Despite rather challenging weather conditions, The Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Degustateurs of the Chaine des Rotisseurs held its July event at the newly opened Gallery by Chele. Formerly Vask, the Gallery has combined the outlets of Vask into a larger and more conventional restaurant space occupying the former Champagne lounge and old Gallery.
Chef Chele Gonzalez still runs the place and his love for the Philippines and his insistence on using local ingredients is very much evident in the menu.
Although it was a dinner paired with wine, the welcome drink was a refreshing, but quite substantial, mango and guava mojito.
Chele’s menu consists of many small plates, each one good for 2 or 3 bites. This allows you to try many techniques and ingredients showcased by the chef. The is the way it is in the regular menu, as well as the menu our group tried. This was an all seafood degustation to showcase the rich variety of seafood available.
We first had a couple of what he calls Bites: Just pop the whole thing in your mouth. Among these were the Black Crisp – a thin black wafer with dots of uni mousse, corn, and celery, Empanaditas filled with fish and green chilies and an Ube chawan mushi which is flavored with a tinapa dashi.
The main meal started with rather powerful cured mackerel strips in a mushroom and kombu broth called Cure Me.
One of my favorite dishes followed next. This was called Bana-Lu, and is a lobster cooked on banana leaf, topped with eggplant jus and charred okra.
A 500 year old Spanish recipe was used for the next dish called, appropriately enough, 500. This was fish in an onion, lemon, and spices soup, with a paste of almond and raisin called majada.
Another favorite was the next dish called Fired! Pulpo. This is what he calls a Spanish-Filipino interpretation of the octopus, with chicken jus and pickled papaya.
The last dish before dessert was one that Chele was particularly proud of. Called Tear Drop, the description says cheeks, grilled sibujing, on top of Job’s Tears risotto, with Jamon Iberio and leeks. He doesn’t tell you what animal the cheeks came from, but it’s tuna made to taste like beef. Job’s Tears are a type of barley called adlai locally.
Lastly, we had an excellent dessert of Ube Torrija (Spanish version of French Toast) with a beautiful coconut ice cream. The original dish features a langka ice cream which is also outstanding.
Congratulations to the Gallery by Chele team for a great dinner!
Gallery by Chele is located at the 5/F, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue Corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Tel 2183895, 09175461673