When in Manila, and you want an authentic Italian deli experience, why not try that new place at Ortigas called Esprimere Italian Deli?
Esprimere Italian Deli is one of the relatively new establishments at the Ortigas area (specifically at Pearl Plaza) and it seems like it has the staying power. Since its opening last January, Esprimere has given the Ortigas locals a place where they can find authentic Italian food and wine.
Its decorations and settings give you an authentic feel of a true Italian deli. On the walls, you can see wine bottles as well as other items for sale. On the display case, you would see an assortment of cheese, drinks, and cold cuts. They have a ‘pay-as-you-order’ system, and if you are not sure what you want at that time, the person at the counter would gladly help or suggest you with some of their fine Italian delicacies.
The Making of Esprimere
During the interview with the business partners, the group mentioned that it took around 6 months for them to build up with this concept for Esprimere Italian Deli. They told us that the word Esprimere is an Italian verb, meaning ‘to express’. As for the location, the group admits that they just stumbled at the place ‘by chance’ and saw it as a nice area wherein the deli now stands. As for Esprimere Italian Deli‘s menu, they said that they had help from a chef named ‘Francesco’ to craft the food that they serve in the deli. As far as their ingredients go, the meats, wines and most of the items are imported from Italy (all except the vegetables which are locally obtained).
Esprimere Italian Deli: The Food
Prociutto y Mozzarella Salad
The salad was the first dish served at the table. The prociutto ham/mozzarella combination worked well with the rest of the salad’s ingredients. For the ham, it was soft, tender, and has that smoked ham taste. The mozzarella was always a welcomed treat for this writer. The balsamic vinegar added an extra touch that would make this salad a must-eat for salad lovers out there.
The Pasta: The pasta at Esprimere Italian Deli can be served with the following variations: spaghetti, fettucine, angel hair, fussilli, penne, and farfale.
This one had a mix of anchovies, parmesan, and roasted garlic. Garlic lovers would like to take a bite out of this, especially with how the garlic was roasted. As for the pasta itself, the combination of anchovies, parmesan, and garlic did pretty good. The highlight of this pasta, however, would really be the garlic.
Carbonara (w/ Panchetta)
What makes Esprimere Italian Deli uphold it’s authentic Italian style is their method of making carbonara. Most of us would assume that carbonara comes with a thick sauce, but in this place, it does not (Author’s disclaimer: Except when you want to make a special request for it). The carbonara in Esprimere comes with a Pancetta (Italian bacon) which we found delightful to eat alongside the carbonara itself.
The Gorgonzola Pasta, complete with a thick cream base
The additional order of prociutto ham
This pasta dish featured a gorgonzola-based sauce. The pasta sauce can let you identify the distinct, yet creamy, gorgonzola taste of this dish. If you like gorgonzola cheese, this is a recommended pasta order for you. While it doesn’t usually come with ham, the additional order of prociutto ham for this pasta was an added bonus.
Prochetta Mozzarella Ravioli w/ Pomodoro Sauce
This ravioli dish had a nice texture and taste. The tomato sauce may be ‘too salty’ for some people, but it is still a ‘must try’ for all the ravioli lovers out there.
The Pizzas: Esprimere also has a wonderful selection of pizzas in their menu. These pizzas are baked inside a traditional brick oven. The pizzas were made from scratch as they use their own flour and make pizza dough, and are in thin crust form. Just like the pasta, Esprimere Italian Deli used the authentic Italian formula for making pizzas.
This pizza consists of the classic Pizza Napoli ingredients of mozzarella, tomatoes, capers and anchovies. The way the anchovies and capers were put into the pizza made it an equal balance in taste. The Pizza Napoli is one of Esprimere Italian Deli’s top selling pizzas.
Bianco e Verde
Bianco e Verde is a pizza with three types of cheese (gorgonzola, parmesan, and mozzarella) and basil. The three cheeses blend perfectly in this pizza. The basil leaves also add a fresh taste into the greenish complexion of the pizza. For me, this was my favorite. Mrs. Noelle, one of the owners of the deli, is also fond of this pizza as well. This pizza is a must try for anyone who would enter Esprimere, especially if you’re a pizza lover.
The menu of Esprimere Italian Deli features couple of items under the ‘roast platter’ section. The porketta (‘roast pork) is one of the said platters. This roast pork platter has a side dish of potatoes and salad. The pork was roasted to perfection as the piece of meat would give a soft texture, while you can still feel the crispiness of the skin. The side dishes are good enough to go with the pork platter as well.
Aside from Italian food, Esprimere also has some Italian beverages. During the course of the dinner, the table was served with three different drinks to compliment our dining experience at the deli.
The first drink served was called a Spritzzoso. Mr. MJ Aujero, one of the business partners of the deli, mentioned to us that this was one popular drink among the yuppies in Italy.
A bottle of Donelli wine was the next drink that we drank. This wine had a sweet taste to it. This bottle was served midway as the platters of food started to enter our tables one-by-one. At Esprimere Italian Deli, the wine bottles are usually the ones that most customers order for their drink. In most cases, if the customers don’t enter Esprimere for the food, they’d usually go for the wine.
The final drink given to us at Esprimere was the Limoncello – Petrone, which was served in shot glasses. They served this a few minutes before we had to leave the establishment.
The experience at Esprimere Italian Deli was delightful. For me, eating at Esprimere was enjoyable since I love eating pizza, pasta and other Italian dishes. Mark Will, my friend who invited me to join in this adventure, also had a blast at Esprimere Italian Deli (especially with the drinks). I’m sure that I’ll be back here next time for the area itself brings back wonderful memories for me. As a pizza lover, I’m guaranteeing you that I’ll pay this place another visit, sooner than later. To anyone who loves pizza, pasta, or even wine, you should definitely try Esprimere Italian Deli.
When in Manila, and you’re craving for something Italian, Esprimere Italian Deli is the place for you. It has a good lineup from wine, pizzas, pastas, and even sandwiches. I guarantee you that your visit to this deli won’t be in vain.
Photo credits go to Joanne Tan for providing this review with some lovely shots of the deli and the food. Special thanks to the business partners of Esprimere Italian Deli; JM and Noelle Aujero, Jewel Yang and Jet Mathay, for inviting us.
ESPRIMERE ITALIAN DELI
Address: 8101 Pearl Plaza, Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Contact Details: (02) 544-5963
Business Hours: 10am-11pm (Monday-Saturday/closed on Sundays)
Esprimere Deli Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Esprimere
WhenInManila photos by JoTan23
Esprimere Italian Deli – Where You Can Experience Authentic Italian Food and Wine