Lusso: where ‘I think I want to marry you’

I was never a fan of sandwiches and this is ironic because I live in a country where the annual consumption of sarnies yields an average of 11.5 billion. Blimey baloney, I’m not part of that statistic *tears* There’s been a few sandwiches in my life (I’ve experimented on fillers too) but I can honestly say that only one has ever really swept me off my feet. It was THE sandwich and if it were a man I would 100% marry it today.

Lusso is a little Gaita Fores venture in Greenbelt 5 (next to the Balenciaga shop in case you miss it!). The name is Italian for ‘luxury’ and you’d feel all inch of it in the restaurant’s design: from the muted tones of gold in its intimate interior (they have a bigger al fresco dining space which is neat) to the plush velvet upholstered chairs, from the awesome marbled floor to the grand chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
The menu is the opposite though: printed on some parchment-esque type of paper (with some spillage on the corners), it screams a bit more French brasserie than Italian ristorante. But nevermind.
Gaita’s other restaurants have always been my Manila favourites: Cibo was a standard comfort-food staple and (the now-closed) Pepato was always good for group dates or dinner before a night out. I thought Lusso was going to be another hit, so I went with my favourite brunch buddy A (we did go for a very late lunch though). 
The money shot!
As it was a sort of reunion (A moved back to Manila =( a few months before our chin wag) we had to have some bubbly. I like that they serve champagne by the glass but I wonder how they store leftovers from the bottle, or if they even have leftovers for people who just go there for pre-tanking.
I love the coasters, the elegance of the logo, and I love the lime in tap.
Our orders came quite promptly and we were definitely excited to eat!

A & I shared a pot of Asiago fries with truffle salt (PHP 250) I’ve heard inconsistencies about this but ours was pretty good. The cheese had a nice mature flavour and I thought it would be grainy like most mature hard cheeses but it was smooth as it melted, stretched and settled on the hand-cut chips. The truffle salt was subtly sprinkled but the flavour was strong enough without overpowering the cheese. I wish we ordered two of these, but we didn’t want to overindulge.

I’ve had a number of pretty decent lobster rolls here so I wasn’t overly excited to try the Lobster and River Prawn Roll (PHP 450). But it was the first I’ve seen in Manila and I wanted to compare. Unsure whether the lobsters are sourced in the Philippines, I asked the servers where they get their shellfish from (and their foie) but unfortunately they didn’t know.

It came with thinly cut potato crisps and a simple side of greens. I didn’t care much for the filling to be honest. Fair enough, it was a chunky cocktail of prawn, lobster and mayo and there was a lot of it. BUT. That amazing tiger bread stole the show for me. Most lobster rolls here are served on toasted brioche but the tiger roll was actually perfect for a sarnie like that; it balanced the acidity and creaminess of the filling and the crust gave it a nicer texture. You wouldn’t want creamy filling with soft bread as it would just be mush on mush.

Now before we get all too mushy. Let’s talk about THE SANDWICH. 

It came to us looking quite unassuming (as most good things do), looking like a boxed lunch gently glamourised on a plate. It was, after all, just a sandwich, a simple side of greens and potato crisps. But there was a certain je ne sais quoi about it that made it look so bold and so elegant and it had nothing to do with the poncey name. Ladies and gents, say hello to Lusso’s Foie Gras Croque Monsieur (PHP450).

It was a rich sandwich but it was delicately put together and all the elements just worked fantastically.

The bread? An amazing sheet of toast thin enough to make the dish look sexy and easy to eat but thick and firm enough to hold after a major bite.

The cheese? A really nice blend of creamy bechamel and salty gruyere. The type of creamy-salty that melts on your bread and is awesome in your mouth.

The filling? Surprisingly heroic foie that rose to the occasion. It was the perfect amount; cut any thinner you’d lose it to the cheese, cut any thicker you’d lose interest and your belt. It gave the sandwich a great flavour profile and rightly so, because when you say you’re having an ABC123 sandwich you want the ABC123 to shine.

I could easily eat five of these, but I won’t.

I fell for this sandwich. I fell hard and I feel like I have a long distance love affair with it. Can’t wait to fly 6,600+ miles to eat it again.
Overall I think Lusso is a fantastic spot. I can see groups lounging by the al fresco area but I think the dining experience is best inside. It’s a great place for a light snack, a mid-afternoon buzz, or maybe afternoon tea with a friend or a significant other. They’re famous for their Demi-pound Foie Burgers too, but I’ll report on that some other time.
Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City, Philippines | +632756LUXE / +6327565893
Ave spend: PHP1000pp (£16 at current exchange rate £1=61)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *