In a recent TV interview, I was asked, “What do you think of the culinary scene in the country today?”
I think it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Time was when there was only a handful of authentic foreign restaurants. And anyone claiming to be authentic was welcomed with open arms. Back then, we had no choice. We didn’t know any better.
Some were, indeed, authentic and good: Madrid, Alba, and Guernica’s for Spanish fare; Au Bon Vivant for French; New Europe for European; Kimpura for Japanese; Jade Garden for Chinese; and Italian Village for Italian.
Others, I realized, were way below par.
But even before Italian Village, there was 3M pizza, to me the most delicious pizza in the world.
When the hotel industry started to boom in Manila, foreign chefs came with real credentials to show their skills and share the authentic flavors of foreign cuisine. Travel became more accessible to many of us.
Then foreign-educated Filipino chefs started coming home, and foreign food franchises trickled in. The rest, as we say, is history.
High-standard cuisines have not stopped getting better with each new franchise or new foreign chef coming in. I asked a well-traveled friend why Italian cuisine could be so simple and yet most delicious?
“Pare, it’s simply the freshness and quality of the ingredients.” How right he is!
A new franchise from Japan just opened in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. It is an Italian restaurant called Salvatore Cuomo which has over a dozen branches all over Japan as well as many others in Taiwan, China, Korea, and recently its Manila outlet.
If one can satisfy the Japanese, it is certain that you’re doing something right.
Speaking of fresh ingredients, Salvatore Cuomo has taken my standard of Italian cuisine to another level. We started with Caprese con Mozzarella. This dish uses cherry tomatoes from Japan and Mozza cheese from Naples. Drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, this is the most superior tasting caprese salad I’ve had.
Tagliere di Affettati is a variety of sliced Italian meats and was also very good. I loved all the pizzas. We had the mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil and the Quattro Formaggio pizzas.
It has the best thin crust— crisp, a bit chewy, and the toppings are simply outstanding. Between the two, I loved the four-cheese.
One of the pastas, fettuccine with river shrimp and tomato cream sauce, was cooked al dente. Delicious!
The Ribeye Steak with Basil Sauce and Parmesan was also fine. The place serves a mean Tiramisu, too.
Another item that surprised me was something so unexpected in an Italian restaurant—yakitori Butabara or pork belly; Tsukune or chicken meat loaf;
Momo or chicken leg; Sasami or chicken breast; and Tebasaki or chicken wings.
There are two ways to do this—with teriyaki sauce or just with salt. I love the way the Japanese make their dishes so simple yet so delicious. I have tried both and I liked the salted version.
Salvatore also has a wide wine selection. Drinks are served in fancy glasses. The place is beautifully decorated and service is quite impressive.
This place has taken Italian cuisine to a higher level than what I was exposed to. Remember, quality of ingredients. I will go back to try its other interesting items on the menu. Check them out yourselves.
Salvatore Cuomo and Bar, G/F, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tel. 9463072, 9463073.