Outré in BF Homes Serves More than Just Over-the-Top DessertJune 2, 2015
Sometimes, the brightest ideas come from the youngest entrepreneurs. Neslly Bretaña, the young gun behind Outré Manila, knows what she wants out of her restaurant, and it is both simple and ingenious. Over-the-top desserts have become a global phenomenon, and Neslly is bringing it to BF, creating massively wild ice cream concoctions along Aguirre Avenue. Every month, Outré creates new ice cream flavors, using the tried-and-tested nitrogen method, which we’ve only really seen from Kool Kids and The Iscreamist in the Philippines thus far. It may seem kitschy, but nitrogen gelato really gets some of the best results, hitting the cream with ridiculously cold air on impact so that it freezes without ice crystals, or without packing in unnecessary amounts of air into the product, which usually results in decreased smoothness and creaminess. Outré one-ups everyone so far by truly making their gelato a singular experience–there are no toppings to choose from, no sauces to decide on. They come as a full package, a complete dessert, and with the stuff that she’s dreamed up, you won’t even care that you can’t decide between chocolate or caramel.
This month, they’ve got a beautifully layered tiramisu gelato, that reminds us of the complexity of global spots like N2 Extreme Gelato in Sydney, or Chin-Chin Labs in London. You don’t just get tiramisu flavored gelato–there’s broas soaked in espresso cointreau in between layers of mascarpone gelato, topped with cocoa powder and more broas, so you get a full-on experience.
Milo Dinosaur comes tasting like so much of your childhood, and the syringe full of syrup is over-the-top but necessary fun. A surprise flavor that was almost Hulk-green will have both kids and adults taking turns guessing what the grassy flavor that was (malunggay? matcha?), keeping customers delightfully on their toes.
Savory items are the real deal too, with Neslly focusing on ‘modern Australian’, which hasn’t exactly become so popular in Manila yet. She believes it’s because people immediately think of grubby English pub food like fish and chips or pies, but I agree with her when she says modern Australian is that but much more progressive.
Good produce and good food are at the forefront of Australian food now, and the new culinary culture is akin to the sunniness and innovation of Californian cuisine. It means a focus on making things taste like what they truly are meant to be, with flavor coming from good vegetables or meat rather than fancy-shmancy cooking techniques. The food at Outré is as honest as this philosophy; a steal for the price. Rarely will you get fried food or burgers in the city that don’t leave you heavy after all that grease–Outré’s polenta fries are delicate, and picking one up won’t leave traces of oil on your fingers. Seasoned liberally with real Parmesan cheese, I can imagine how comforting and addicting these can get.
The menu is succinct, with a few sandwiches and pastas, but all have the same sensibility. Nothing is too heavy, but a lot are flavorful. The pulled pork sandwich is juicy, a concentrated balance of depth and spice, and well-worth what you pay for, topped with a slaw she learnt from former mentor Massimo Mele in Australia. Neslly tries to make everything from scratch, too, like the coulis that goes into their Berry Jelly and Cream gelato, except for the bread for their burger buns, which she takes care in sourcing.
If you think Outré is just a trendy gelato place, you’re wrong. I see some bright ideas from Neslly, who is a spark all on her own. She talks about food and travel with the eye of someone who has her wits about her, and she knows what good food tastes like. It’s a clever thing for her to use this knowledge to make food for her peers at an affordable price, but with all the clever restraint and simplicity of a real chef. There are no typical pub grub fish and chips or chicken and waffles here, or all the other tiring, uninspired takes on cheap food. Outré proves you can still eat well, even if you’ve only got 200 bucks in your wallet.