Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ilustrado Celebrates 30 years with an 8 Course Degustacion Menu

In the current food vista that  is arguably dictated by the millenial baton, it is refreshing to experience restaurants that  had been there  B.M (before millenial)

Ilustrado that famous restaurant in Intramuros , will be celebrating three decades of  food  with an 8 course Degustation Menu for the whole month of October

Curated by Chef de Patron Bernice Pimentel, the menu will feature  local ingredients and Philippine cuisine on trend.

Ordinary to Extraordinary

This years’ theme is from ordinary to extraordinary - ordinary food you would see in a weekly Filipino household menu but in haute fashion,”

“As the famous adage goes … ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” Philippine cuisine has arrived thanks to our multitude of brilliant chefs and champions bringing forward our culinary heritage and roots.” 

- Chef  de Patron Bernice Pimentel

The Ilustrado Anniversary Degustation started with...

Degustation - sampling small portions of all of a chef's signature dishes in one sitting

Kalabasa Pan de Sal – pillows of Filipino soft roll with shaved squash served with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and homemade quesong puti dip.

There is nothing like freshly baked bread hot off the oven to start the meal. What  made it more special was the spin on our much loved breakfast bread - the homely pandesal ,  a staple in any Pinoy's almusal along  with all the silogs.

Chef Bernice gave the iconic Pan de sal  from the Spanish pan de sal which  literally means  'bread of salt ' ,  a bit of  a tweak with the incorporation of kalabasa aka squash.  This perennial-on-a-diet-mom was delighted  with this. I am justified in eating two or even 3 pieces now because Im eating vegetables too right? Thanks Chef B :)

Next came the amuse bouche of Longga burger. A Boracay staple,  longganisa patty turned pintxos with atcharang dampalit and tomato jam gave us a sneak peek if you will into Chef Bernice's vision for the menu.

The cold starter was Ensaladang Talong – a mélange of grilled eggplant, onion, tomato, salted quail egg in a spicy pinakurat beurre blanc. That richness of the eggplant married well with the acidity and spiciness of the pinakurat  which gave a bit of a kick with every bite.

The hot starter, lumpiang bangus came next .  Flaked tinapa in a baked shell with a sweet, tangy mango compote whetted the appetite.

The soup was kinamias which is clear sinigang or sour broth. You have kamias clear soup, red raddish, mustard leaves. The surprise was the inclusion of squash flower which I have not tried before in a sinigang until now.

The crispy chicharon mushroom as a side dish for the sour broth  was another  new one for me. It worked well giving an interesting crunch  to an other wise regular Pinoy dish.

The first entrée was  Adobong Pusit – grilled baby squid in balsamic adobo sauce. While the presentation was beautiful , the quantity of the delicious baby squid was a bit of a let down. I know this is a degustation menu but perhaps the addition of a couple more wont hurt.

The main course  was Bulalo – seared bone marrow and beef risotto with twice-cooked angus beef shortplate and corn salsa sopresa.

Chef Bernice opted to do a deconstructed version. The risotto mixed with the rich marrow was amazing. The cubes of beef shortplate were  tender and almost melt in your mouth

The last course, Saba Con Hielo  was at once recognizable   with some unusual ingredients . Pannacotta in Saba con Hielo was a suprise. Now why didnt I think of this before? So clever!

I initially thought it was Taho.   The only thing missing are the tapioca pearls. Saba was fried so the texture was a bit gritty from the brown sugar providing an excellent contrast to the creamy panna cotta. I finished my dessert in no time and almost wanted seconds immediately.

Overall, Chef Bernice's Degustation was a mouth watering  foray into the familiar,  with creative touches  here and there. The journey from Ordinary to Extraordinary has more hits than misses and was quite enjoyable with the simple presentation.

The Kinamias or sinigang leveled up with the squash flower and the crispy mushroom on the side.

The Ensaladang Talong turned haute with  the beautiful  corona-like presentation

The everyday Bulalo we love so much transformed into something genteel  with Chef Bernice's deconstructed  version that included  a delicious risotto marrying with the marrow so scrumptiously.

Finally, the bottled  Saba con Hielo  surprised with the secret ingredient which I thought was taho.

Ordinary to Extraordinary indeed . Congratulations Chef Bernice!

The 8 course Degustation Menu will be available starting October 1 at P1400 per person.

Happy 30th Anniversary Ilustrado! What an amazing feat! Cheers to more years ahead.

Ilustrado is located at 5440 General Luna Street, Intramuros Manila. Book a table now via Zomato app or call Ilustrado at 025272345 for reservation. They are also in FB and IG.

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

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