I was able to have a nice conversation with some of the chef owners of Tapeo, namely, Chef Joy, Chef Mon and Chef Day. However, one question remained untackled, what Tapeo means. Thanks to the good ol' trusty web dictionary, I found out that tapeo actually refers to the act of going to tapas bars. As in, "Tara na, Tapeo na!" (Let's go, go to the tapas bars!)
That afternoon proved to be one of the best snack I had in years. Not only did I drag some friends on this out-take, I learned few about wines and pairings as well. Do read on to know more why.
Warning, this might see the end of the siesta!
Tapas, much like siestas and flamenco-dancing is an archetypal Spanish tradition. As an added info, know that tapas is not a type of food, you know, the ones we would have with fried rice and topped with egg, as in Tap-Si-Log (TAPa, SInangag or fried rice, itLOG). It's more of the Spaniards eating habit. Tapas are snacks served in bite-sized portions like canapés or finger food that originated in Spain. It can come in cold samplings like open-sandwiches or in hot meat or seafood in mini clay dish.
In Tapeo, apart from the ala-carte menu with Raciones- their plated meals from a budget of P175 to P380, you can opt to have the Platos Combinados, which are a platter of sorts. What even great deal is that they offer an open tapas bar, where in you can have different types of Tapas to your heart's content for a reasonable price tag of P400 for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and P450 on Wednesday,Friday and Saturdays.
Before I go expose my not so big appetite for that wonderful afternoon, let me give a few notes about how the place had taken a shine on me. Though the place was not that big, it exudes a cozy ambiance and encourages one to go around, mingle and go back and forth to the kitchen counter and plan out your next plate.
The rustic, laid-back feel of the place gives out a hint that indeed the concept is innately Basque, yet with modern touch. I'm not so familiar with Spanish architecture or style, but judging by the Monday chef's taste and immersion to the culture, I say they did a great job, renovating what used to be a commercial bank. They didn't really put much work on furnishings like comfy chairs, but I guess that is the whole idea. You are supposed to be there to enjoy a well-spent time gorging with tapas and Spanish dishes while drowning your thirst with one of the town's best Sangria with your friends.
These are for sale, btw.
Together with my couple friends, Merna and Chef Didier (the Exec. Pastry Chef of Raffles and Fairmonts Makati), we just had to take our photos at this partly intriguing corner of the bar.
Speaking of wines, Tapeo carries quite an amazing collection of Old World wines, including the one we got, the Emina Passion 2009 which is from Spain. Wines being categorized under old world or new world basically infers to the origin of the wine, the "terroir" or the type of soil used to plant the fruits pressed for the selected wine. According to wine connoisseurs or "someliers," there is a difference in the aroma and taste of the old world and the new world wines. Chef Day reiterated that wines coming from France, Italy and Spain are Old World wines.
Honestly, wine sampling had never been this serious, well I'm only used to drinking Sparkling white wines only and cheapo red wines from Italy so I still could not appreciate the art of wine-drinking. That is also one reason why I had to bring my French friend and his wife here so I can get a few points from them. So this is the bottle they chose for us to partake.
Now. let me go to the deets of my business - food and glorious
Tapas on the rise...
The whole idea the Tapeo people want to bring across the foodie scene is that the Filipino's inkling for "turo-turo" (point-point) is embraced here. The different tapas are all laid out on the counter, you can either go there and choose your plates among the Pinchos, Montados, Croquetas and Empanadas or just order from the menu.
Pinchos are open-faced sandwiches on sliced baguettes, topped with hams, vegetables, etc, all screwed with toothpicks. In a typical Tapas bar in Spain, the number of accumulated toothpicks on ones plate denotes the amount that's to be billed to the customers.
So here are what I had for the mid-afternoon snack at Tapeo.
Galli Village Cafe, Tapeo's is a bit steep on its price. At Galli's you can order a paellera that serves two to three people for P 255 or a bigger one serving four to five pax for P 495. Per contra, one notable aspect of this dish though is that it claims to be authentic traditional Paella. Like what Chef Day always says, their recipes are their pride and joy, since these recipes have come from their ancestors, handed over from one generation to the other. And having immersed and brought up with Spanish cooking, they can pat themselves on the back on that.
I was so busy chit-chatting, so I forgot to choose my Tapas, but the staff of Tapeo have just been so obliging for choosing for me and bringing it to our table. Also, I need to remind myself to take note of the name of our wait-staff, but I think all their staff are courteous and very efficient, they are always on a look out if we still have enough water on our glasses and that the wines are ever present on our glasses. On my plate were Tortilla de Patatas - Spanish Potato Omelet, croquettas topped with aioli, and crave-worthy empanadas. Let me stress out that the empanada I had has very light and thin crust, but it doesn't break apart. Also, it was not oily since it is baked and the filling was very savory and not watery, unlike other empanadas. So I guess, I found my perfect empanada here! However, when I re-read the menu from an online menu source, it said that it's supposed to be served with romesco sauce, but I can't seem to recall if I had the chance dipping it to something. Still, I like it!
Merna with her sweet-tooth had her eyes on these churros. The Spain's doughnut, so they say, is top-notched with a mere price of P145, served with Spanish Chocolate. A trip to the Fort for this is so worth-it, no Spanish-claiming restaurant should not miss this on their menu. Tapeo's version is slightly different from the ones I've tried. For one their's is shaped like a log. I like their version in the manner that though it's chunkier, it was still managed to be cooked with a distinct crunchiness at every bite and at the same time a light interior with slight softness at the center.
And lastly, the owners didn't allow us to leave the comforts of their Tapas zone without trying their much-raved about sangria. Many would attest that their Sangria's, in red and white, are one of the best. But for the novice me, it's more of a thirst-quencher. A summer and spring in one sip, with of course the fruity, herby and spicy kick all in one and the yeah, the alcohol that makes you skip a heartbeat and fixed for the party.
One last recommendation though is that you call them if you are coming and reserve your seats, especially when visiting after working hours.
My interview with Chef Day, didn't end with notes about Tapas and wine pairings. It was also one of those rare moments when you see true passion in one's capabilities and even disabilities, while realizing that ones drive and positive mind-set can lift anyone above the narrow, cramping circumstances of life. Amongst his accomplishments are the books that he was able to write with Chef Mon, The Malungay Book which has two volumes already and some others. The books are also being sold at Tapeo. Also, with another restaurant on their helm at Sta. Cruz, Laguna, which I am so aching to visit (thanks to Chef Day's unwavering posting of food photos from Ted's restaurant, btw).
Read my blog about their Malunggay book HERE.
While you are at it, care to also read my 7-day Malunggay challenge which was inspired by the Malunggay book HERE.
The Fort Strip
Address: G/F The Fort Strip, 7th Ave cor 28th St
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Contact numbers: (02) 556-2668