Ever since COVID-19 restrictions have loosened up, people have been finding comfort and some sense of normalcy in eating out. Restaurant dining is once again in fashion and, in many cases, more aggressively than before, consequently birthing the term “revenge eating out.” We are social animals, after all, and socializing over good food is in our system.
Restaurants in the metro are now breathing a sigh of relief as they have been enjoying sales similar to prepandemic 2019. They’re keeping the momentum by rolling out new menu items so customers will have more reasons to come back.
Smoked meats is something chef Jacq Tan and her team at Apero have been experimenting on for a good while now. They want to offer something familiar yet original, something that can be had daily. That search led them to doing smoked chicken.
“Chicken is something many Filipinos like. Ours is not Texan that’s very charred,” says Tan. “It’s slightly smoked. And then it’s grilled before serving. We experimented with different kinds of wood. We went with the local sampaloc.”
All their smoked meats come with two roasted leeks dinner roll, 21-day pickled pepper and two original sauces—dill-cucumber yogurt and the CCC barbecue (cherry-cocoa-cognac).
After developing that item, everything else followed, says Tan. There’s pork belly and beef brisket brined for 24 hours then slow smoked for 10. Plus there’s a bevy of not-so-heavy numbers you can nibble on, ranging from eat-with-your-hands burnt butter corn rib with spiced salt and duck fat fries and sweet squash fritters, to the heavier alternatives such as buckwheat noodle salad and the Lyonnaise multigrain rice pilaf, made with black, red and brown rice, and adlai.
Smoking isn’t actually new to Apero. They used to have smoked duck and smoked tomatoes that went with burrata. But they haven’t maximized the usage of their smoker; that’s why coming up with this repertoire makes total sense.
Located at the Corinthian Hills Clubhouse on Temple Drive, near White Plains in Quezon City, the Apero Pitstop food truck has been operating since March. It’s open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays (except Monday), with happy hour until 10 p.m., on Friday and Saturday. Their refreshing cocktails have you covered.
This isn’t the first time beloved Spanish joint Bar Pintxos offered a breakfast menu. They launched a desayuno (Spanish for breakfast) line two months ago in their Salcedo branch, serving items that were leaning more toward the local cuisine, with numbers such as a salpicao silog. They decided to revisit this particular menu and reinforce the Spanish branding by relaunching a new and improved one just last week.
The menu is predominantly composed of two major categories—the bocadillo and arroz, or bread and rice.
The former are open-faced sandwiches traditionally made with baguettes that have been cut lengthwise. They use a softer dough in the form of brioche that has been dusted with sugar. The sweetness balances the variety of savory toppings: bacalao with honey and caviar, smoked salmon with quail egg, jamon Serrano and tortilla de patatas with yolk sauce, and my favorite, the matrimonyo, which has anchovies, boquerones and pickled peppers, the collective saltiness of which complements the sweetish vessel it sits on.
There are six arroz dishes to choose from, and while they all differ from each other in terms of flavor profile, they all come with brown rice, organic eggs and a cup of coffee.
The proteins—such as gambas, beef tenderloin and yakiniku—are all very familiar, except for the butifarra sausage, which is perhaps the most foreign of the lot. What it is is a type of Spanish sausage that is pretty mellow in flavor, especially when compared to punchier ones such as chistorra and chorizo Bilbao.
The desayuno menu is available on weekends at 8 a.m.-11 a.m. But do inquire about it after that window because, according to co-owner Carlo Lorenzana, if they have it, they will serve it. INQ