Monday, July 30, 2018

Of Longsilog, Dinuguan, Adobo Pandesal and Okoy @Gallery by Chele


It was a pretty interesting Wednesday evening sipping my guava mojito  while seated in one of   the  Kenneth Cobonpue chairs at the bar designed by multi-hyphenated architect-interior designer-visual artist  Carlo Calma amidst  works of art  by  both Arturo Luz and Calma, 

Arturo Luz
When one is clueless to  all those  above-mentioned famous names however, one only sees and feels  the relaxing and homey vibe Gallery by Chele exudes to  a  first time visitor such as myself.

Perhaps it was the combination of  predominantly wood theme mixed with marble and other natural materials . Or maybe it was the sprawling space and low ceiling. Could it be the  Japanese-style bar with its low slung  chairs and tables ?
Kenneth Cobonpue

Or maybe the lounge area on your left (from the entrance) with a twin set   on the opposite side by the wooden shutters  simulating  a living room making one  feel right  at home. Or maybe it is  the huge open kitchen on the right of the bar encouraging interaction and conversation with the busy chefs ... ?

No matter the perfect interior of the restaurant though, one is only as good  as the hosts themselves. In this case, it was a perfect match. Our host Chef Chele together with David (Marketing) and the whole team GC, echoed the warmth, openness and spontaneity feels of Gallery by Chele.

Amuse bouche per  Wikipedia " ... offfers a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of  cuisine"

Although there really is no amuse bouche anymore given that GC  already evolved to a more casual version of its former fine dining self,  the warm-inviting-vibe   did offer me an insight into Chef  Chele's approach to his cuisine like an amuse bouche


When I received the email invitation from Gallery by Chele, I thought Chele was pronounced as Shelle  I assumed the .Chef or owner was a lady.

Little did  I know that Chef Owner Chele is that same internationally renowned  Chef  Jose Luis "Chele" Gonzalez  of  Spain's EL BULLI   (acclaimed five times as  world's best restaurant) and  Denmark's NOMA fame ( wrestled the world's best title from El Bulli in 2010)

Married to a Pinay, Chef Chele has been in the country for several years now living like a local and absorbing all there is to know about our culture and food while travelling all over some of our 7100 islands.

"Modern cuisine using local ingredients"

Chef Chele teamed up with young and talented  Pinoy chef CARLOS VILLAFLOR  for unique cross cultural innovations. Chef Carlos' vision and love for Filipino cuisine  was the missing cog in Chef Chele's 'wheel' which serves to drive him  in his quest  to continuously learn more about our local cuisine.

He also collaborated with noted mixologist  KALEL DEMETRIO to incorporate local ingredients to well loved classic cocktails in keeping with the restaurant's main philosophy.

Modern Cuisine Using Local Ingredients

The road towards evolution from molecular gastronomy to  Modern Cuisine Using Local Ingredients took all of 4 years and 4 months. Gallery Vask was 4 years old when Chef Chele decided to finally bid adios to this concept.

Last May 2018 or 4 months after  GV closed, a more approachable and inviting version of  itself arose  from the chrysalis shedding its   old-formal-stiff-version. 

Yes they finally broke free from molecular gastronomy, opting to concentrate more on everything natural and endemic  to the Philippines  and southeast Asia. 

When before , the approach was to  conceptualize the dish and proceed to plan the ingredients from there, today it is the 'bottom-up approach'.  They find the ingredient first  that is intrinsically local, then create a dish out of it. It is indeed  a  180 degree turn from the old GV philosophy.

Just go right ahead and walk in.
No reservations needed.

Welcome to Gallery by Chele, where no reservation is needed. One can simply walk in  and chill at the bar or the lounge area  while sipping a glass of refreshing cocktail with home-made ingredients all made from scratch using  local ingredients by Mixologist Extraordinaire KALEL.

Dont want to have dinner and just want to chill with drinks and bites? Go ahead. You are welcome here.

The whole 5th floor of Clipp Building is solely by Gallery by Chele.   The approximately 450 sq m space is divided into 4 areas -- a) Gallery by Chele  the restaurant

b) Studio Lab /R&D /Chef's Table

c) Function Room and d) Balcony or Open area which they plan to convert into an urban farm while doubling as an open function area for parties. The view from here is amazing.



While waiting at the bar for the rest of the  foodies, we were served their guava mojito, their blinis , tomato mochi , meringue de sal and  steamed brioche.

