When in Manila and looking to unwind while savoring authentic Spanish food, no place hits the spot like Tapella at Greenbelt 5!
Tapella – which is a combination of the words “Tapas” and “Paella” – has been a go-to for foodies and families alike to enjoy unique Spanish cuisine in a casual dining atmosphere. Gaudi’s hip and more laid-back sister restaurant has recently added fourteen new and exciting dishes to their menu, all conceived by Tapella’s Executive Chef Alexandra Cacho, bringing us the newest trends in Spanish cuisine straight from her motherland.
Tapella Launches their Newest Selection of Unique and Authentic Spanish Cuisine!
We were invited to the launch of Tapella’s newly revamped menu, and I’m so excited to share with you some of the gastronomic delights my friend Wednesday and I got to chow down! Our host for the night, the very bubbly and accommodating Ms. Mich Garcia, tells us that Tapella was created to be a more relaxed counterpart of its fine-dining sister restaurant Gaudi, offering high-quality Spanish dishes at more affordable prices.
To prep us for the all-important task of eating, we first tried our hand at bartending by making our own Sangrias (a signature Spanish beverage!) taught to us by none other than Executive Chef Xandra herself!
Starting the night right with some DIY sangria! I’m so proud of my little concoction! It had just the right mix of sweet and sour with a subtle alcohol kick.
Spanish Comfort Food at Tapella
After getting our drinks ready, our gustatory trip through Spain began with classic ox tail. Ox tail is a staple in Spanish cuisine, and has seen its share of varied renditions in every Spanish restaurant in town. Rabo de Toro is Tapella’s very own version of the dish; it is succulent ox tail slow cooked in an emulsion of wine and saffron. The ox tail meat was so tender with an almost velvety texture, and the sauce was the perfect balance of the deep and aromatic flavors of red wine and herbs.
Rabo de Toro (PHP 695.00)
We then proceeded to our next course, a play of contrasts on another Spanish staple: tapas! Chef Xandra put an innovative spin on these signature Spanish entrees by creating a selection of hot and cold Tapas varieties. Their Plato de Pintxos Calientes (hot tapas) was perfect for warming up the taste buds! It consisted of calamares, chorizo, croquetas béchamel (croquettes filled with rich béchamel sauce), sobresada de quezo manchego (cured sausage topped with manchego cheese), purusalda (hot potato soup), tigres (tiger prawn), and champi (a very earthy-tasting mushroom).
Selection of 8 hot tapas (PHP 395.00)
Their Plato de Pintxos Frios (cold tapas) are a selection of refreshing vegetables and morsels that mellow out rather than overwhelm the palate. The cold tapas platter consisted of cucumber, sardines, pulpo (octopus), cojonudos (quail egg), gazpacho (cold tomato soup – you’d think soup need to be hot to be enjoyed, but its taste perfectly suits this type of temperature!), veruta, agustin, and baine.
Selection of 8 cold tapas (PHP 350.00)
Next, we were served a lovely set of organic tomatoes on a bed of Malagos cheese and caramelized walnuts. Tapella’s Tartar de Tomate was an ideal palate cleanser; it had juicy tomatoes topped with lettuce, lollorosa and shrimp, subtly flavored with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This best shows the simplicity of rustic Spanish cooking; a dish need not have many ingredients to be spectacular!
Tartar de Tomate (PHP 275.00)
We also got to try Entrepanes de Carilladas, also known as Veal cheeks stew on crusty bread. Chef Xandra shares that the Spanish are very fond of Carilladas, and says that she imports the Veal cheeks used in these sandwiches directly from Spain.
Veal Cheeks Stew on Crusty Bread (PHP 175.00)
Now let me introduce to you my most favorite meal of the night, and we’re not even at the main course yet! What I’ve found to be so amazing is the Huevos Estrellados con Chistorra, which is fried egg on fried shoe string potatoes with Basque chorizo.
Huevos Estrelladso con Chistorra (PHP 195.00)
To enjoy this dish to its fullest, mix in the fried egg with the potatoes and allow the runny yolk to seep in and coat it all. The crispy shoe string potatoes mixing in with the gooey fried egg yolk is just heavenly, and the Basque chorizo adds the perfect savory edge to it. It’s salty, savory and crispy – all you’d want in comfort food.
Chef Xandra mixes in the eggs, shoestring potatoes and Basque chorizo, an EGG-cellent way to enjoy the dish!
Another star of the night was the Fideua Negra; wheat pasta cooked in squid ink and lemons, with bite-sized chunks of squid and shrimp. The pasta was great on its own, but was made even yummier with aioli and its batter-coated cream dory topping. Creamy, rich and tangy; delectable!
Fideua Negra (PHP 600.00)
For a dish that marries the goodness of both land and sea, try the Mar y Montaña; Tapella’s rendition of the surf n’ turf. It’s a plate of grilled steaks and prawns served with French beans, carrots, zucchinis, potato gratin, and béarnaise sauce; talk about a well-balanced meal!
Mar y Montaña (PHP 795.00)
Before we had dessert, we got to try Tapella’s Pollo Pedro Ximenez: a unique chicken dish which makes use of the famed sweet dessert sherry, giving the chicken a distinct sweetness, paired with carrots, potatoes, and zucchinis.
Pollo Pedro Ximenez (PHP 295.00)
Ended the night with some amazing desserts! At the top of our list is this delightfully decadent Chocolate X, rich chocolate topped with salt and drizzled with a bit of olive oil, served on crusty bread. Soooo yummy!
Wednesday and I had the best time trying out Tapella’s latest offerings! I’d like to thank Ms. Mich for making us feel right at home this evening, as well as all the kind bloggers who’ve been such great company! It is very true that a meal is more fully enjoyed in the presence of warm friends, hearty laughter and engaging conversation. 🙂
Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5 Ayala Center, Makati
Tel. no: 757 2710