Trish Panlilio opens Mulberry Door–with help from sons Quintin, Matteo and Luca
Entrepreneur Trish Panlilio has seamlessly evolved from being one of the country’s prettiest and stylish mavens to a kitchen whiz. With the success of her catering service, nawwTy’s kitchen, and the Gourmand Market, a weekend market for artisanal food in Bonifacio Global City, she has spun a new brand, Mulberry Door, a restaurant specializing in artfully-plated familiar favorites.
But Trish prefers to keep herself in the background and put her sons—Quintin, Matteo and Luca Cu-Unjieng—on the forefront instead. Mulberry Door is a family endeavor where the siblings share responsibilities.
Its menu has been refined over years of family bonding. Quintin, 25, remembers the Sunday family reunions that served up classics such as prawn thermidor, lengua, fish fillet, pancit and adobo. At Mulberry Door, the prawn thermidor is served au gratin, balanced with greens.
Matteo, 22, and Luca, 18, have been exposed to not common dishes, escargots, for instance.
“It’s weird for a child to eat snails, but I couldn’t stop,” said Luca.
He recalls family movie nights in the living room where Trish served burgers and pizza. “Food has been a staple in our memories,” he added.
At home, Trish loves to try out recipes. The siblings describe themselves in jest as “patient zero,” the first patient in a medical experiment. Their place was also often called the clubhouse, with their buddies coming over for Trish’s meals.
Eventually, Quintin helped his mother set up her catering business, recommending potential bestsellers such as the crab fat paella, paella negra and her version of the classic paella Valencia.
When Gourmand Market began operations, the siblings took turns handling the stalls. Quintin and his friends set up Baker Bros, which offered cookies such as chewy mint chocolate, peanut butter, Nutella and apple space jam. The market catered more to titas than millennials. Still, Baker Bros received orders after the weekend market.
Luca’s group organized a sandwich stall that had chicken teriyaki with wheat bread as bestseller.
Matteo’s Fry Guys was the most successful. “The market loves French fries,” he said. The group got creative, with such hits as Carne Asada or sirloin on top of French fries and sour cream, and garlic fries capped with crab meat.
Mulberry Door has become a logical progression for this foodie family. The siblings believed it was time to share the family recipes—enhanced for restaurant dining.
The restaurant consolidates Trish’s ventures, all of which have capitalized on her good taste. Among her businesses are personalized balloon and floral arrangements, and Papillo Fine Stationers.
The resto décor reflects her style of combining the elegance of distressed oak furniture with glamorous touches.
The siblings are committed to the operations. “Mom wants to hear our inputs in deciding for the restaurant,” said Matteo, who compiled Mulberry Door’s diverse, easy-listening playlist.
Quintin helped in the concept, management and design of the restaurant.
At the end of the day, he and his mother go over the numbers. Luca suggests items on the menu.
The menu is a mix of nawwTy’s kitchen specials such as the paella, pasta, crab fat linguine, rib eye with a special rub. Some dishes are named after the siblings.
Appetizer Apple and Q-rizo Salpicao is a reference to Quintin, who is sometimes called “Q.” Matteo’s Lamb Burger with Taro Chips has been his favorite at home.
“It was my post-workout meal. There’s Gruyère and Emmenthal on top of it,” said Matteo.
Luca’s Mango Elixir refers to his favorite fruit. It’s a cocktail of rum and mango liqueur laced with basil and tarragon.
The menu is indulgent—lemon carbonara pasta, pastas topped with either clams or porcini, mushroom and chicken wings Asiago, grilled salmon with almond cream sauce, pinkish osso bucco, callos with garlic baguette, coq au vain with rice and mashed potatoes and lime tarragon prawns.
A popular party fare at home, the paella with crab fat made crunchy with pork cracklings appeals to diners for its familiarity. Trish also created Paella Blanca, a risotto-like dish with white sauce, dotted with Hungarian sausage, mushrooms and ham.
Quintin’s favorite is the Grilled Salmon with mashed potato: “It’s tender at the center but crunchy on the skin, and I love starch.”
Matteo enjoys the creaminess of Porcini Penne Pasta. Luca savors the NawwTy Rib Eye with béarnaise sauce and potato au gratin. “It’s a match made in heaven,” said the youngest.
In this family-run business, “We share our experiences over meals. Bonding is important to us. It has nurtured our relationship,” said Luca. Their dynamics is like a recipe, Quintin said. “You have different ingredients, but with the wrong amounts, it doesn’t always make a good mix.” So, even if they don’t share the same views every time, they find common ground to work together, added Matteo. —CONTRIBUTED
Mulberry Door, G/F 8 Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Taguig City. Call 09064963745.
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