Last Monday, I had the opportunity to talk to Michelin-starred French chef, Akrame Benallal. That day, he opened his newest restaurant in Manila, the Atelier Vivanda. The Philippines is the third country where he put up a restaurant.
Chef Akrame received his first Michelin star six months after he opened his first fine dining restaurant, Restaurant Akrame in Paris in 2012. This was an unprecedented feat considering that Michelin Red Guide is not known to recognize a new restaurant. Then in 2014, he opened Restaurant Akrame Hong Kong and a year after it opened, it received a Michelin star, giving the French chef his second star.
Since then, he has been scouring the world where to put his next restaurant. Apart from the fine dining concept of Restaurant Akrame, he has also put up the more accessible French bistro Atelier Vivanda, which has branches in Paris, Hong Kong, and now Manila.
“I want this place to serve good-tasting, good quality food because quality is very important for the Filipino people,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m happy with a great salad, a great side of potatoes, and a great steak. I think that most people share the same sentiments, too.”
The bistro offers no fuss French cuisine like the Thinly Sliced Smoked Beef Aged for 50 days that chef Akrame aged himself, Duck Leg Terrine with pickled onions, French Yellow Chicken Breast, French Duck Breast, Pommes Dauphines (crispy potato puffs), Creme Brulee, among others.
But what makes the menu special is the selection of steaks, which the bistro is famous for. Atelier Vivanda’s meat specialties include: Black Angus Rib Eye, XL Vivanda Rib Eye, and Holstein Beef Rib (good for two).
Chef Akrame says that the Philippines is perfect for his restaurant because of the healthy economy and the very active food scene. Thanks to foodies and entrepreneurs Khristine Gabriel and Grace Lee, who convinced chef Akrame to take a look at the Philippines. He also wishes to put more restaurants in the country in the future.
Read my Manila Bulletin article here.
Atelier Vivanda is located at Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.