Friday, November 21, 2008

G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 20)


Five years ago. . . .

GUS : "Hey R., have you heard of this Swiss resto somewhere in Antipolo? Named Vieux Chalet?"
R. : "Yeah, i ate there once, a long time ago. It's rather out of the way, and hard to find."
GUS : "Really? Is the food good? As in, worth the trip?"
R. : "Yeah, very good. And it's pretty popular with all these middle-aged Makati executive types."
GUS : "Huh, why so?"
R. : "Coz that's where they bring their mistresses for intimate dinners. For sure, no one will catch them!"


After months of planning and meshing together of schedules, we (meaning charming J., amazonic R., suave XQ, with baby Moon in tow; and i) were finally off to Vieux Chalet for a reunion-cum-foodtrip.

Vieux Chalet was started by Tony Hassig of Switzerland way back in 1984 (!). It is simply amazing for a resto to last this long, especially in an industry notorious for short lifespans and given its out-of-the-way location. At present, it is his wife, Susan Hassig, who is in overall charge of the restaurant.

Vieux Chalet is essentially a house converted into a family-run restaurant. It is surprisingly small, having only 5 tables. The place can best be described as unpretentious, like dining in a family friend's house. The ambiance is very informal, and laden with rustic charm. The air was cool, birds were chirping in the background, and it was as rural and laid-back as can be.

The antique piano works, and assorted bric-a-brac is pretty to look at. I was egging amazonic R. to play "Blue Moon", but sadly, this was beyond her skills.

Corner table at Vieux Chalet, with a nice view. You can see the Makati skyline (and the overhanging cloud of smog) from afar.

The paintings on the walls are all for sale. While we were there, a kid from another table accidentally knocked a picture frame to the wooden floor, and they paid for it. At our table, we made jokes about how the artist would probably go bonkers, if he were to find out that the reason his work was selling at a brisk pace was due to accidents like this.

We duly ordered, and took some photos while waiting for our food. So far, everything was okay. I was just wondering if the food would be as good as hyped. After all, one didn't drive all the way out here to get a bad meal, right?

And our food came out, in this order:

Raclette (PHP185.00)

No one amongst us was fond of black olives, but other than that, this dish was very well-received. The cheese was tart without being cloying, and the potato had the right consistency. The portion could have been bigger, though.

Pizza de la Casa (home-cured ham, mushroom, cheese and oregano)

Crispy crust, delightful toppings!!

Rosti (Swiss-style potatoes) (PHP185.00)

I tend to think of this dish as an oversized pancake-style hash brown. Whatever it may be, R. blurted out "Sarap!", and resolved to try making her own version at home. If we were living in the time of Robin Hood, we would have responded with, "Aye, aye! Thou speakest the truth, fair damsel." Hehe :-D

Fresh Fish Fillet in White Wine Sauce (PHP485.00)

The fish used for this dish was dory, and it was absolutely tender! And the sauce was light and delicate, and complemented the fish quite nicely, too.

Osso Buco (Veal Shank in fresh Basil and Tomato sauce)

The meat was tender, although i personally thought the sauce was a tad too salty. But charming J. absolutely loved this. Really good.

[left] Parfait du Chocolat and [right] Butter nut Ice cream

The Parfait du Chocolat was fantabulous! Terrific! Unanimous that this was fantastique! I could have eaten a whole gallon of this, i swear! And an absolute steal, at something like PHP65.00 only. Meanwhile, the Butter nut ice cream was a bit too sweet and cloying for me, but R. liked it very much, even dunking each scoop into her coffee.

For drinks, we had all chosen the Lemongrass Cooler. It was very refreshing and had just the right amount of sweetness. Suave XQ recounted how he had tried several times making lemongrass tea/juice at home, which proved devilishly difficult as sometimes it could be too strong, and he had to add lots of pandan just to balance the taste.

I wished, though, that Vieux Chalet offered a "bottomless"/unlimited refills option of this. Funnily enough, the lemongrass cooler turned out not to be to J.'s taste, so she ordered a Coke instead. I was all too willing to swoop in and finish her lemongrass for her. Haha!

To sum it all up, the food was really great, going even beyond our expectations. The bill came around to something like PHP750.00/pax, not a bad deal.

Even before we had left, i was already scheming on a return trip to Vieux Chalet!

I'll leave you all with this pic:

(Vieux Chalet is located at Taktak Road, Antipolo City. Tel# +632 697-0396, and Mobile# +63 917 856-5175 . For complete details on directions getting there, menu, prices and reservations, check out

**Many thanks to Irwin Cruz for the photo of Vieux Chalet's facade (topmost photo)