Take a seat at the new restaurant of Filipino-Swiss chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara and you’ll understand why she has a well-stocked catalog of quietly successful restaurants in Metro Manila.
Catalogue, her newest endeavor at Citadines Benavidez Makati—a new hotel and serviced apartment that welcomes guests with its recognizable burnt orange polygonal facade—follows her tried-and-tested formula, thanks to its friendly vibe and made-to-last approach to neighborhood dining.
While not exactly built in partnership with Ascott (mother company of Citadines), Catalogue does provide the F&B requirements of the hotel, too. “We run kind of independently but in synergy with them because we provide the breakfast and the F&B requirements of the guests.”
“Even if I want it to be a neighborhood place, I still wanted this to be something you can see in Bangkok or Singapore or any Asian city, something that I could open in other places… something that could stand against those places,” says Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara.
You don’t need a game plan to appreciate the food and drinks at Catalogue. The menu is concise and won’t overwhelm any discerning customer, and it’s the kind of spread that features classics with modern takes on well-loved dishes. Compellingly fresh but equally relatable and accessible.
“Even if I want it to be a neighborhood place, I still wanted this to be something you can see in Bangkok or Singapore or any Asian city, something that I could open in other places… something that could stand against those places.”
Catalogue strives to be that place—and appears to pull it off with charm as Alcantara often does on her other projects. Much like its siblings Mesclun and CDP Global Table, Catalogue explores classics with the occasional pops of freshness and a coffee-to-cocktails ethos that speaks to the growing customer demand for a space that offers versatility.
The mix of an unobtrusive space courtesy of Judith Acosta and dynamic beverage menu from Ross Juan of Coffee Home Brewers amplifies Alcantara’s trademark style of cooking.
What’s in her ‘catalogue’?
Like the name suggests, Alcantara’s range is on full display here. From nibbles such as the salted vinegar chicken skin (the last dish Alcantara added that is currently “exceeding expectations”) and sourdough pizzas made with a 12-year-old mother starter to an essential buttermilk chicken and waffles and an anchovy and kaffir pasta that depicts the restaurant’s personality, Catalogue hits every target—or palate, for that matter—to great effect.
Meanwhile, the range of refreshers (try the sparkling passion fruit), signature coffee drinks (bubble espresso, anyone?), and cocktails softened by labels like Summer Confession (rum, pineapple juice, kiwi) and Technical Issue (Olmeca tequila, yuzu juice, chili, rosemary, bitters) powers the larger experiences and feelings that day-to-night venues hold.
But regardless of whether customers prefer a tempered morning or a pulsating night, there’s one thing Alcantara wants to clear: The restaurant isn’t named after her.
“I didn’t even realize the connection until somebody told me, ‘With a K because of your name?’ and I’m like ‘Ay, oo nga no.’” Well, we—and its burgeoning neighborhood guests—won’t have a problem even if it was named after her anyway.