The week that passed afforded us to discover a new restaurant with a distinctive menu and a unique name that would make one wonder why it has been given that term.
It is a tribute to two noble creatures, the pigs of Spain and the Philippines.
The Black Pig, Charcuterie, Bar and Restaurant
2/F, Commerce Center, East Asia Drive cor. Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Muntinlupa; tel. nos. 8081406, 0917-8450744.
This newbie in the restaurant business is fast gaining popularity and good reviews by word of mouth. This was why this diner and company hurriedly hied off to the place, curious why it is called such.
The menu card explains—the name is inspired by two noble creatures, the Spanish Black Pig, from which comes the famous Iberico ham, and our own lechon, considered as almost our national dish.
Both are delicious and have gained worldwide acclaim, each with interesting origin.
Dining area: This is apparently quite a small operation. The place can accommodate no more than 20 people for a meal.
Interiors are in black with minimalist décor, six tube-like lighted lamps on the main wall. Chairs are comfortable and tables are set apart from each other for easy movement.
Service: Solicitous and fast from the efficient kitchen.
Staff: They look neat, clothed in double-breasted gray tops over black trousers. They are gracious and offer the menu cards (all of three one-page cards divided into a general lineup, a lunch selection and desserts, wine and coffee. The items are printed on black cardboard with pencil sketches of kitchen equipment and utensils.
Suggested menu: The chef, a namesake of the late Philippine President Carlos Garcia, is from Spain. This is his first stint in the country after working for sometime in London. We must give Carlos credit for being very creative (artistic), as each dish that comes out of the kitchen is a work of art, like a creation of various shades using varicolored elements—capers, greens, etc. to complement the main elements such as fish or meat.
This creativity, however, does not detract from the original flavors of the meat, the seafood and the vegetables that, in Carlos’ hands, are transformed into delicious dishes.
Upon sitting, the diner is served a jigger of root beet gazpacho with tomatoes. It is instantly refreshing in this heat, and puts us in the mood to enjoy the meal.
There are other appetizers—bread served on ceramic oval dish, topped by jamon Serrano, cherry tomatoes and edible purple petals.
The soup of Baked Pumpkin, Lemongrass and Ginger is poured from a small carafe into a bowl that contains pieces of the vegetable.
Now the main courses. Because we all want to taste more than one dish, we have a degustation or Filipino style of choosing a group of dishes. The piece de resistance is the Braised Veal Cheeks, an unusual dish. The meat, tender enough to fall from the fork, is interspersed with pickled onions and mashed potato with tiny greens on top.
Each dish we have is grilled or steamed, therefore, never greasy. The major ingredients are allowed to cook in their natural juices, releasing their subtle and original flavors.
Then there is the Slow-Cooked Seabass, with caper sauce and spinach, beetroot and a sour verjus (from green fruits, like apples), fresh and with no fishy smell nor taste.
The Mahi Mahi Fillet provides a different flavor with the use of Shiitake mushrooms and teriyaki sauce.
The Black in Risotto comes in a small deep saucer. And the breads are a selection presented so beautifully in a square basket. They are so tasty, our group cannot resist ordering individual packs.
After all these, there is still space for dessert—we choose Chocolate Praline.
On another day, maybe the diner can order a selection of fruits and ice cream specially assembled by the team. Coffee is robust and when all is over, we leave the place truly satisfied.
Service and government charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.