Another random day led us to One Bonifacio High Street Mall for a new food adventure. Five in the afternoon was a rather odd time to visit a restaurant for a light snack, but our spirits were already ignited by the mouthwatering Instagram photos we’ve been seeing of this new restaurant lately: La Picara.
La Picara is a Spanish term typically addressed to a woman who is naughty and cheeky, but witty at the same time. Manager Felipe Diaz de Miranda candidly shared that the name was chosen because it reflects the personality of the restaurant partners. Being their first food business venture, they envisioned a playful yet elegant place that serves great modern Spanish dishes with a twist.
As I stepped inside the premises, my gut told me I would be in for a real treat!
The interior design is impressive! It radiates a colorful, vibrant and festive ambiance coupled with a subdued elegance.
I started off with a glass of wine from their happy hour list priced at Php190. I picked the only white wine option on the menu, which coincidentally is my favorite Chardonnay.
As I take my first few sips, I hurriedly checked the food menu because I was very intrigued by how modern their dishes could be. Days before the visit, I saw an Instagram post of their Beef Cheek Siomai, which piqued my interest (but it sadly was not available when I dined there). I glanced at their other offerings and saw a Spanish classic dish with kimchi! How is that possible?!
The mindblowing list goes on, and I became even more excited for our orders.
While waiting, they gave us complimentary Patatas Bravas as part of their soft opening. Priced at Php290 for the regular oder, it was so good that I asked for a second serving. Luckily, they generously granted my request! What I tasted are crispy and starchy potatoes with a creamy aioli and salsa bravo – simply irresistible!
Our Kimchi Croquetas (Php340) were served after that. With salmon sashimi on top, this dish is pure heaven. It is crispy on the outside, and very scrumptious and creamy in the inside. The kimchi is not overpowering at all, giving the right amount of heat in every bite. I never imagined that this Korean and Japanese-inspired dish would work well with Spanish food. How innovative!
Next was the Bone Marrow Meloso (Php460). Meloso is a rice dish similar to Italian risotto. Literally meaning mellowed or honeyed, the texture of the rice should be between dry (like paella) and soupy (like arroz caldo). The finished product is a velvety, starchy, and rich dish with its taste mainly coming from the broth used in the cooking. I honestly don’t know what La Picara put in their recipe, but it is simply bursting with delectable flavors! Paired with the buttery bone marrow, this is one deadly sinful dish worth taking the risk for.
Our last order was another inventive dish called the Socarrat Roll (Php360). Socarrat is the crusty toasted (tutong) part of the paella and is known to be the most delicious part. Some people would fight to get a portion of this! How La Picara managed to scrape out the Socarrat from the sticky Paellera and form it into an even crepe-like roll remains a mystery to me. All I know is that it takes impressive skills to pull off a dish like this.
I honestly had an aversion of fusion-themed restaurants in the past because I felt that they stretch the boundaries of a person’s culinary creativity too far. Ironically, I adore this restaurant so much that before I left, I already made a reservation for eight people sometime for the third week of June.
I think the strength of this restaurant lies in the superb cooking techniques combined with the high quality ingredients. The quirkiness of the dishes comes secondary as it only gives more more character and depth to the already outstanding Spanish food that they create. The conscious effort of integrating an Asian touch is therefore just the icing on the cake or rather the socarrat of the paella!
Hoping to taste more of their exciting creations such as the Beef Tartare with Risotto Cake (Php590), Adobo Croquetas (Php340), Sisig Pibil Tacos (Php290), and Chili Crab Paella (Php890).
Level 2, One Bonifacio High Street Mall High Street, corner, 5th Ave, Taguig