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Savoy, home of great viands. Savoy, it wins you with a glance. Savoy gives happy foodies a chance to dance. — with apologies to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald and the great Benny Goodman for the paraphrase. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpww0IoSQ0M)

When I hear the word “Savoy”, I think of Old-World refinement and elegance, as in the classic hotel in London. I also think of the hoppin’, hedonistic club in Harlem. But here, I’m “singing” about the Savoy Bistro located unobtrusively along Kalayaan Avenue, near Rockwell in Makati.

And when I hear the phrase “Swedish chef”, I think of that hilarious orzh-de-borscht-de-borg gibberish-speaking character from the Muppet Show! But Swedish chef Robert Lilja is as far from that madcap muppet as balut is from Eggs Benedict. Chef Robert is the force behind the Savoy Bistro, which specializes, they say, in recipes of the traditional haute cuisine of France (most especially the Savoie region), Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, and Hungary. Perhaps he is known more for his successful The Gustavian restaurant in Cebu or his cafe La Bohème at the Picasso Boutique Hotel in Salcedo Village, Makati, but here at the Savoy, Chef Robert gives free rein to his love of classic European cuisine.

In this first time to sample the Savoy, my friends and I ordered the Prix Fixe lunch to experience what the bistro is all about. It included 5 courses — one’s choice of salad, soup, main course, dessert, and coffee or tea. And we were blown away! Each dish was a full and hearty serving — unexpectedly large for a Prix Fixe meal — and each course was superb in taste and presentation. Which did not even include the complimentary amuse bouche of smoked salmon and mango on pumpernickel bread. At a most reasonable price yet at about P700 per person that one would have typically spent at least a thousand bucks for! Despite the rather lackluster service, the food impressed us enough to want to come back for more. The Savoy is definitely worth seconds!

To know more about Chef Robert Lilja and the Savoy Bistro, read more about it in these more detailed write-ups. Just click on the links.

The Savoy Bistro by Jocelyn Montemayor Reyes and Eating Through Time.

Savoy Bistro is at 8479 Kalayaan Avenue (near the Bel-Air Gate on Amapola St.), Makati. Telephone (02)8965667. Open daily from 12nn to 3pm, and 6pm to 12mn.