Okay, so the name is a little difficult to pronounce – CuillÃ¨re (KU-yer) – but it’s what’s scribbled on the outdoor blackboard that makes me hold my breath and dash in: carabao milkshakes.
As a catering venue that has come into its own as a restaurant, proprietor Arlene Arce and chef Katrina Arce Kuhn have made CuillÃ¨re a brasserie bowing to all things French. I see evidence of this in the wall mural – a soothing scene of a street in France – as well as Belle Epoque posters and banquettes.
I eat here a few times, the dishes a nod to homey French dishes that are familiar and far from intimidating: NiÃ§oise salad, escargots Bourguignonne, French onion soup, roast chicken, etc. I’ll save my feature on those for a future post. Though I have something different every time I’m at CuillÃ¨re, it’s those milkshakes that I always come back to. Obviously, a restaurant run by the Arces of the well-known ice cream brand, they’re bound to have a few tricks up their sleeves, most definitely of the sweet and cool kind.
I can assure you however that the carabao milkshakes are no trick, just a cruel trial I repeatedly have to endure to prevent myself from ordering more than one glass. Available in a striking array of flavors (caramel! avocado! choco-peanut!) I’m tempted to ask, “Is it possible to mix flavors, pretty please?”, propriety prevails and I always order the cheese milkshake.
I’m a milk lover and carabao’s milk is my holy grail. It tastes the way I’ve always imagined milk should taste – creamy, mouth-coating, and slightly sweet – that is, before age set in and I was forced to switch to skim. Carabao’s milk also has more butterfat and saturated fat than cow’s milk, which accounts for its guilt-inducing flavor. Add my ice cream of choice – cheese, please – complete with cheese bits and a rosette of cream, and I can’t be happier.
My first sip is a cold wave riding on crests of sweetness punctuated with saltiness from the cheese. The mixture pulsates in a constant current of shivery deliciousness until my straw lets through a globule of whipped cream; its smoothness is washed away by the ongoing onslaught of sweet-salty-sweet-salty…
… and then, brain freeze. Aaaggghhh!
I put my head on the table, my hands gripping the back of my head. It’s almost prurient to say that “it hurts so good,” but frankly, I’ll endure anything for my carabao milkshake.
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig