showcases in-house specialties such as brandied prunes, traditional Madeleines served with chocolate sauce, Financiers – beurre noisette (brown butter) cookies with cashews – served with coco jam; and Chocolate Pots de Crème with a salted peanut butter sauce and small cookies on the side.
Chef Joseph hopes Roux will make French food more approachable for Filipinos.
“Roux’s French-American bistro concept is a step beyond the traditional bistro, serving modern takes on French classics in a relaxed setting. The dishes will be presented in basic, clean lines – what I like to call ‘refined rustic’ – with not too many garnishes to clutter the dish,” notes Chef Joseph. “We hope that this will make French cuisine a lot less intimidating for the guests.”
The Chef also wants to change the perception of French food as too rich.
“Many people think that because the cuisine uses a lot of cream, butter and oils, it’s fattening. What many people don’t realize is that there is a balance in flavor. French cuisine isn’t light; it’s still very satisfying, but it’s all about getting every element right. After all, you almost never see a fat Frenchman,” avers Chef Joseph.