Yesterday, we had our Christmas Eve meal at Chef Jessie’s in Rockwell.
Chef Jessie’s is an institution.
It was one of the first restaurants that introduced a fine dining set menu concept in the Philippines. On special occasions, Chef Jessie’s is almost always fully booked as the restaurant features delicious meals set amidst Christmas carolers and the Rockwell fireworks.
We usually have our Christmas Eve dinner at Chef Jessie’s.
This time, our Chef Jessie’s meal was quite disappointing. Here was our menu:
Price has increased steadily through the years and it is now Php 2,995 ++ per pax for 6-course meal. A bit expensive for the offerings, but hey, you pay for the ambiance, right?
Alas, service was REALLY slow yesterday.
We arrived promptly for our booking at 7:30 pm. However, service last night was super duper slow.
The bread came when we were seated, but call for the refill for the special dip remained unheeded and only came after 15 minutes.
The Chef Jesse’s special dip has always been abundant for every meal since the beginning. We had to followup several times to get it refilled, given the waiting. As service was slow, we had to wait for the next course.
Our waters remained unrefilled except sparsely through the evenings. At the end of the meal, it was already the manager who was refilling our glasses.
Appetizer — Poinsettia (Smoked salmon, fiddlehead fern and ikura in yellow miso-lemon vinaigrette dressing)
The “Poinsettia” which was smoked salmon lightly soaked in vinaigrette dressing came 5 minutes next. The nice thing about the Poinsettia was the design. Chef Jessie’s cut the smoked salmon to look like a poinsettia. But the taste is exactly how it was described and it was just so so.
We quickly finished this and waited patiently for the next dish.
Salad — Christmas Wreath (Fresh heart of palm and crab meat salad with red and green capiscum)
Unfortunately, the time between the Poinsettia and the Christmas Wreath was I think half an hour. It was THAT slow. Many of the diners were half gone by the time they put out the Christmas Wreath, which was just the heart of palm and red and green capsicum.
The menu said it had crab meat salad, but instead of real crab, it was just kani, which was a cop out given the price. I think next time, they could have used real crab meat for us to enjoy the rich flavors.
St. Gabriel’s Treat — Seared jumbo scallop topped with pan fried goose liver on creamy angel hair
Okay, this dish was PERFECT.
Everything about it was yummy — the jumbo scallop which is lightly seared, but juicy on the inside.
The pan fried goose liver was excellently cooked. Soft on the inside but cooked enough. And the creamy angel hair was a great complement to the mixtures of the two dishes.
This came a long time after the salad, but it was worth the wait. This was one of the best dishes we ever tasted in Manila, and this should be served every day. Awesome!
The photo does not do it any justice. This dish was YUMMY.
Shepherd’s Choice — Cheese Tortellini and Tomato Soup in Bread Cups
It’s like creamy tomato soup in a small bread cup. Nothing special about this dish, pass! Waited for a long time for this too. By this time, there were only a handful of seats there.
Warning: This is a small dish. It’s like half a plate.
Lime Sorbet — very sour!
Then again, what do you expect?
Your Best Choice — Roast US Black Angus Prime Rib-Eye with Bordelaise Sauce
This was supposed to be the highlight of the meal but it clearly disappointed. The meat was a bit tough, and the sauce was just dark gravy. What you see is how it tastes, and there’s nothing really wow or spectacular about this dish.
I did not finish mine. The brown rice side and beans were nice though. Wished that the meat could have been juicier. It was just way overdone.
Santa’s Surprise — cheesecake with some sweets inside
The Santa’s Surprise was nice. Cake was not really fresh and a bit dry but we finished it nonetheless as it was above average.
Chef Jessie’s is losing its touch.
The servers are almost all new, the service is slow, and the food is ho-hum. The concept itself is great given that Chef Jessie’s is already a brand, but I think that the chef has dropped a ball when it came to their food and taken their customers for granted.
I hope that Chef Jessie’s can get her groove back.
It’s such a pity because everyone knows about this restaurant and there really is a market for delicious fine dining set meals.
However, charging people for Php 2,995++ was a bit too much given that we ate and how slow the service was. The only saving grace was the St. Gabriel’s Treat which was truly excellent, but fine dining is supposed to be giving your customers an EXPERIENCE, which was truly lacking last night.
Experience is not waiting for food until late.
Experience is not experiencing regular tastes for a hefty price.
Experience is not a tough meat.
Experience is not constantly calling the waiter to follow up with your food or to refill your water.
Overall, it was a disappointing meal, and I hope Chef Jessie’s look into its restaurant to make it great once again.