Every ingredient is made from scratch.  Home-made pink guava liqueur. Bamboo straw. mint  and smoked tarragon. Drink was refreshing with bitter-sweet taste.

Tomato Mochi P260
This was a fun starter I would  not mind  sinking  my teeth into again. I loved how soft and chewy the mochi was plus the surprise of a filling inside that tasted cheesy and silky like burata.  
I loved the yin and yang of its flavor. Its both sweet and savory at the same time and paired well with my guava mojito

Blinis P295
Inspired by  the Russian  blinis and caviar ,  the use of  rice cake infused with pig's blood gave it a local twist. Think puto and dinuguan in one bite with  the  fermented cream and salmon roe giving it that much needed acidity same as in our very own dinuguan.

Brioche Bun P395

My first though was  small siopaos? But no. They were actually steamed French Brioche with  beef , banana blossom and pinakurat mayo reminiscent of our very own humba but more on the savory rather than on the sweet side. I tasted anise and some other herbs. It has some kind of mousse or emulsion on top which was creamy and served to balance the richness of the humba-like  filling. Brioche was so soft and fluffy.

Meringue de Sal P160 (5 pcs)
This was an intriguing dish. They looked like two pieces of white macarons without feet with creamy filling inside. I tasted sweet from the meringue and creamy-salty-soy-chicken from the filling. Think adobo pandesal but using meringue in lieu of our local sweet bread and mousse version of our well-loved local dish. It worked for me. The  sweet and the savory was well balanced.  I loved how whimsical and fun it was.

Black Crisp P200

Not even in your wildest dreams would you think that this dish is reminiscent of our very own okoy. But it was. Perhaps it was the black crisp which did not look crisp at all given that it was really so black and glistening. What was remarkable was that it was really crisp like our ukoy and tasted of the sea. There was uni, corn and celery mouse on top.   You take the whole thing in one bite and you will be amazed that it really tasted like okoy.

Breakfast P200

Believe it or not that delicate morsel in the pic with edible cadena de amor on top  is longsilog. The bowl is crispy rice. The filling is longganisa . On top of that is quail egg garnished with cadena de amor. You take it in one bite and you taste the longganisa, egg and sinangag. What a delightful bite it was!

Moringa Brioche P380

Moringa is malunggay in local parlance. I loved that the brioche is tinged green with moringa or malunggay .  I tasted the bulalo  or bone marrow filling. It paired well with the moringa brioche , making the bread moist and flavorful,  This is a dish special to Chef Chele's heart because the   glutinous  colorful corn used  is endemic to the Philippines specifically in Bukidnon. 

Empanaditas P250
I tasted the tuna, green chilis and emulsion reminiscent of tuna sisig. It was a simple dish with a bit of a kick which I really liked.

Whiskey Sour

Home-made pomelo , celery and green tea liqueur incorporated with bourbon.  It paired well with the 8 bites above. For those who shun alcohol, Gallery by Chele also makes non-alcoholic drinks from scratch


Tiger's Milk P395
This was an off-menu item Chef Chele wanted us to taste that night.  He loved our Kilawin so much he elevated it to a more complex flavor using local ingredients such as calamansi, kamias, kasuy, oysters and cilantro oil

Ube Chawanmushi P295
Purple Yam-Custard-Tinapa Dashi
Chawanmushi literally  "steamed in a tea bowl"  is a savory egg custard dish in Japan, per wikipedia . In keeping with  the restaurant's main philosophy, Chef Chele tweaks this classic dish with the use of local ingredients like ube and tinapa. The aroma of smoked tinapa was strong and pervaded over the whole dish

8-10  P590
Everyday local vegetables like  egg plant,  onion , garlic,  green chili  and red pepper  were roasted  and mashed to create the yellow sauce. Fresh octopus was boiled and grilled then garnished with pickled shallots and cilantro oil for fresh finish. 

Why 8-10? Of course I had to ask right?Per David, the name is sort of  a pun on the octopus.
8 because octo and 10 from tentacles. Cute haha


The red dragon fruit gives Periwinkle its red violet color.  Per Jeremy (head bartender), this drink is gin- based infused in lemon grass lemon peel and lipote. Lipote is a lesser known fruit that is endemic to the Philippines specifically in Quezon province. It is sour and sweet and accounts say it lowers blood pressure. The other ingredients in the drink include  pineapple juice, taragon syrup, lemon juice,etc. It was sweet and refreshing and paired well with the 3 starters and Silly Too Na.


