This Makati nightspot transforms into an airy, well-lit space midday worthy of its ladies-who-lunch crowd.
Have you ever walked into one of those “aesthetic” cafes straight out of a K-drama, or perhaps a subway-tiled restaurant offering rice bowls with an existential question in neon lights on the wall, and felt inexplicably out of place?
Do not worry, you are not alone. This simply means that you are now a “tita,” belonging to that age group that ranges from geriatric millennials to Gen Xers that simply do not have the patience for poorly made flat whites and shared lavatories.
Pardon My French (PMF), the Jupiter St. establishment that describes itself as a brasserie offering live entertainment, knows this market well. The modern baroque style makes the titas feel right at home as if they simply walked into the well-appointed living room of an amiga.
The ladies’ rooms are well-lit, clean, and smelling of fresh-cut flowers, complete with amenities from upscale local brand For Keeps. The live bands play 1970s to 90s nostalgia with familiar names from the day including Juan Miguel Salvador and his band The Authority, Randy Santiago with The Plug, and many more icons from the latter part of the 20th century.
The current spread has an Asian theme, earning the monicker ‘Asian-pasti lunch buffet.‘ There are some cold appetizers like slices of soy-cured salmon, tuna ceviche, and that crowd-pleasing scallops on a half-shell with XO sauce.
The selection is not as expansive as the many buffets out there competing for social media hype with their impressive carving stations or chocolate fountains. Titas do not need that, in fact we try to avoid empacho at all cost.
While PMF is well-known for their evening entertainment, their food here is also something that resonate with the titas. Chef Ariel Manuel (remember Lolo Dad’s?) commands their kitchen and while French bistro fare is truly on theme, he knows that titas cannot live on pates and sole meunière alone. For lunch, they have started offering an antipasti buffet that is exactly what ladies (and gents) of a certain age require.
The current spread has an Asian theme, earning the monicker “Asian-pasti lunch buffet.” There are some cold appetizers like slices of soy-cured salmon, tuna ceviche, and that crowd-pleasing scallops on a half-shell with XO sauce. There is a salad section with the usual western dressings and accoutrements, but there is also a vibrant array of asian ensaladas like one with pickled banana hearts and a Thai beef salad with vermicelli noodles.
Still, a true tita knows how to indulge and she does this mindfully, understanding that crisp is an essential texture. The centerpiece is chef Ariel’s Peking-style roast duck which is a valiant effort from the classically trained chef, surrounded by more crunchy and indulgent things like lechon Macau, freshly fried chicharron, and the tita staple, kropek.
For balance, there are steamed dumplings as well as a cold soba station for those looking for a bit of carbs without much guilt. And while that truly is plenty, diners can opt for their special lunch offer that allows in addition to endless returns to their buffet, a hot main dish and dessert.
I ordered the Szechuan pork with fried rice which came highly recommended and I have no regrets.While Gen Z is an enthusiastic market that clearly has their own preferences, there is a simple template one can follow to attract the highly loyal tita crowd looking for streamlined substance. A well-ventilated dining room with comfortable seating; immaculate bathrooms where everything works and smells nice; and a mindfully put-together menu of dishes that are well-executed and work well together.
At our age, we avoid clutter and unnecessarily complicated things. We prefer things to be “maaliwalas,” as we like to say. Pardon My French seems to understand this perfectly, offering a venue filled with music, and now food, that we can truly appreciate and understand.