There is much to be excited about in a city that continues to spur unique restaurant concepts, attract foreign franchises, and invigorate the food scene with evolving menus. Fortunately, we live in one. Below are highly recommended specialties from new players. Southeast Asian Buffet 2/F, Ascott, 28th St. cor. 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; tel. 8609888
Every quarter, Alta in Ascott Bonifacio Global City transforms its lunch spread. From upscale Pinoy to festive Western and Spanish, chef Jorge Mendez has given regular diners reason to keep returning.
The comforting flavors of Southeast Asia are the current highlight. Soups vary per day.
There’s laksa (Malaysia); mohinga (Myanmar); khao poon (Laos); tom kha gai (Thai); and soto ayam (Indonesia) on rotation.
The carving station has roast beef sambal and succulent, delicious Balinese pork ribs.
Starters include traditional apps, and for dessert, street food favorites like banana
fritters (Thai) and ondeh-ondeh (Indonesia).
Reasonably priced at less than P1,000 per head, this hotel buffet is worth considering.
Jonny Kui, who was trained in respected Parisian pastry shops, has come up with a slew of desserts that taste as elegant as they look.
The Antoinette, his latest offering, resembles a crown and
is made with pate brisee, almond dacquoise, yuzu gelée, vanilla mousse and fresh strawberries.
Lengua Tostada Black Sheep, 2230 Chino Roces Ave., UPRC1 Bldg., Makati; tel. 0927-7837038
Black Sheep may not be on everyone’s radar, but chef Patrick Go has been dishing out childhood-inspired hits like the Truffled Kropek (tapioca chips with leek ash) and Two Na (spicy tuna, grapes and chicken liver lodged in a steamed cake).
Every month he adds at least three new items on his menu. Recently there was smoked pork on lettuce, a chunk of succulent pork belly with seasoned rice on a lettuce; and sambal shrimp bun, shrimps slathered with Szechuan sambal aioli and sandwiched in a sweetish milk bun.
My hands-down favorite is lengua tostada, tender pork tongue seasoned with hoisin and chili, sitting on a crisp-fried Chinese pancake and covered with grated Parmesan. It illustrates Go’s talent and exciting future. Avocado Milk Ice Cream Freezer Burn, G/F, Q3, 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; tel. 0977-3572191
Freezer Burn’s ice cream menu is akin to a boy band —each member is unique and has its own following.
There’s cheese and corn, maple bacon, salted egg custard, ketchup and mayo, and cookies and junk food.
But of the lot, highly recommended is the Avocado Milk. It’s familiar and unmistakable, it celebrates the season, and it’s just gloriously good.
On limited run, this variant may be a safe choice next to the playful others but it’s sure to satisfy and deliver. Mackerel The Girl + The Bull, Grand Midori Bldg., Bolanos St., Legazpi Village, Makati; tel. 0926-0380965
Thea de Rivera and Gab Bustos, a.k.a. The Girl + The Bull, have relaunched the brand with a new look and a medley of Korean-inspireddishes.
“It is something that’s very close to my heart,” says Bustos of the cuisine. “My best friend since second grade is Korean, and I grew up with his mother’s amazing cooking.”
This interesting turn resulted in a selection of tasty banchan (appetizers) such as ube chips with caramel, doenjang-smothered baby corn, and
shiitake mushrooms with raw quail egg and tare.
The entrees are equally impressive, but it was the ponzu-marinated and grilled salt-cured mackerel that delighted me the most.
Completing the delicious dish are buttermilk infused with kombu and emulsified like beurre blanc, and herbs dressed in lemon oil and yuzu juice.—CONTRIBUTED