March 11, 2017

Vamos A Comer at Sobremesa By Chef Benjo Tuason

I'm glad that I get to live in the era before and during the thrive of technology. I remember the good old times like it was yesterday when life was simple, playing with my neighbors on the street, reading stuff printed on paper, the smell of books, the summer afternoons spent playing, and of course the home-cooked meals. Do you still remember when the whole family would sit down during lunch or dinner and after finishing the meal no one gets up just yet, but spends time talking about what happened during everyone's day.  

And then, there came technology. We all meet each other for coffee, lunch or dinner but most of the time our heads are ducked down and fondling our smartphones with our fingers. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and how it has made all our lives easier. But there should always be balance to things (and life in general), right?

There are a couple restaurants nowadays that encourage you to re-live that good ol' days by serving you hearty meals and lets you catch up with loved ones; one of them is SobremesaSobremesa is a Spanish term which refers to "the time after lunch or dinner spent talking to the people you shared the meal with".  An event that we rarely get to enjoy these days because we've been all caught up of this new-age world's fast paced lifestyle. But for us countries who have the Castilian or Portuguese influence, food is an excuse to spend time together, that’s why sobremesa is as important as the actual meal.

Sobremesa is a Filipino-owned restaurant showcasing Chef Benjo Tuason's take on marrying Filipino and South American cuisines. Sobremesa dishes are Filipino & South American inspired, both cultures have their similarity in cooking techniques, ingredients and flavor. Well, after all, we were all once colonies of Spain (and Portugal). 

Sobremesa is located at the ground floor of The Sapphire Bloc, Ortigas Center. One of the rare gem among a number of restaurants where you can enjoy amazing food, great ambiance, and hearty conversations which is right smack in the city. The vibe is relax, with a handful of seating areas, and ceiling-to-floor glass walls that allows natural light to come in. 

So, vamos a comer (my well-loved and most used phrase from the little knowledge that I learned from my semester of Spanish class back in college haha!) and check out what we've tried at Sobremesa:

Shrimp Ceviche Salad - grilled shrimp, oranges, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, ginger chimichuri, citrus and jalapeno. Sobremesa shuns the use of frozen seafood, which is great and very evident with this dish. I like that it isn’t too sour like our local kilawin, this is achieved by the use of citrus instead of vinegar. And just look how colorful this salad is, if that doesn't get your appetite going, I don't know what can. 

Queso Fundido - Literally translates to "flamed cheese" or "melted cheese". This appetizer uses wonton wrappers as the chips and the dip consists of Colby Jack cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, chorizo, garlic and tequila. The dip was packed full of flavor and very creamy. Best enjoyed while still warm. 

Selection of Cured Meats - composed of Chorizo Pamplona, Salchicon, Vela De Lomo and Chorizo de Bilbao and a bunch of potato balls were thrown in there too. I'm not into sweet-tasting sausage so the Chorizo Pamplona, Salchicon, and Chorizo de Bilbao were the least of my favorites. So you guess it right, the Vela de Lomo, cured ham from the meatiest part of pig was my fave. I'm more of a ham-kind-of-a-person than a sausage-kind.

Bulalo Estofado - sweet and salty slow braised stew orange, ginger, sherry butter and kamote fries. The beef is flavorful and very tender and gives you that “fall-off-the-bone” experience. This is my favorite of all the dishes that I got to try. By the way, this Bulalo Estofado is a family recipe from Chef Benjo’s mother. I didn't get to dig in to that center bone to get dibs on the bone marrow, I was too shy, but gosh, I was dying to.

Cuban Pork Chop - comes with garlic mashed potato and caramelized onions. It was very tasty and the meat was tender. And pork chop fat is one of my favorite things in the world, especially if they're grilled. Not healthy, but oh well.

Peruvian Roast Chicken
- the chicken skin was sumptuously delicious with herbs and spices but the meat was a bit bland. Thank goodness for the 3 dips that it came with: Jalapeno, chimichurri and sour cream. In my opinion the chimichurri was the best pair for this chicken dish to be able to achieve that Latin American flavor. 

Australian Rib Eye Steak - the char-grilled meat and its well-seasoned veggies are cooked in a way that elevates the flavors to something truly pleasurable. Plus it visually looked very good. The steak tasted superb and very tender. 

Mango Cheesecake - sweet and tangy mangoes topped on Sobremesa's signature cheesecake drizzled with caramel sauce and coconut. This mango cheesecake is a fruity and delicious treat. The mango gives this cheesecake a light and soft texture and subtle tropical fruit flavor. With the added desiccated coconut sprinkled on top, this is a truly tropical dessert party for your mouth. 

Lecheroon - smooth and creamy custard mixed with the coconut gives the flan a good texture. The mixture tasted absolutely sensational. The sweetness level wasn’t too much either. Between the two desserts that we tried, this has got to be my favorite. 

Remember earlier I said that Sobremesa aims for its clients to have great conversations after a good meal, well they encourage that by providing this bird cage where you can “lock” your phone inside so that you can actually have real face-to-face conversations.

But of course, none of us did that. But sure enough we all engaged in that kind of “sobremesa” encounter. After all, how can you suppress that urge to take photos of the dishes and share them on your social media?

G/F, Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Rd, 
Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines
Contact No: 09064452559 | 09176245470

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Sobremesa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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