Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Valentines at Ilustrado

Looking to celebrate Heart's Day somewhere intimate and away from the usual suspects in the mall? Look no further. A  carefully selected  5 course Valentine meal awaits you and your significant other at  this iconic restaurant with the Spanish  Colonial Period theme. Established in 1989,  Ilustrado's 30 year history speaks volumes about the quality of  food and service they have here.

Privileged to have shared a meal with Ms. Bea  one of two daughters who is now at the helm of Ilustrado. While Ms. Bea handles the operation, Chef Bernice takes care of  conceptualization, execution and everything related to food.

Why Ilustrado?

Ms. Bea shares that her parents considered a few names including "Indio" apart from "Ilustrado"

ILUSTRADO is evocative of  the  more than 300 years Spanish occupation which gave rise to  an elite group which constituted the Filipino educated class. They were the middle class who were schooled in Spanish and exposed to Spanish liberal and European nationalist ideals.

ILUSTRADO meaning "erudite'',  "learned" or the "enlightened one" refers  to the Filipino literate class during that period. Mostly classified under the derogatory term ''Indio"', Filipinos  who had the means were able to rise above the slur and make something of themselves. Think Jose Rizal, Antonio Luna,  Graciano Lopez Jaena, to name a few

Valentine Menu

For the day of hearts, Ilustrado offers a 5 course meal that can be enjoyed over lunch or dinner from February 11 tot 17

The amuse bouche is Beet and Goat Cheese Arancini . Savor the sugar beets, goat cheesee , tarragon pesto and arborio rice.  Note the red rice in keeping with the Valentines theme.

There are 3 appetizers to choose from

Mushroom Duo with  truffle oil, 
shitake and cremini mushrooms aka baby bella or baby portobello mushrooms
heavy cream in puff pastry with mesclun

The dish looked small but what it lacked in size , it more than made up for in flavor. Thoroughly enjoyed the minced mushrooms. It went well with puff pastry and different crisp greens

Jamon and Melon
Serrano Ham , cantaloupe, honeydew , watermelon
evoo, minnt, lemon and balasamic glaze

Amazing reds and peaches contrasted with the verdant green from the mint leaves, made this dish  not only a feast for the eyes but  for the palate as well

Salmon Mille-Feuille with smoked salmon
pickled cucumber, capsicum, arugula, fried wonton with dill seasame dressing

An Asian Mille-feuille, the chef made use of fried wonton in lieu of puff pastry. I love smoked salmon so this was easily a winner for me. I quite enjoyed the crunchiness of the wonton. All flavors came together in one bite. I shall order this again

Soup is Roasted Tomato with chistorra, tomatoes, chistorra La Reina sausage, heavy  cream and mozzarella. Chistorra is a type of fast-cure sausage from Aragon, the Basque Country and Navarre Spain it is made of minced pork  or a mixture of minced pork and beef encased in either lamb tripe or plastic and has a fat content between 70 & 80% (Wikipedia)

Cucumber Melon Sorbet

Deconstructed Beef Wellington
US Beef  tenderloin, mushroom duxelle Fried enoki and creamy basil polenta
Beef was cooked a perfect medium rare. The slices were tender and flavorful. The puff pastry provided the medium to capture all the juices from the US Beef tenderloin. Fried enoki gave us the crunch while the polenta provided the creaminess.

duxelle- finely chopped mixture of mushrooms or mushroom stems, onions or shallots, herbs such as thyme or parsley and  black pepper sauteed in butter and reduced to a paste

polenta - cornmeal used in italian cooking; a pasate or dough made from cornmeal which is boiled and typically fried andbaked

demi glaze - half glae - rich brown sauce inn French cuisine used by itself or a s abase for other sauces. the term comes from the French word glace, which used in reference to a sauce means ïcing"or 'glaze"


The presentation was a feast for the eyes.  The vegetables were a kaleidoscope of colors , shapes and textures. The barramundi was fresh and flaky . Do not forget to squeeze some lemon all over the fish. Take some vegetables , poached apple, cauliflower with your barramundi in one mouthful. You will be amazed how balanced the flavors and textures were.

Ribs of Lamb
Braised lamb ribs,vegetable couscous, mint jelly aioli, au jus

Fall-off-the-bone , tender and moist,  the  ribs of lamb were to die for

Dessert is either Chocolate Fantasy, this entremet is all about chocolate starting with Malagos dark chocolate mousse, chocolate ooze, chocolate ganache, chocolate cake, coffee syrup and walnuts

Berry Babarois of strawberry Bavarian, sabayon, puff pastry , passion fruit and chocolate

P1980 + 10% sc  per person for the 5 course meal and is available for ala carte lunch and dinner from February  11 to 17. A musical duo will serenade guests for dinner on the 14th where the Valentine special will be offered exclusvely as a set.

Thank you for having us Ms. Bea and Ms. Tess and for the invite @johnbunag

Ilustrado Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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