Tucked in a corner at Molito Complex in Alabang is Le Petit Cheri—a casual dining restaurant that welcomes you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of French cuisine. Opened in June of this year, Le Petit Cheri (meaning “the little darling” in French) is owned by the French Patisserie Corporation. The restaurant is the realization Edna Cureg’s dream to open a restaurant of her own.
Not Your Typical French Food Restaurant
Most people picture restaurants serving up French cuisine with a very formal atmosphere, and where you need to really dress up to eat. Not to mention it’s very expensive. Le Petit Cheri broke from this stereotypical French food restaurant image. This can be seen from the overall design of the place to the way how their food is plated and served.
The restaurant’s interior was inspired by the bistros found along the streets of Paris. Bistros are cozy restaurants where diners can get to eat simple, slow-cooked French food.
The second floor dining area is surrounded by a delicately designed black iron railing, very similar to the wrought iron fences found in French bistros. The cushioned yellow chairs and cream-colored tables made the second floor dining area cozy and relaxing. Downstairs, the tables and chairs were laid out in one long line that encircles the main dining area, giving diners here an equal view of the restaurant. There are no white linen tablecloths here. Just simple orange place mats, which adds to the casual yet cozy feel of the place.
The tall windows surrounding the main dining area of Le Petit Cheri gave the interiors a modern touch. One wall was filled from top to bottom with colorful paintings. Although the place was quite filled with diners when my family and me ate here, the high restaurant’s high ceiling kept the noise level down.
The menu at Le Petit Cheri
Le Petit Cheri’s menu features an array of traditional French cuisine dishes. Most of them are meant for single serving, but there are a few dishes, like their Duck a L’Orange, that can be shared by 2-3 people. Some dishes were given a twist to cater to the Filipino taste. An example is their Coq au Vin. Instead of serving this classic French chicken stew with potatoes, Le Petit Cheri serves this up with rice flavored with butter and parsley. I’m not really sure on how the French would find this slight change in their classic dish, but it definitely made this more appealing for Filipinos who’d always love to have some rice along with their main dishes.
The menu also has a few Filipino dishes, most can be found in their breakfast selection. There is also a limited, but quality, selection of wines for those diners that would like a bit of bubbly to pair with their food.
One of the plus factors that Le Petit Cheri had for me was their wide array of different dessert options. From traditional French macaroons to their light soufflés and sinfully rich chocolate mousse, the variety reflects the immense passion Edna Cureg has for pastries. It’s a sugary paradise if you got a sweet tooth like me. This, along with a steaming cup of coffee, is a great way to cap off a meal here in Le Petit Cheri.
Service at Le Petit Cheri
The only downside in my dining experience at Le Petit Cheri was the quality of service we received. There seems to be an apparent sense of miscommunication between them. More than once, my family and me have been told contradicting information by the waiters.
The first occurred when I asked to follow up on my Shrimp Bisque Soup (a traditional French soup made out of pureed shrimp, tomatoes, white wine and brandy, served with cream and shrimp for garnish). One waiter told me that it was on its way. A few minutes later when I asked about it, another waiter said that it was not included in our orders, and asked me if I still wanted them to prepare it. Just as I told them not to bother about it anymore, the soup arrived.
The second instance came when we ordered their Chocolate Mousse. They had two presentation styles for it: one in the form of a petite cake. The other is served inside a cocktail glass. I was told by one waiter that the petite cake style is for those that would like to take this home with them. The one in the glass is the plating they do for dine in orders. Despite the explanation, I was actually surprised that they served me the petite cake. I politely explained to the server what I was previously told. It took quite a bit of convincing on my part for the server to change it.
Then there was the misinformation about their closing time. We asked one of the waiters until what time were they opened. She told us that they were opened that night until 11pm. When we went down from the second floor dining area at quarter to 11, we were shocked and embarrassed to find nearly all of the waiting staff dressed up and ready to leave for the day. When we apologized and asked another what time they closed, he told us that they were opened only until 10pm.
Service is also quite slow here. Some of the dishes can take a while to prepare, which is understandable since we are advised beforehand by the waiter that attended to us. Ironically, the one that I had to follow up more than once was a dish that I was informed would be served promptly. It can also take a while for the waiters to hand over the bill after you’ve asked for it. I saw one diner head over to the counter and complained that they have been waiting for quite some time to receive their bill. Needless to say, we also had to follow up our bill more than once when our turn came.
From its cozy atmosphere to its wide selection of food, Le Petit Cheri is a restaurant to savor and enjoy some traditional French cuisine without being intimidated. The food is reasonably priced compared to other French restaurants. A bit of patience is required, however, when dining here as the quality of service needs a bit of work. I’m hoping that this will improve in time.
Top Picks from Le Petit Cheri
You have to try this if you love seafood. This hearty salad of mixed salad greens, seared pepper crusted tuna steak, smoked salmon, and shrimp dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette is a meal on its own. Its serving size can feed two people or one very hungry person. The pepper taste coming from the seared tuna mellows down the otherwise sourness coming from the salad dressing.
At first glance, the price may seem to be anything but reasonable. Once it arrives at your table, you’ll see that it’s definitely worth it. This huge platter of thick seared duck breast glazed with orange sauce can feed up to 3 people. The lean duck breast was perfectly cooked. The meat was moist and juicy while the skin was crispy. The orange glaze was sweet yet tangy at the same time, a good sign that real orange juice was used in the making of the glaze. The bitterness from the salad greens rounds up all of the flavors here.
This much loved French dessert is a light way to end a meal or a sweet snack to munch on with a strong cup of coffee. There is just enough cream filling in between the two cookies to add a burst of flavor in your mouth as you bite into it. Out of the many different flavors of French macaroons available at Le Petit Cheri, my favorites were the strawberry and pandan flavors.
If you’re a chocoholic like me, this is something that you should not miss. This edible masterpiece made of whipped cream, rich chocolate mousse, dark chocolate crumble and topped with a generous spreading of chocolate ganache is a feast for the eyes and the palate. You get the richness from the chocolate ganache, mellowed slightly by the whipped cream, the creamy and milky chocolate taste of the mousse, and the crunch and bitterness of the dark chocolate crumble at the bottom in every spoonful. Bonus points for adding half of a strawberry on top, which always is a perfect partner for chocolate in my book.
Rating for Le Petit CheriLe Petit Cheri is located at Unit 8 Molito Lifestyle Center, Madrigal Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (click here to view a map to the area). Operating hours are as follows: Sun-Thurs from 7:00am to 10:00pm, Wednesdays from 7:00pm to 2pm and 4:00pm to 10:00pm, and Friday-Saturday from 7:00am to 11:00pm.
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