Occasionally, a restaurant will come out leaning toward a certain cuisine, but not necessarily concentrating on a specific country. I just conclude that the owners/chefs are simply foodies.
They travel, explore, and whatever is good to them, they experiment, create and serve. It’s either a duplication of the foreign dish or an interpretation of it. Many times, in an attempt to duplicate a dish, they come out with something different, and a new dish is born.
I like restaurants like these. An example is A Taste of L.A. by Elaine and Jonet Galvez. What Elaine thinks is good, she creates a version of it, then voila, it’s on her menu.
Another is Vanderlust, which has an inclination toward Italian, but with German and French desserts.
Hidden in a side street in the Tomas Morato area in Quezon City is La Spezia, whose owners are two young guys with culinary-school backgrounds and kitchen experience abroad.
When I first went there, I was happily surprised to try a delicious burrata (fresh cow’s milk cheese) perfectly prepared.
The second time, we started with a Polpo Speziato, seared Palawan octopus with paprika oil and potatoes on the side. The Pasta Tartuffo made with black truffles, cream, almonds and extra virgin olive oil is a must.
The first main course was Pesto Di Sgombro or local tanguigue, pesto, pickled onions, radish and cucumber. The tanguigue steak might sound simple, but it was finely cooked and topped with a well-made pesto sauce.
Then came the Braciole Di Agnello Scottate or seared lamb chops with arugula and white bean salad. The chops were splendidly cooked—best eaten with your fingers.
For dessert, we ended with a Uovo e Pene or playful lemon tart. Also very good. Many times, the names of dishes sound impressive, but the taste do not live up to them. But at La Spezia, they do.
La Spezia, 90 Dr. Lazcano St., Quezon City; tel. 9606903, 0917-3178992
Japan food tour with Sandy Daza: Hokkaido: July 3-8; Fukuoka/Hiroshima/Osaka: Oct. 20-25, Nov. 20-25; Korea: Nov. 4-9; Hokkaido: Dec. 4-9. E-mail [email protected]