Chef Miko Calo Combines Precision With Perfect Timing 

Chef Miko Calo’s cuisine is best described as precise yet with a restrained approach, yielding delectable dishes that subtly meld local flavors with western ingredients. 

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s December 2023/January 2024 Issue.

A metronome is a practice tool that produces a steady or beat to help musicians play rhythms accurately. It is designed to mark exact time by a regularly repeated tick. Metronome’s chef de cuisine Miko Calo chose to name the restaurant after this instrument because its primary function is to maintain perfect timing. 

Chef Miko Calo
Chef Miko Calo

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IMPECCABLE TIMING 

Inspired by a documentary on a philharmonic orchestra and its musicians’ use of a metronome reminded her of the necessary harmony in which movements in the kitchen and throughout a restaurant are likewise orchestrated. She says, “I wanted the restaurant to have a meaning to its name; and since I knew the kind of cooking philosophy that would ultimately guide my choice, calling it Metronome made sense.” 

Foie Gras
Foie Gras

Keenly aware of the precise timing involved in the conceptualization and execution of the dishes on the menu, Calo adheres strictly to preparation and cooking techniques she learned after training at the École Grégoire-Ferrandi in Paris and honing her skills in the kitchens of La Table in Paris and L’Atelier du Joël Robuchon in Paris, London, and Singapore. With seven years of experience, she moved back to Manila and opened Restaurant Metronome in July of 2019. 

Caviar
Caviar

Though an a la carte menu is available, her tasting menu best exemplifies her cuisine. Her recently-launched new tasting menu revolves around her food memories and personal growth. It incorporates locally familiar flavors, subtly melded with western ingredients. She has made her mark as one of the best chefs in the Philippines. 

A HARMONIOUS BALANCE OF FLAVORS 

Dinner starts with Caviar – a choux of Oscietra caviar, gamet (seasonal seaweed from Ilocos) paté and gamet mousseline. This small bite immediately whets the appetite. Next is Beetroot – beetroot salad, fennel purée, apricot granite, Roquefort espuma, and beetroot chips, Calo said she wanted to prepare this dish as several people don’t like the taste of beetroot, a vegetable she loves. There was absolutely nothing to dislike about this interplay among beetroot textures as well as with temperatures. A spoonful delivered crispy, soft , smooth, warm, and cold sensations. 

Broth
Broth

Her Foie Gras dish was micuit (half-cooked) with a coconut-tonka aigre-doux (sweet and sour). She added local coconut vinegar to this dish. She says that being from Butuan, vinegar is something she grew up with and loves. The combination of vinegar and tonka bean produces an elegant sweet and sour sauce that delicately cuts through the rich foie gras custard. BROTH made of pork hock, hazelnut gnocchi Parisienne, malunggay pistou, pear, and herb oil is a perfectly light dish to have after some rich starters. She creates the herb oil from herbs not used in the kitchen so there is nothing that goes to waste. 

Beetroot
Beetroot

The Lobster dish is drawn from memories of Calo’s adolescent years living in her aunt’s home where she had her aunt’s Callos and her trips to her uncle’s ancestral home in Arayat, Pampanga where she had the traditional pancit langlang. This dish marries the two memories together to create her tribute to the couple. It is a Cognac-glazed Maine lobster with the Sardinian pasta fregola, lobster bisque, guanciale (Italian cured pork jowl), tomato confit, cured egg yolk, olives, capers, calamansi, and saffron. Calo’s TURBOT (brought in live from Korea) is steamed à la plancha (cooked on the griddle) with white radish purée, manila clams, clam and Kaffir emulsion, and roasted fish bone jus. 

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia December 2023/January 2024 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos courtesy of Elbert Cuenca.

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