LOOP is the restaurant school of the Institute of Culinary Arts and Food Service (ICF).  The name is based on the Infinity symbol, which represents “elegant flourish in Calligraphy and fine cuisine”. But I think it got its name from its location in the new FEU Building along Zuellig Loop, Buendia.

The restaurant is great for a first date (as it is very conducive to conversation), or for eating dinner before watching a play at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater in RCBC Plaza across it.  LOOP is open until 10pm.

The ambiance is a bit intimidating, but it is actually more of a casual, warm place to dine in. We initially thought it was fine dining, but they still let us in even though we were wearing slippers. They have a lot of casual clients from the nearby Columns condo.

Appetizers, Soup, and Salad
| Sandwiches, Pasta, Meat and Poultry, Fish and Seafood | Desserts | Coffee and Tea, Beer and Alcopops, Cocktails, Frozen Cocktails, Mocktails

The menu is simple and, truth be told, nothing in it stood out as very creative.

Complimentary Bread Platter
with Pesto, Butter, Olive Oil and Egyptian Dukkah.

The bread comes from Le Coeur de France. I guess the creative touch here is provided by the dips. First, you have to dip the bread in olive oil and then in the Egyptian dukkah (a mixture of ground nuts and Egyptian spices). After that, it’s up to you if you want to add the standard pesto and butter spreads. Careful, though. If you go overboard, you will already feel full after eating it.

Quesong Puti Phyllo Triangles
(P180 +10% service charge)
. A rich native cheese from carabao milk, wrapped in traditional Greek flaky pastry, served with homemade tomato sauce.

This was executed well. The creamy white cheese-filled phyllo wraps were crispy and served hot. Interestingly, it came with tomato sauce, which is not the usual partner for this type of appetizer.

North African Lamb Stew
(P425 +10% service charge)
. Tender lamb shoulder gently stewed with spices and aromatics, served with a side of couscous tabouleh.

The meat dishes were highly recommended, so we ordered the Lamb Stew. The meat was indeed quite soft, tasty and marinated well with the herbs and spices. The couscous gave it a nice Mediterranean touch, but it would have been perfect with white rice.

The Loop Iced Tea
(P80 +10% service charge)

The iced tea was another recommendation. It was infused with mango and had the right amount of froth on top. It was good but not radically different.

1. LOOP Chocolate Symphony
(P170 +10% service charge)
. Moist Valrhona chocolate cake smeared with natural raspberry coulis and caramel sauce.

2. Pear Frangipane Tart with Blue Cheese Crumble and Ice Cream (P365 +10% service charge). Rich almond paste and tangy pears combine in this classic French tart, topped with blue cheese and ice cream.

They recognized us when we dined in. They were happy we visited, so they gave us complimentary dessert despite our insistence that we pay for it.

The picture above shows a half-serving of the two desserts, served in trio-style. The Chocolate Symphony is nothing extraordinary, but we loved the Blue Cheese-Ice Cream-French tart combination. We love Blue Cheese, so we are a bit biased when it comes to this dessert. 🙂

It is a bit expensive, though, probably because of the pears soaked in red wine and the blue cheese.

Joey Herrera is currently running the culinary school and is the executive chef of Loop. The school just had two batches this year. On the students’ second year, they will go on OJT in the restaurant.

On a non-food point, I don’t understand why restaurants like having black uniforms for their chefs and servers. It is actually bad luck for the Chinese, and some of the restaurants that had black uniforms closed down already.

Overall, the food is good, the ambiance is unneccesarily formal, and the “creative dining” concept is a bit lost in translation. The menu is not creatively game-changing and what they offer is not even free-style dining. To be honest, I still don’t understand what their “creative dining“means after our experience.

Nevertheless, we will still go there to have quiet but fun conversations with friends and loved ones over good food, or for lunch or dinner meetings since they also have private rooms good for 10 people (without extra charge). Budget P500/head.

Ground Floor, ICF @ FEU
Zuellig Loop, Gil Puyat corner Malugay St., Makati City
Contact: Joey Herrera
Telephone: +632 892-7920
Mobile: +63 927 766 2227
Email: [email protected]
Operating Hours: 10am to 10pm

Driving Directions:
If you are coming from Buendia (going to the Columns), Loop will be on your right. There is a small opening for the parking lot, so you will have to make a u-turn loop to enter it, coming from Buendia. The sign is quite visible along Buendia.

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Disclosure: We are not connected in any way with the owners of the restaurant, but they recognized us when we dined in that night. It was fun meeting Joey Herrera, who personally came over and talked to us. We paid for all the food except for the dessert.

P.S. Thanks to Nancy Lumen Reyes, mother of Joey Herrera, for the tip on Loop!