Alqueria: A Taste of Spain in Manila
I’m Chinese-Spanish and I grew up in a family with diverse cuisine. My grandpa makes paella every time there are family reunions and it was always a hit. From then on, I have always wondered what authentic Spanish cooking tasted like.
Alqueria, located at the heart of SM Megamall: Mega Fashion Hall, is the first venture into Spanish cuisine by actor-restaurateur Marvin Agustin and partners Ricky Laudico and Raymund Magdaluyo under the Sumo Sam Group of Restaurants. Additions to these businessmen are celebrity partners Liz Uy, Mylene Dizon, Agot Isidro and Charo Santos who equally love Spanish cuisine.
Some ingredients used for Alqueria’s food are displayed right in front of the kitchen and because the kitchen is open and set up like a bar, you can see how your food is prepared.
Vamos A Comer! (Let’s Eat!)
What’s a Spanish meal without Sangria? Alqueria’s Sangria is mixed with lemon and apple, just the way traditional Sangria is served.
Tabla de Jamon en Queso
For starters, we had the Tabla de Jamon en Queso which, like the name entails, has Spanish ham, chorizo, and cheese on it.
The ham and chorizo are very smokey and a bit salty while the cheese is very rich and creamy. They blend perfectly well together and give a peek of what Alqueria has in store for their customers.
Bacalao a la Vizcaina or Salted Cod in Tomato Sauce
Cod or Bakalaw in Filipino is rare in the Philippines, but is always present in Spanish restaurants. Though the sauce is very rich, I ate only a small amount of this because it tasted really, err, fishy.
The Seafood Paella at Alquiera is to die for. It is overflowing with shrimp, squid, mussels, clams and fish. The rice itself is very rich in aroma and is perfect when eaten with the seafood.
The specialty of Alqueria is the Cochinillo, an oven-baked young (21-day old) suckling pig that is served whole and is chopped into pieces using a ceramic plate showing how tender and crispy it is.
For many, the star of dinner was the Cochinillo, but for me it was the Churros.
Served hot and with chocolate imported from Spain, this is truly the perfect ending to a wonderful dinner. They can also serve the Churros with different dips: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate.
The overall experience at Alqueria is very good and is perfect for Sunday lunches with friends or family. The best dishes for sharing would be the Paella and Conchinillo, both of which are sure to turn into new favourites for everyone.
3F Mega Fashion Hall, Megamall, EDSA cor Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City
Tel. No. 631-91-02