If you’ve ever found yourself at McKinley Hill in Taguig, then you might have come across an intriguing sight in one of its out-of-the-way corners. A set of buildings that would have looked more at home in places like New England, or Europe, seemingly got put up in the wrong address. This place, is called Enderun.
Enderun is actually a school, and judging by its well manicured campus, it’s probably the most visually intimidating four-year college in the country. It offers degree courses in Business Management and Hospitality Management, including a culinary arts program that is run in partnership with ADF, the culinary school of renowned French chef Alain Ducasse. Intimidating indeed.
So, what in the world was Ang Laagan doing in a school for future chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers? I do have a passion for food, but I’m not about to switch careers. They actually have a restaurant within the school, where students get to practice what they’ve learned about haute cuisine and fine dining service in real life. And, just like a regular college class, it’s aptly called “Restaurant 101”, and that’s what Ang Laagan was there for.
My wife bought a lunch package for the two of us, at Restaurant 101, as a gift. The package included a buffet appetizer, a single entree, and a buffet dessert.
You’ll feel the fine dining atmosphere the moment you enter the school’s gate. The campus of Enderun does look “snobbish”, for lack of a better word, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Entering the restaurant inside one of the school buildings, we were welcomed by the Maitre d’, in true formal dining fashion. We were then led to our tables and had our water glasses filled by student waiters and waitresses who look more professional than I do on a regular workday. The dining staff were clearly eager to prove themselves, they never missed taking out a used plate from my table as soon as I set it aside, and filling up my glass of water as soon as it’s half empty. Impressive, I thought.
The restaurant itself is pretty much exclusive. They don’t actively sell their lunch to the public, and I guess most people only learn about it through word of mouth, or by reading online articles like this. And that, is a good thing. The thin crowd makes for a quiet atmosphere that is conducive for a slow and relaxing lunch.
The appetizer and dessert buffet only had a handful of selections, but you don’t come here expecting a Circles or Spiral kind of over-indulgence. Food here is, after all, meant to be enjoyed and not hoarded. The entrees themselves came in small portions, but such is usually the characteristic of fine dining where the focus is on quality and not quantity, and the whole meal did leave me satisfied but not stuffed.
This is probably the closest I could get to anything from Alain Ducasse (or from any other celebrity chef for that matter), but that is more than good enough for me. I only get to eat in fine dining fashion once in a blue moon, and the experience of being served by the best of Enderun is one that I’m certainly glad not to have missed.
* We had lunch at Restaurant 101 on July 2011. All photos taken with Olympus E420 and Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5.