Pinot is the Fine Dining Secret of Bonifacio High Street
An inherently underground locale known only to a privileged few—Pinot works a little bit like this. It takes over from what used to be Cav, the wine shop and cafe that had been around since the advent of BGC, that was eventually overshadowed by new trends. Pinot is now a fine dining restaurant hidden in the middle of the city, a few steps away from the main thoroughfare of Bonifacio High Street, a cheeky little secret hiding in plain sight.
It's on Lane P, a little street right beside the main mall. Turn the corner of The Spa, spot the dessert shop, and you're getting warm. You may walk past without even noticing the inconspicuous "Pinot" on the wall.
Inside, the restaurant opts for understated refinement: gray walls offset with rich blue chairs, classic white linen under chic black pendant chandeliers. The most exciting part is the long white counter that offers a full view of the kitchen.
One of Pinot's grand pieces, meant for two or three people, is the bone-in ribeye
A whole rack of lamb (with ratatouille and garlic potato puree) is available as a grand piece, but lamb also shows up in the prix fixe menu (an Aussie lamb saddle with cumin honey, parsley, and pumpkin curry)
A beautiful maple leaf duck
The chef is still the talented and affable Markus Gfeller, whose classic European fare has been transformed into a range of roasts and prix fixe menus. As one of the country's first fine-dining chefs, he maintains standards of the highest quality: organic, sustainable, sourced everywhere (wherever is the best), and a treasure trove of stellar wine and other spirits.
The cuisine at Pinot is more impeccable than exhilarating. Though there is always something exhilarating about clean, precise flavor: the duck ragu, which lashes at you with flavor, finds relief in coconut-flavored adlai; the subtle sea bass gets a boost from a moat of black garlic dashi (pro tip: scoop as much as you want of that precious broth). Even the simple pairing of breadsticks and gorgonzola is delightful. Nothing is overblown, nothing is overly gimmicky. Everything is very good.
Duck Ragu a la Orange with Coconut Adlai
The amazing tuille and flan
There are many things to like about Pinot—the exclusive location with inclusive pricing (the four-course is P2,300), the minimalist brass and botanical interior design complete with pockets of private space, the stunning cognac flan encased in a sweet tuille bowl, the lack of corkage fees so you can bring your own wine—but it's a veritable remembrance of fine food that is the highlight.
Five years ago, someone said that fine dining was dead. But in this little corner of BGC, it's alive and well.