I have to warn you that I only had my point and shoot camera during dinner so my pictures are totally subpar. I apologize for the quality. I really want to do this post so please bear with me.
This twitter post from Manila Machine co-owner Marvin a.k.a. Burnt Lumpia caught my eye and I kept it in my mind to check out how the reservation situation is later that day. When I called for reservations, I was informed that I got the last table that night. Boy, talk about lucky, right?
And I truly feel lucky for having met this particular chef and tasted his food. I have to say that since this is a group service I feel that I have to comment on the other dishes as well. So here it is.
5 under 25 menu
The appetizer consists of 5 amuse’s, one from each chef. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the apps. All of them were good. Faves were Jon Butler’s oyster shot which was fresh, clean and just simply good and Allen’s tuna tartare over deep fried tapioca chip that reminded me of “kropek”. Kro-what? In simple english, it’s deep fried prawn cracker/chip. Reminded me of afternoons spent playing with friends and buying “kropek” at the neighborhood “sari-sari” (neighborhood mini-grocery) store for afternoon snack washed down with “Pop-cola” in plastic bags with straw. So, tuna tartare is good in my book as long as it’s fresh but paired with that deep fried tapioca chip? I call it a winning combo together with the oyster.
Atlantic Diver Scallop (Jon Butler)
First course was Atlantic Diver Scallop with Singapore curry, compressed asian pear, coconut parsnip puree with basil oil. Scallop was perfect, expecting more from the curry but overall good for me.
Warm Hamachi (Phillip Lee)
Next was Warm Hamachi with sweetbreads and grapefruit. I tasted the different components of this dish separately and together and this is one of those dishes where it tasted good separate and combined. For me, at least. The white sauce at the bottom tasted exactly like Pringles Sour Cream and Onion. And the rest of the table agreed on this. It was yummy. The bed of spinach by itself tasted like “laing“. If you’re Filipino you know what I’m talking about and if not click on it and find out. Hamachi and sweetbread is a no brainer for me. Love all that good stuff. Now, when you get the hamachi, sweetbread, spinach with sauce all in one bite, it is nothing like sour cream and onion or “laing”. It’s something totally different and totally good.
Spicy Chicken Wing (Kirstyn Brewer)
Third course was the Spicy Chicken Wing with coconut basil cream. Love the spice on the chicken which came in two pieces. One with bone and another boneless. Chicken was super tender which I like and spice level is just enough for me. The coconut basil cream is a nice counter balance to the spice of the chicken but I would’ve eaten that chicken by itself.
Pork Belly (Allen Buhay)
And for the final course we had the Pork Belly with pickled papaya and creamy coconut risotto. It looked pretty and as soon as the aroma hit me as the server placed the dish in front of me it smelled all Filipino. Where will I even start with this dish? Filipino dishes are usually paired with rice and in this dish it was given a twist by preparing the rice risotto style with coconut. The coconut milk is rich and creamy which balances the sourness of the “atchara” or pickled papaya. The pork belly reminded me of pata tim but pork belly version. A lovely surprise that was added to the pork belly was the addition of crushed crispy pork skin. It does not taste like your usual “chicharon” to me but more like lechon skin that has been pounded and crushed. It was tender and so tasty without being oily. It was in essence a home cooked meal packaged like a Tiffany box. All I can say is I love this dish. I am just saying. I still dream about it…
Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte Mouse (Troy Sazzman)
So…we have to move on to dessert which was Schwarzwalder Kirschorten (could be a typo for Kirschtorte) Mousse with baumkuchen and schatten morrelen. The only explanation given was that the cake has 50 layers in it. That explains the baumkuchen. Mousse – we all know what that means. From what can be translated I think it is safe to say that it was a black forest cake with cherry gateau and dark(or was it milk?) chocolate shadow fumble mouse. Uh-huh! It was for me a delicious, elegant black forest cake. Perfect ending to a very delicious meal.
After photo ops with Chef Allen Buhay, he invited us to the kitchen to watch them do service. I have to say, I am loving the energy. It was very inspiring. Check out the photos I took (that were marginally decent) behind the scenes … enjoy!
hail to the pork!
the uber chef intensifying that pork skin with more pork skin
plated and ready for window
one last look…
Chef Allen Buhay's Pork Belly
Thanks to Chef Allen Buhay for the wonderful food and hospitality. Looking forward to next time…
Hope you enjoyed,
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