Chinese New Year has just passed, but really, there’s no need for special occasions to enjoy these new dishes.
Milanesa de Pollo from La Cabrera
The Argentine restaurant La Cabrera may be known for its steaks and side dishes, but its off-the-menu items are also worth ordering. There’s the 500-g crossbred wagyu skirt, the 400-g super prime rib-eye, and Milanesa de Pollo, a chicken dish that is a lighter yet equally savory item compared to La Cabrera’s heavier fare.
The chicken is breaded, then fried, and, as an interesting departure from the classic, topped with ham, tomato and cheese, then broiled until toppings are melted.
La Cabrera: G/F 6750 Ayala Ave., Makati; 2/F, Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Pasig
Strawberry Shortcake from Cara Mia
Though many pastry shops and home-based brands offer Strawberry Shortcake, Cara Mia’s version trumps most of them. This was released just last week, following the huge success of its ube cake last year.
Fresh strawberries from Baguio and Benguet are mixed with whipped cream, tucked in between layers of light chiffon cake, then generously topped with more strawberry slices. Since the owners don’t want to use frozen and imported strawberries, this cake will have a limited run, most likely until April, the tail end of the strawberry season.
Available in all Cara Mia Cakes and Gelato branches; visit caramia.ph.
8 Treasures Chicken from Pepita’s Kitchen
Dedet dela Fuente built her brand Pepita’s Kitchen on stuffed roasted pigs. But on the heels of its success is her line of stuffed roasted chickens. She started by releasing one filled with bread, butter and foie gras. Then it was followed by truffle stuffing.
For Chinese New Year, she introduces her latest creation, the 8 Treasures Chicken, which is filled with glutinous rice, chestnuts, Chinese ham, salted egg, cashew nuts, Chinese sausage, dates and mushrooms. It also comes with gravy made with the chicken’s drippings.
Pepita’s Kitchen, tel. 4254605, 0917-8660662
Sinigang Burrito from Tadeo Filipino Mexican Comfort Food
There’s a lot to love in Tadeo Filipino Mexican Comfort Food—from the sisig tacos and elote with calamansi sour cream to the layered beef nachos and tilapia rebosado tacos.
But the standout is the sinigang burrito, which many people come back for. Honey and patis-glazed crispy pork, eggplant, tomato, kangkong and rice cooked in sinigang broth are wrapped tightly in a tortilla and served with a spicy dipping sauce.
At the helm of this fusion restaurant are Chino Cayetano and Jorge Mendez, who have appetizingly married Filipino and Mexican cuisines.
Tadeo Filipino Mexican Comfort Food, 85 Sct. Fuentebella corner Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Boba and Mochi Guinataan from Friends and Family
Friends and Family, a restaurant in Bonifacio Global City, gives a nod to Filipino food of yesteryears as well as all-time favorites including crispy ukoy, birthday party spaghetti, chicken binakol, sizzling bulalo steak.
But the menu doesn’t stop there. Perhaps only a few regulars know that its desserts are also creative spin to the classics. Take for example the ube champorado or the leche flan turon with chocnut sauce.
The latest to join this mix is the guinataang mochi bilo-bilo with boba sago and kamote crisp. It’s a fun and pleasing take on the popular Pinoy snack.
Friends and Family, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Sugpo sa Talangka from Bench Café
Famous retail brand Bench has successfully crossed over to the food industry with the opening of Bench Café early last year.
It has added a branch in Makati, where diners are said to be enjoying sisig lettuce cups, crispy lumpia cones, and Bench/To boxes.
Great news as Bench Café expands the menu to include sinigang sa mansanas and crispy butterfly tilapia.
Of the lot, the sugpo sa talangka, or grilled prawns smothered with aligue mayonnaise, leaves an impressive mark. It’s rich and best eaten with a cup or two of rice.
Bench Cafe, 2/F, Bench Boutique BGC Flagship Store, 9th Ave. corner Lane O, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig; 2/F, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati
Grilled Octopus from Savage
Chef Josh Boutwood has introduced new grilled dishes at Savage. There’s a vegetarian dish in the form of grilled eggplants with sesame and miso; stracciatella cheese with olive oil and capers served with bread; as well as a good-for-sharing side skirt steak with heirloom tomatoes.
But the grilled octopus takes the cake as the charred crispy parts, when eaten with the shiso and a squeeze of calamansi, will make you sit back and sigh with satisfaction.
Savage, G/F, The Plaza, Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Taguig
Mango Float from Manila Creamery
“We’re about modernizing desserts,” says owner Jason Go, who runs Manila Creamery with business partner Paolo Reyes. “When researching for the Mango Float, we had to think of ways on how to elevate familiar flavors. We chose to infuse the household favorite with elements of pandan and cookie butter to keep things interesting.”
The result is a refreshing snack that pairs sweet mangoes from Guimaras with mango milk gelato, pandan whipped cream, cookie butter caramel, and Graham cracker crumbs.
Manila Creamery, 3/F, SM Megamall, Ortigas; 2/F, Ayala Malls Vertis North; 3/F, UP Town Center, Katipunan, Quezon City; and ATC Corporate Center, Alabang.
Char Siu Grilled Chicken from Sup? Chow
Sup? Chow restaurant makes a very strong case for modern Asian cuisine. Thanks to chef Francis Lim’s ingenuity, his hot and sour laksa, mapo tofu wontons and tan tan misua give a fresh and more satisfying take on their traditional counterparts. Its new rice bowl is one more fine example.
Barbecue chicken is marinated in signature char siu paste made of fermented bean curd and red yeast rice, twice-cooked, then grilled for a smoky flavor profile, and served with toasted sesame rice, sambal bokchoy, pickles and braised soft egg.
Sup? Chow, 2/F Antel Corporate Center, Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati
Machoco from La Royale Patisserie
Putting a most welcome green tea spin to the popular chocolate cake in a can is La Royale Patisserie’s Machoco.
Acknowledging how the subtle bitterness of matcha marries well the sweetness of chocolate, chef Ed Mateo layers matcha cake, cream cheese, chocolate ganache, caramel, his own matcha spread, and a dusting of cocoa powder in one tin can. The result is a rich and indulgent dessert that plays with varying complementing textures. –CONTRIBUTED
La Royale Patisserie, tel. 0935-0860515