Silly Too Na P750
Tuna belly- Malunggay Pesto - Red Wine Cherry

A pun on tuna, the name of the dish gives a clue as to how playful this dish is.This type of dish is dependent on the freshness of the ingredients so Im quite happy that the tuna was fresh and cooked perfectly.   Since the tuna was subtly flavored , it married well with the malunggay pesto and red wine cherry tomatoes with ricotta. Yum!

Cochinito P620

This dish was good as well but was my least favorite among all dishes that night because my pork was a bit on the dry side on some parts. But the parts where it was juicy and tender? It was spot on. I loved how the sweetness and pungent aroma of the jackfruit subtly perfumes the pork


A La Parilla  
Snake River Farms Wagyu Ribcap  Unaged P1950/100 grams
Certified USDA Angus Striploin Aged 2 weeks  P950/100 grams

Charcoal grilled steak- Organic Vegetables -Mashed sweet potato

We were served  beautiful IN HOUSE DRY AGED MEATS.  Yes, Gallery by Chele have their own Aging Chiller   in their Studio Lab ,  an R&D space where team Gallery by Chele develop new  menu ideas. 

Melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu and striploin  grilled a perfect medium rare with organic fresh vegetables and sweet potato were scrumptious !

Meet Lucy.  Lucy is the restaurant's  Josper  Charcoal and wood fire grill.  No wonder our steak had that beautiful crust and lovely smoky flavor.

Chateau Tire Pe Diem 
Bordeaux 100% Merlot

The dish was paired with Chateau Tire Pe Diem a French wine- bourdeaux 100% merlot . It was buoyant and fruity on the palate and paired well with the  meaty and succulent wagyu and striploin.


Unfortunately, I had to leave before dessert. So I am left with regret for missing both of these desserts Thank you @boyeatworld for the dessert photos :)

Degustation Options

3 course menu P1,500
5 course menu P1,950
9 course tasting P2,950

Please check their website for more details .


Indeed Gallery by Chele, pulled out all the stops to make the experience fun, whimsical and inviting.

But despite my enjoyment and pleasure , I was also all too aware, amazed and in awe at the hard work,   creativity and passion that so obviously went into each dish that was served to us that night.

The creative energy was palpable from the beautiful open bar to the team of  chefs working in sync in the open kitchen. It seemed to me that Chef Chele and his team were always in a huddle , conferring and  checking that everything was in perfect order.

The embodiment of passion that night however ,  was Chef Chele himself . Like our solar system,  Chef Chele was the sun to the  team of  Gallery by Chele. One can not help but be mesmerized by those hand gestures, the rapid staccato way of explaining each dish in thick Spanish accent and the dynamic and intense  energy emanating from this man.  His enthusiasm was so infectious, I cant help but feel all excited myself as well.

The main philosophy of using local ingredients  was   reflected in all the  8 bites, 2 starters , 3 mains 3 desserts and cocktail drinks  that were served that night. Every ingredient was home-made and endemic to the Philippines or Southeast Asia.

It was a night that was truly memorable for this foodie mom. Indeed  the  warmth-approachable-vibe that was the 'amuse bouche'  resonated in the food which were all familiar yet remarkably different at the same time.

Gallery by Chele's interpretation of  our much-loved and iconic longsilog (breakfast ), puto't dinuguan (black blinis), okoy (black crisps), kilawin (tiger's milk), siopao (brioche bun) are pretty hard to forget. My heart swells with joy at how Chef Chele pays homage to his adopted country the Philippines,  by honoring our classic cuisines.

Truly Gallery by Chele deserves a visit from all of us.

On the practical side, it does not hurt that given the quality of the ingredients and the pedigree of the Chef Owners, the price point are really kind on the pocket.

Definitely returning with the piggery in tow.

Fan-girling with Chef Jose Luis" Chele" Gonzalez

Gallery by Chele is located at the Fifth Floor Clipp Center 11th Avenue corner 39th Street Bonifacio Global City. They are open from 5pm Tuesday-Saturdays. No reservations  needed.

Dinner with other foodies @boyeatworldph, @talesfromthetummy @eatsearlybiiirdmnl @marylovesiy @dinoeats @soulfood @foodislifeph


Gallery by Chele Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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