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Old love, new home



In 1988, young entrepreneur Ricky Gutierrez lay the foundation for his restaurant “empire.” Envisioning a place where people could come together for an exquisite dining experience, he opened Chateau 1771 at 1771 Adriatico St., Malate, Manila, and succeeded in attracting a dining crowd who knew good food, appreciated wine and enjoyed them together. When chef Vicky Rose Pacheco came on board as executive chef (and business partner later), she innovated the restaurant’s menu and turned it into No Borders Cuisine, which meant creative interpretations of French, Swiss, Italian and other European specialties. Her takes, twists and innovations on European favorites turned out to be pleasant surprises on the palates of diners and earned for Chateau 1771 the distinction of being one of the best in the metro.

Their harmonious business partnership extended to other restaurant ventures, such as Sidebar (a neighborhood wine and cocktail bar with incredibly delicious bar chow), Portico 1771 (known for its Italian-Asian cuisine), Sentro 1771 (serving modern Filipino cuisine), Café 1771 (a younger, more upbeat Chateau 1771), WineBar (wine bar with sommeliers and hearty food) and FlatIron (steaks and more!), all under the umbrella company, the 1771 Group of Restaurants.

chef Vicky Pacheco and Ricky Gutierrez.

Some of these restaurant concepts were replaced with other concepts. Others expanded operations and opened branches. But Chateau 1771, the original restaurant that started it all for the restaurant group, has by choice remained a one-restaurant venture. This way, its food, service and overall dining experience are always unique and special.

Chateau 1771 has moved, yes. Several times. To constantly move forward with the times. From its original location in Malate, which opened in 1988, the restaurant moved to El Pueblo de Real-Ortigas Center in 1995, then to Greenbelt 5 in 2007.

Now, Chateau 1771 has found a new home at One Bonifacio High Street, 5th Ave. corner 28th St. Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City. BGC is today’s “happening-est” place in the metro, and it is only apt that the innovative restaurant which pioneered No Borders Cuisine is there.

The move came at an auspicious time, a New Year having just begun and Chateau 1771 marking its 30th year. To celebrate the happy occasion, Ricky and chef Vicky recently staged the restaurant’s grand relaunch in its new location. The buffet spread prepared by chef Vicky reacquainted guests with the restaurant’s brand of No Borders Cuisine.

“I have chosen to serve Chateau’s specialties on this occasion,” says chef Vicky.

On the table for guests to partake upon taking their seats were platters of Rectangular Crostini served with three types of dips: Smoked Fish Paté, Eggplant Relish and Herbed Goat’s Cheese. My personal favorite was the Smoked Fish Paté, its savory smoothness paired up nicely with the crunch and texture of the crostini.

This indulgent steak is flambeed with brandy just before serving.

On platters and chafing dishes that filled a round table were Mahi-Mahi with Lime Butter Chorizo (also known as dorado fish, mahi-mahi fillets were complemented by rendered chorizo in a delightful lime butter sauce); Scallops au Gratin (scallops sautéed with garlic and parsley, with white wine added, topped with melted cheese and golden brown crouton crust); Ravioli Primavera (ravioli pasta filled with roasted squash and Parmesan cheese, topped with Napolitaine sauce, grilled broccoli, eggplant, carrots and zucchini); Vanilla Brick Chicken (organic whole chicken, butterflied and deboned, spread with vanilla bean dots, butter and garlic, then pan-fried) and Potence Steak Flambé (grilled beef tenderloin hanging on metal gallows then flambéed and served with three sauces: mushroom sauce, garlic sauce and paprika sauce).

Each generous serving of Potence Steak Flambé, which is a specialty of Chateau 1771, should be hanging on metal gallows and fired up, but in keeping with the buffet theme of the restaurant’s grand relaunch, it was served family style on a platter. Sides of mashed potato, broccoli and French beans sautéed and tossed in extra virgin olive oil and lime juice stood all around the Potence platter.

The tableside “performance” of ordering Potence — steak hanging on metal gallows, brandy ignited and poured over the steak to fire it up — wowed everyone during the launch.

Dessert was served on the table. It turned out to be a triple treat consisting of Chateau’s famous Coffee Pie, this time in sugar-free variant, but with the same chocolate cashew crust with coffee filling, topped with cream cheese and toffee sauce; Ginger Crème Bruleé, a light and silky custard with a caramelized brittle surface and the ginger giving it a refreshing taste and minty mouthfeel and Lemon Meringue Tart, which are thin layers of meringue and crisp pastry with lemon filling and whipped cream.

The relaunch menu, with handpicked items by chef Vicky, was truly exquisite. On any given day, though, dining at the new home of Chateau 1771 can be just as pleasurable. It has Butter-baked Oysters, a nice Antipasto Platter, Gambasetti Pasta and Butterflied Queen Prawns, among other mouth-watering dishes that are sure to satisfy even the biggest craving.

On its 30th anniversary and finally settled in its new home, Chateau 1771 and its prime movers Ricky and chef Vicky vow to bring No Borders Cuisine dining several notches higher and keep diners happy and satisfied all the time. Judging from the passion and dedication that chef Vicky puts into her food, there is no doubt that she would.