Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tasty Sensations at Flavours by Chef Fham


Visiting NY's hole in the wall cafes, particularly in Brooklyn, is one thing I would certainly add in my long-listed bucket list.  Cozy cafes and restos reflecting the old-school look complete with red brick walls co-mixed with contemporary furnishings and, ahh, with glorious food in the foreground.
Though one thing's for sure, it may cost me a lot to pursue such a foodie/wanderlust's whim.

But will you believe me if I tell you that I have lit upon this venue which can be found in the fringe of Tomas Morato?  A two-year old building called Pos Building is a home for foodie gems yet to be unearthed.  Walls all sheathed with red bricks and flanked with bars, cafes and restaurants that serve a miscellany of cuisines.

One space stood up for me though, from a number of food purveyors in the building-it's Flavours by Chef Fham.  People getting off the third floor hardly notice the cafe bar which stands to be just as you get off the elevator.  I felt really bad for those people not giving them a try, for Chef Fham's creations are like contemporary masterpieces that not everyone gets to indulge with.

Although, one's initial reaction to brick walls may be “cold,” behind those walls are kitchen's made warm by the cooks who passionately meet your needs for good comforting food, like that of Flavours.  Also, don't get intimidated by the rustic Brooklyn (NY) vibe, Flavours is as casual as can be dining place where you can chat with Chef Fham herself after she delivers your food from the menu.

A couple of nights ago was a fare share of palatable blessings with notable food reviewers, Gerry of Dude for Food and the couple Jill and Oliver of The Food Scout.

Let me indulge your screens with the food that we tried.

For our starter, we had a bowl of Tomato Soup.


Tomato Soup (P 150)

I suppose it's up to the eater whether this soup is a close-enough facsimile of the original dish which American homes would consume on cold days, though I can guarantee that you won't regret getting a bowl because it's delicious.  You can really taste the freshness of the tomato as real tomatoes and it sure is better than the commercial ones which contains - you know, some amount of lead.

What sets this one apart from other tomato soups out there is the use of chickpeas (garbanzos) instead of using carrots.  Not only it does the thickening trick to the soup base, it also balances the acidity from the tomatoes. Also, the classic uses sour cream, Chef Fham uses creme fraiche.  Creme fraiche is basically a mixture of heavy cream and buttermilk, so it doesn't make it sour rather a hint of milkiness and creaminess.

Comforting is more than apt for it.


Top It Fries! (P 160)

As the name implies, Flavours did really topped it off.  Hand-cut potatoes fried to a crisp, indulged with with pork strips, pepper gravy, cheese sauce and chilies.  This is their version of the Canadian Poutine.

The pork toppings were actually prepared ala Salpicao. It has the right garlicky flavor and the hint of cheese everytime you take a bite of everything. Like poutine, it's meant to be eaten altogether having a mix of tastes in one bite.  So, I guess we can say that this is a mash of Canadian and Spanish cooking, and quite a brilliant one.


Baked Bangus (P 230)

The idea of a baked bangus belly smothered in melted cheese sounded very intriguing, more so being served with a cup of rice, grilled veggies and pickled mushrooms.  Now, if there is a dish more beguiling than that, please do introduce me to that dish.  But before you do, let me introduce my newest tasty discovery, something I want to cook myself at home and have my family try.  Flavours' Bangus Belly is a huge slice of boneless bangus belly topped with cheese and parsley. The layered fish adorns the oven and as the cheese melts it clings right into the fish' crevices.  

Before I finish describing the whole plate, can I just say how much I love cheese and boneless bangus belly!  These always goes to my grocery list every time. So it's not anymore a question how I can easily love this dish. What's more is that it's made more healthy, with the addition of grilled onions and tomatoes, and wait, this time you're not going to have a serving of atchara with your fish. Would you like to try something uniquely new?  How about pickled mushroom?  I bet that's something you wish you could try.  I love how the vinegar works with the button mushroom, without making it overly done (meant, making it too soft or soggy).  All these tied up so well with plain rice, surprisingly.


