When often asked about my take on fusion food, I always fail them with an answer I'm not a fan, but it pays to experiment on trying it out once in a while.
Perhaps it's the thing with the rigors of preparing contemporary dishes add to that the techniques that have been used for us diners never to delve in to. I could never pull off a deconstructed something in the kitchen or even froth my own milk for a home-made cappuccino.
In spite of those, I do believe that cross-cultural culinary mash-ups have come a long way from the wagyu burgers and matcha shakes of decades past.
For some it may be a taboo but for adventure-foodies like me, it's always a welcome scene. And I'm more than glad to share you Alqueria's Spanish-Asian cuisine.
The bespoke Spanish menu curated for Alqueria Tapas, Paella y Bistecas was well-approved of by many returning clients. But after a few years of catering to them, they have observed they needed to tap the millennials, the younger generations.
Read about their traditional Spanish offering here.
Thus with the careful kitchen leadership of Chef Sonny Mariano, they went on thinking outside the box. Chef Sonny dubbed as a History Maker in Unilever Philippines’ Most Number of Tapa
Recipes in 1 Day is also recognized as one of Five Most Promising Chefs in Manila (F&B Report Magazine, Jul-Aug 2015 issue). Having won gold for Tapas and Finger Food in the recent Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) 2016 in Singapore, I didn't hesitated trying out their new fusion dishes.
Spanish dishes deserve some makeovers with the help of molecular gastronomy.
As soon as I arrived in the resto, my fellow foodies have started taking pictures of the appetizers. The one that caught my attention was the lovely green and white plate where three beautiful pieces of Callos were laid. It's a bite-sized pastry cup filled with chopped tripe, chorizo and chickpeas. The bubbly topping is called lime air. The savory meat flavor is given a fresh accent of citrus hint.
Next to it was the same leaf-pattern plate in yellow which carried Chorizo Croquetas. The balled goodness is lightly coated with ground breadcrumbs and inside are insanely tender bits of chorizo on a bed of thickened pomodoro.
From among the number of tapas I was able to try on that meal, the Black and Claw have stolen a piece of my heart. It will intimidate you at first with a claw protruded on every lightly crusted croquetta. But when you slice into it, a black filling will slowly come into the open. When eaten, a burst of sea flavors from squid ink will envelop your palate and followed with yet another subtly salty notes from the ebiko. The garlicky and tangy sauce that is served with it complements the crab meat and fat, that also makes up the dish.
Taking the meal up a notch is the distinguishing taste of Souhteast Asian cuisine. Who would have thought of having bold take on tofu can be a part of a Spanish menu.
Their own-made tofu is again covered with a crunchy sheet, the fairly huge cut of tofu is flavored with sauteed shallots, shrimp and chorizo bits, seasoned with loads of hoisin sauce.
The appetizers were already a meal itself, I could have all day to try all their tapas paired with Spanish wines.
However, their menu is more than tapas. One of my favorite soup in Alqueria had undergone a bit of a change as well - the Fabada, white bean stew. I just wished they could still serve it the traditional way, on a cazuela. a clay pot.
Another soup was served to us and it's deconstructed soup, Sopa de Ajo. Because they want to deliver something unique, manchego cheese is added to the bowl. Having known Manchego as part of tapas, this was really interesting. The lovely mix of toasted garlic, wild mushrooms and the fresh egg yolk simmer away as the broth is poured, is just an amazing experience.
Alqueria is known to serve good paellas, and it was to my surprise to finally get a taste of the black paella, but of course having in mind the revamped version. This time fresh salmon dresses up the squid ink blackened rice. What's more is that the Salmon Al Neri were strewn with nori, migas, roasted peppers, and calamansi aioli.
Another type of Paella that's worth trying is the Green Curry Paella. I know, green curry?
Chef Sonny is a genius, together with his crew (RnD), coming up with a dish which marry both Asian taste and Spanish tradition only shows there is more to Alqueria this time. With this paella variety, it speaks more laudibly.
This paellera boasts of ingredients such as chicken, prawn, lemongrass and Greek yogurt.
For the mains, you can either pair your paellas with beef or chicken. A well-marinated Beef Belly grilled to perfection is one. I love the berry reduction sauce it is served with.
The Pollo is a play of texture, flavor and health, something I would always gravitate on to when feeding my hungry pack. An explotion of flavor from the garlic, spinach and paprika, capped with shoestring potatoes.
If there is something for meat-lovers, there must be something for those anti-meat gourmands such as the Truffled Mushroom Tostadas. It's a trio of mushrooms on whole wheat tostada laced lightly with truffle oil and topped with fresh cilantro.
Dessert was equally impeccable.
This beautiful bowl of sweets is expected to rouse you and entice you, an artsy bowl that will leave you wanting for more of it.
Frio Y Caliente (P 328), a definite show-stopper is a terrarium of candied fruits, miso caramel, crumbled banana cake. The chef himself shows up and gives it to you,
62% hot chocolate mousse...
The most beautiful dessert I have ever seen right before my eyes ready to be savored.
Having different kinds of dessert, you'd feel you're in dessert oasis with your table filled with colorful and enticing sweets to tickle your palate.
Alqueria's version of Flan is the WCGT Custard, flavored so differently with green tea, white chocolate and ornated with juicy mini strawberries...
Speaking of modernity even in your dessert plate, a contemporary take on Canonigo will definitely leave a mark, not only to its target market - the young ones, but also the "young once."
This plate, so whimsical, has everything new to it. Begin with the ground caramel, different flavored jams, fruits and the lovely meringue.
Alqueria is still in soft opening with their new rolls of fusion dishes, so give them the opportunity to serve you their kitchen masterpieces. They know what their doing and its their business to bring you comforting lux food that satisfy your cravings either for Spanish or Spanish Asian dishes.
ALQUERIA RESTUARANTE Y CHOCOLATERIA
Address: 3rd Flr. Mega Fashion Hall,
SM Megamall, Ortigas,