Epilogue: A happy tummy ending
By Joyce Babe Pañares
When Chef Hiroyuki Meno arrived in Manila, the former executive chef of Tokyo-based Michelin-starred Maison Paul Bocuse went straight to the Navotas fish market. He had been asked to prepare dishes for a food tasting session with the owners of Epilogue, a Japanese-European restaurant in S Maison. But the Japanese chef with expertise in French cuisine declined to use salmon nor sea bass.
“No imported fish,” Meno said, and promptly bought red lapu-lapu and hito.
“He wanted to discover our local ingredients on his own – calamansi, malunggay and even dalandan. He made the rounds in Cartimar and Farmers Market. He was not contented with what he already knew to prepare,” Epilogue president Alyanna Uy told Food Evolution in an exclusive interview.
“Perhaps it is a reflection of kodawari – a word that refers to the Japanese way of life where one continuously strives for excellence, a relentless devotion to mastering one’s chosen craft. Our dishes have that European sophistication prepared with Japanese discipline,” Uy added.
Meno’s signature dishes were crafted exclusively for the restaurant’s grand launch, but offered a sneak peek of what is still to come at Epilogue.
This premium menu included anchovy escabeche flavored with calamansi on a bed of curry cauliflower mousse; catfish croquette with Pernod-saffron sauce, watercress and moringa coulis, and jicama (singkamas); smoked duck with red wine and dalandan béarnaise; consommé royal with braised gyu-tan (lengua), chayote egg pudding, foie gras ravioli and mushroom foam.
While not available yet to the public, Meno’s dishes may be part of Epilogue’s “secret Meno” – a for reservation only tasting menu that will be limited to only a number of seats a day.
For their regular menu, Epilogue offers Preface (soups and salads), Introduction (appetizer), Chapter and Verses (mains), Dedication (pasta), Title Page (sandwiches), Half Title (tapas), Foreword (pizza), and Afterword (dessert).
Guests can opt for the Signore Cardini, a salad with coddled egg, walnuts, Boqueron garlic dressing, shaved parmesan, and chicken cooked sous vide; Foie’s Gold – pan-seared Ernest Soulard foie gras, mushroom risotto and baby spinach; and Maestro – steak Rossini of US prime Angus tenderloin and seared foie gras, handcrafted demi-glace, and gratin dauphinoise.
The 136-seater Epilogue also has a sizable bar counter with its dizzying array of beverages and a separate counter for freshly-baked breads and cakes.
“We believe the time has come for Epilogue, with the evolving palate of Filipinos who have become exposed to more complex, innovative tastes. Epilogue is the complete gastronomic experience,” Uy said.