Ben's Egg and Longanisa (P 210)

Part of the all-day breakfast offering is a rendition of Eggs Benedict, only it deemed the use of ham or bacon, instead she used her Mom's recipe of Longaniza. This brings me to note that all their meat preserves are made in their own kitchen, from the longaniza, sausages, bacon to the corned beef. Also, I want to stress out, all their dishes are made from scratch, no short cuts and definitely no flavour additives.  So what you get are healthy dishes bursting with natural good taste and richness.


Whether it's a hearty brunch or a filling lunch or dinner, Flavours can sure whip up something for what ever you might be craving for.  


Mom's Mechado (P 250)

Chef Fham have proven to be inventive enough, seeing the menu and trying out some of them. However, what can a skilled chef like her not do?  I guess nothing.  To prove that, she included classic dishes like the Fish and Chips and everyone's fiesta favorite, Mom's Mechado.  

You can really get a hint of how her mom's influence was in her cooking.  Maybe, it's one of her favored comfort dish growing up, or may have been always the star of their celebration table. 

Made by stewing meat in a tangy tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots, their beef mechado serve with plain rice is making diners come back. The slow cooking method makes it irresistibly flavorful and the meat so tender and soft to the bite. 


Kebab Burger (P 210)

We all were so amused of hybrid food creations, which exploded like a bomb last year.  Some of the craziest inventions are croughnuts or cronuts (croissant and doughnuts), brookie (brownie and cookie) and ramen burgers. Though the trend kinda dwindled a little, people are still expectant of what's to come out next.  Thus, here it is - Kebab Burger.  

It's when you use the grilled beef (un-skewered, of course) with garlic mayo sauce, clad it with slices of cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce as a filling for a half-sliced bun. Walah! 
It's one of Chef's husband's fave, though admittingly, he likes everything his wife makes in the kitchen. The aioli makes it taste like an authentic Mediterranean dish.  According to them, they learned the sauce from a friend of Chef's father in Saudi Arabia.  


Sausage Ragu Pasta (P 195)

Another classic-with-a-twist is the linguine with sausage ragu.  This classic Italian meat sauce is dandied up with their home-made sausage.  Though I wasn't too crazy about it, it did catch my fancy for true Italian sauce, loaded with chunky veggies, including tomatoes and with the perfect sauce viscosity that's clingy to the pasta and not runny.  Also, the Parmesan cheese randomly interspersed does not only make it Instagramable, it balances with the tanginess of the sauce.



Mint Nutella Honey Toast (P 150)

Nothing beats a good home-cooked inspired meal. But ending it sweetly can make it dreamy. Flavours have lined up different versions of the Japanese-inspired Honey Toasts.  Unlike their counterpart, theirs are made more buttery and egg-y, though,without the greasy mouth-feel. This is another of their selling point, the brioche, the kind of bread used for this decadence of a dessert. 

The three of us hastily took shots at every angle of the Mint Nutella Honey. Coz' it's that drop-dead gorgeous look of the plate only foodies, food-photographers can comprehend.  We made sure that capturing it would only take each of us a matter of seconds, so we can still get to eat the mint ice cream without sogging-out the brioche.  But it didn't matter to us anymore.  As the ice cream melted into the dark chocolate ganache and Nutella mixture, the bread remained crunchy on the outside and still airy on the inside.  Oh and I can't get over with the act of dipping the fork-bits of the brioche to the chocolate mix, with the added crunch from the nuts, it's just insanely delish.  I can't wait to try other versions such as the Vanilla Almond, Choco Banana, White Peanut Butter, Banoffie and PB & J.  Uhh!  I can't wait to flood my IG with them.


If you happen to be in Tomas Morato, do drop by and be listed amongst those who testify the quality and Flavour-ful goodness of every dishes that were lovingly prepared by Chef Fham Sarmiento. This is actually Antz and Chef Fham's baby, so, I too can attest that you can have a gourmet-type of meal any time of the day without burning a whole in your pocket.





Address:  3rd Fl POS Building, Sct. Madrinan
        cor. Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City

Contact Details: 5876486












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