Dr. Wine Manila’s seafood brunch is a shot of nostalgia for those missing Paris and classic French cuisine

Published March 15, 2021, 1:37 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Its traditional two-tiered seafood platter is the food prescription you never thought you needed

Dr. Wine Manila reopened a little over a month ago on Algier St., Poblacion. With chef Alain Raye now manning the kitchen, it’s a haven for those who love their French cuisine and have been itching to travel again and head to Paris, Normandy, Lyon, and the Cote d’Azur. It’s classic French cooking that’s hearty, sumptuous, and nostalgic—all in a great way.

Welcoming interiors of Dr. Wine Manila in Poblacion

For me, it reminded me of my late mother, who whenever we traveled together to Paris in the winter months, one of her first dining stops would be a restaurant known for its seafood offerings. She’d order the grand “plateau de fruits de Mer.” Often a two-tiered platter, it would be a sight to behold. All sorts of seafood and shellfish in season, artfully arranged and simply accessorized with the shellfish tongs, lobster forks, and picks for the sea snails. Sidings would include lemon wedges, a red wine vinaigrette, fresh homemade mayonnaise, and, if bouillabaisse was also on the cards, the rouille sauce.

The two-tier ‘Plateau de Fruits de Mer’

So I’m happy to report that Dr. Wine serves its weekend seafood brunch in this traditional way, the two-tiered spectacle, with items flown in from Brittany, and locally sourced. On the Sunday I ate there with my sons, the platter had crab, Fine de Claire No. 3 oysters, razor clams (my favorite), mussels, clams, shrimps, bulots (whelk), and bigorneaux (periwinkles). Set in the bottom tier, was also a wonderful homemade salmon rillettes, topped with herbs bavarois, which went superbly with their Dr. Bread sourdough.

The mussels, clams, bulots, and bigorneaux.
The yummy salmon rillettes with bavarois

The razor clams and the mussels were divine with the vinaigrette, and they were made from scratch mayo. If I didn’t know better, it was like we had been transported to France, to a smart brasserie, and we were no longer in Poblacion. Food does that to me. Beyond the taste recall, there’s the aspect of how it brings back memories, and this seafood platter was doing that and I loved it!

The top tier of oysters and razor clams. The crab is found here as well

In Dr. Wine, there are also some new dishes created by chef Alain, and I would heartily recommend his fish quenelle. It’s lapu-lapu that’s been blended into a soufflé-like consistency, made Gratinée Lyonnaise style, with prawns in Nantua sauce. I liked how this was a dish that one can’t really find anywhere else in Manila, a unique proposition for whenever we dine here again.

The unique fish quenelle, like a soufflé

It’s billed as the seafood brunch, but of course, one doesn’t have to live on fish alone. Its beef short ribs, with rich French pepper sauce and sautéed carrots, is one meat dish worth saving calories for. It’s done in hearty, French countryside-style, and along with the lamb rack, will satisfy the carnivores among us.

The beef short ribs

Save room for the Dr. Wine desserts. The Stairway to Heaven is chocolate pudding, with a dollop of rich whipped cream on top. While the Floating Island is a meringue of egg whites concoction, with vanilla extract, and served with English cream and a fruit compote. These are two excellent choices for bringing your meal to a sweet ending.

The Chocolate Stairway to Heaven
Nougat Glacé with raspberry coulis

While Dr Wine is open for lunch and early dinner on Thursdays to Sundays (12 noon to 10 p.m.), it’s open only in the evenings on Monday to Wednesday (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.). The seafood brunch is a weekend offer, available on Saturday and Sunday.