Okay, so the name is a little difficult to pronounce â€“ CuillÃ¨re (KU-yer) â€“ 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 â€“ a soothing scene of a street in France â€“ 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, â€œIs it possible to mix flavors, pretty please?â€, 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 almond milk should taste â€“ creamy, mouth-coating, and slightly sweet â€“ 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 â€“ cheese, please â€“ 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-saltyâ€¦
â€¦ 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 â€œit hurts so good,â€ but frankly, I’ll endure anything for my carabao milkshake.
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig