Tonight was going to be American night; my sister, her husband, and I wanted to try this hotdog place in BF Parañaque, but a sudden burst of rain had flooded the street leading into the neighborhood. My sister insisted that braving even shallow waters in our charmingly problematic jalopy would be suicide, so we turned around and sought another place for dinner. We headed to Santana Grove, remembering this place called Bastille we saw a few weeks ago that we said we’d try out. I guess this is as good a time as any, I thought as we rushed from the car, out of the rain and into the glass-clad restaurant.
The place is brightly lit and pretty spacious, though I’m not sure where they’re going with the decor. According to the sign outside, Bastille is a fusion of French, Filipino, and Italian, so they were probably trying to fuse together the three, but I think it seems a bit unfinished and could do with a bit of an improvement.
One of the things that stood out to me when we scoped the place was the price. Normally, any menu with French-sounding dishes would have the high price to match, but Bastille’s offerings were quite affordable, all things considered. We decided to start with Croc Sisig on Melba Toast and some Potato Bacon Croquettes.
It was my first time having the reptilian meat, and I’m glad my first was a good one. The crocodile meat was well-cooked and seasoned just right, and it worked nicely with the touch of chicken liver pate smeared on the thin pieces of bread it was served on. The croquettes could’ve used a bit more time in the fryer; it wasn’t as crunchy on the outside as I’d like. On the other hand, the flavors on these delightful little balls were just right, as was the taste of the tomato sauce they were sitting on.
From the pasta menu, we asked for the Bastille Carbonara and the Salmon Aligue Pasta. The carbonara was pretty good, although I could’ve used just a tad more of the sauce. I’ve never had aligue on pasta before, so the flavor hitting my palate on a vehicle of linguine was a bit of a shock to me, but the good kind of shock. Probably wouldn’t order it on a regular basis on account of the crab-fat-is-bad thing, but an occasional sampling of this unique dish would be worth straying from your diet for.
Then it was time for the entrees: Pepper Crusted Pork Steak and Kaldereta Pie. The pork was just a hair overcooked for me, but the flavors were there. The mushroom cream sauce would’ve been too rich had it not been for the rice, which lent a nice, herb-y note to the whole thing. It was overall a great dish if you’re looking for a hearty rice plate.
I was honestly dreading the Kaldereta Pie as soon as I ordered it; I’ve had so many experiences with restaurants making it sweet, which I can’t fathom. Fortunately, Bastille knew their stuff: the dish was wonderfully savory, plus the beef chunks were incredibly tender. I think the only thing that could’ve kicked it up a notch would be a hit of spice. The kaldereta came in this light bowl of flaky pastry that you’d love to just tear up and dunk into the beef; and the side of mashed potatoes are kind of lumpy, which I actually prefer over the factory-manufactured, ultra-smooth variety. Another thumbs up for this flavorful plate.
My brother-in-law was so pleased with the food that, after polishing off his pork steak, he asked for another dish: the Beef Bourguignon. And as with the other dishes, this one was also spot-on. The pieces of beef were just as tender as the ones in the kaldereta, and the sauce with red wine reduction was seasoned perfectly.
On top of being just plain delicious, servings were very substantial, so you can dismiss the notion that French dishes are minuscule smudges in the middle of a 12-inch dinner plate. I also have to give props to the staff for being friendly, attentive, and quick.
So, do I even need to say it? If you’re with a group of friends who are torn between cuisines, Bastille is a fair (and quite delicious) compromise. It also doesn’t hurt that, as refined as the dishes on the menu are, the prices are very reasonable.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
Santana Grove, 7202 Soreena Street Corner Dr. A Santos Avenue, San Antonio, Parañaque City
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