Epicurean hub in the heart of Ortigas
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Katzer, the newest French-Mediterranean dine & wine spot in the metropolis, opens its doors to gourmands and gourmets alike. Named after its celebrated chef, Andreas Katzer, this hub of Central West European cuisine would surely appeal to the fine-dining crowd as he dazzles diners with his own brand of culinary wizardry.
The once-chef and part-owner of popular gastronomic haven Le Souffle at the Fort assures that Katzer will serve not just excellent fare but also impeccable service that he hopes will become the hallmark in the hospitality industry.
For a chef who took inspiration from his mother in pursuing a life in the four corners of the kitchen, he never imagined he would be facing pots and pans all his life. ¨What I really wanted was to travel and see the world so I thought to myself how I d be able to do that. Work in a hotel kitchen; that way you can see the world.¨
While in Germany, he came across this little archipelago with more than 7,000 islands that intrigued him a lot. ¨To be honest, when I think of the Philippines, I can only imagine a coconut tree. That was my vision of the Philippines before!¨
Perhaps, his thought of the Philippines was really something good because he married a Filipina, whom he met while assigned to another hotel in the Middle East. ¨What happened was I invited her to Germany and then she invited me here. That was it! Before long, we got married and staying in the Philippines made me fall in love with the country even more.¨
Of course, being in the country required him to learn to prepare local dishes. For someone who has been designated chef at the Hotel Inter-Continental Makati, Insular Inn Davao, Shangri-La Kota Kinabalu and other famous hotels, not to mention proud partner of the popular Le Souffle chain, he has already learned how to cook staple Pinoy fare like adobo, sinigang and dinugu-an, which he swears he absolutely loves.
Together with a group of young entrepreneurs, Chef Andreas says that Katzer is a product of the group´s vision in providing a new dining alternative not just for the Ortigas crowd but also for those on the constant lookout for top-quality food and others already familiar with Chef Andreas´ brand of cooking magic.
For someone who has more than two decades experience in culinary arts as well as having served some of the best hotels both here and abroad, chef extraordinaire Andreas Katzer would not want people to call him a chef despite his accomplishments, but would rather be called a cook!
¨I´d really prefer to be simply called a cook and not a chef. It´s just a designation. I believe that to be called a chef, one has to have many, many years of cooking experience,¨ explained Chef Katzer. But then, grammatically speaking, it would be rather inappropriate to call him a cook due to his impressive resume, and it would entail a different meaning if he were to be called simply as Cook Katzer!
¨The Filipino palate has evolved over the years. It has changed a lot since then. Before, Filipinos do not eat lamb and rarely drank wine,¨ enthused Chef Katzer.
Katzer has a separate bar with a menu consisting of scrumptious snacks, a function room for private events or meetings, plus a spacious dining area that can hold up to 150 covers; good enough for parties or corporate/formal events. Patrons will also appreciate the clean, minimalist look of the interiors that also doubles as a mini art gallery featuring the gilded abstract works of Ivan Acuna.
¨For aspiring chefs, the best thing to do is travel, gain experience by working in the best hotels. You cannot just get into any school and get a diploma and then call yourself a chef. It takes years to become one.¨
That same advice he also gave his son, who is now studying to become a chef in Germany. ¨I tell him the same thing: go around, gain experience in top hotels like I did. If he can prove that he can be an accomplished cook, that is the time I´d allow him to cook in my restaurant. When that happens, then I could just go home and sleep.¨
Katzer has a full menu from starters to soups and salads, a wide selection of pasta, delightful meat and fish dishes as well as grilled items and bar chow. Guests will most certainly enjoy the ample servings of each dish: a definite good news for those with slightly ´healthy´ appetites.
Delight in their amazing appetizers like potato baked in Racklette cheese, homemade duck liver terrine, escargot in herb garlic butter, beef carpaccio, gravlax with dill mustard dressing and duck confit in filo pastry. Salads include Caesar concoctions done the classic way as well as warm Mediterranean salads.
For savory soups, there´s the traditional French onion soup for those who want light and clear bullions and there´s light prawn bisque for those who prefer creamy consommes.
Their specialty pasta dishes are the Fettuccini & shiitake in blue cream cheese sauce and the Baked penne with sauteed garlic and aubergine. Highly-recommended fish fare include the grilled Chilean sea bass, herb-crusted Dory fillet with cheese on buttered linguini; Lapu-lapu, tiger prawns & scallops served Bouillabaisse-style, and stir-fried prawns in spicy coconut sauce to satiate any seafood craving.
Those who prefer meat dishes can opt for either the boneless and fat-free pickled pork knuckles, roasted rack of lamb Provencale, braised lamb shanks, ox tongue in red wine sauce, and black peppered steak. Steak fanatics won´t be disappointed with dishes like Black Angus tenderloin, Wagyu rib eye, strip loin & top blade, lamb chops, chicken breast, boneless chicken leg and duck breast.
Sweet endings present an exciting line-up of delectable desserts as crepes, sorbets, cheesecakes & souffles galore, and the eponymous Coupe de Katzer to cap your meal.
As an added service, Chef Katzer can accommodate orders not listed on the menu, to show the resto´s versatility and flexibility in client satisfaction.
For now, Chef Andreas is busy with this new brainchild that is named after him. He promises to bring to clients that same renowned culinary competence, with a little more spunk and pizazz, but with the same quiet elegance and alluring artistry in gastronomy that he is known for.
Located at the second level of the Wynsum Corporate Plaza along F. Ortigas Jr. Ave. (formerly Emerald Ave.) within the bustling Ortigas Center complex, Katzer is open daily from 11 in the morning until 11 in the evening.
Diners can egress the restaurant through Ruby Street while guests parking within the building can enter through a private elevator leading directly to the dining salon. For reservations and/or inquiries, simply call 638-9819.


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