October 8, 2018

Degustation Menu for Ilustrado Restaurant - Intramuros' 29th Anniversary

Being someone who’s a self-proclaimed old-world romanticist, I just love places that transports me back to olden times when and where life was simpler and places that stirs up my imagination because of the opulent history behind it. One of the places in the Philippines where I can get that fix is Intramuros. I’ve been here a couple of times and it always makes me feel nostalgic and proud of my heritage as a Filipino with a rich antiquity and background.

Intramuros is a Latin word which means “within the walls". It is a 0.67 square kilometers historic walled area within the modern city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Intramuros is also called the Walled City, and at the time of the Spanish Colonial Period was synonymous to the City of Manila. It was the seat of government and political power when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire. It was also the center of religion, education and economy. The standard way of life in Intramuros became the standard way of life throughout the Philippines. 

Intramuros, particularly the Fort Santiago, was designated as a National Historical Landmark in 1951. The Intramuros Administration, created through Presidential Decree No. 1616 that was signed on April 10, 1979, is tasked to rebuild, redevelop, administer and preserve remaining buildings, structures and fortifications of Intramuros. San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, is located within Intramuros.

Besides the majestic old world cathedrals and structures that you can tour here, Intramuros is also filled with places where you can fulfill your foodie adventures. One of the well-known places where you can indulge in Spanish Filipino cuisine is at Ilustrado Restaurant. Ilustrado is Spanish term for "erudite" or "learned" or "enlightened ones". Ilustrados constituted the Filipino educated class during the Spanish colonial period in the late 19th century. They were the middle class who were educated in Spanish and exposed to Spanish liberal and European nationalist ideals.

Since 1989, Ilustrado Restaurant has been building a reputation for excellent cuisine and impeccable service -- offering world-class Spanish Filipino and Global cuisines in an authentically charming old-world setting. Whenever in Manila, both local and foreign visitors find it is an indispensable stop for an experience of the country’s best features – warm hospitality, wonderful food and beautiful culture.

In the tradition of distinction founded by their parents Rose and Boni Pimentel, Beatrice and Chef Bernice who now lead the restaurant are bringing Ilustrado to the next generation with refreshed passion for Asian flavors blended beautifully with modern classics. Together with Ilustrado’s all-time bestsellers, the menu now also offers fresh selections worthy of the Ilustrado signature.

The Ilustrado Restaurant offers a variety of venues and function rooms for special events and corporate meetings. What’s more, we offer a complete Catering Service package to bring the Ilustrado signature entertaining to your special events.


To mark its 29th year anniversary, Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila is offering an 8-course Degustation Menu for the whole month of October. Created by Chef de Patron Bernice Pimentel, the Degustation menu utilizes local cuisine and ingredients in an up-to-date fashion. “This year, 2019 marks the third year that we have been doing an anniversary degustation and this year, I am not only bringing forth our culinary heritage to the present but also incorporating much more local ingredients,” explains Chef Bernice. “My almost three year old nephew is in a "bahay kubo" sing-song stage and I can say that the vegetables in the song followed me everywhere making its way into our degustation menu.”

I was one of the fortunate foodies who got to experience this special Degustation menu that will be available for everyone to enjoy for the whole month of October. What’s included on this 29th Anniversary Degustation menu? Read on.

Kangkong Pesto Brioche - this was served with Boursin cheese. Most unique breads you see and eat nowadays are usually made with Malunggay but this one is with kangkong mixed with pesto. It was so soft and airy, and feels like they are clouds of wonder. It was warm and tasty and with the Boursin cheese, man oh man it was so heavenly! I can see myself eating this for hours on end!

Kesong  Puti  Croquettes  At  Lato - kesong  puti  croquettes, fresh  lato  (sea  grapes), baby  Mesclun, salsa  verde  aioli. Kesong puti essentially has a very subtle salty flavor to it, but adding the lato which is quite salty gave it a flavor boost (I usually describe it as “lasang dagat” because its taste really reminds me of the sea or salt water). The texture in here is awesome especially when you bite into the crusted kesong puti, and the lato bits pops and its salty filling oozes, it’s surely a party in your mouth!

Oyster Laing  Rockefeller - Aklan oyster, chili, coconut, dried taro, Reggiano, panko, lemon. I don’t know about you but I find this a unique dish. Hello, who would have thought oyster Rockefeller with laing would taste so good. The laing itself was super good, one of the best laing I’ve tasted!

Sayote  Egg  Drop  Soup - sayote (chayote), quail egg, crostini. This was something to warm our bellies up to get ready for the main dishes. It had the delicate sweet sayote flavor and the fresh quail egg, when you mix it with the soup forms a creamy and hearty concoction. 

Burong Mangga Sorbet - this was served just before our first main dish to cleanse the palate. To be honest, I’m not fond of anything binuro or fermented, but this one, this one! Man it was sooooo good, I joked Chef Bernice if I can have a cup of it! It was tangy and you can definitely taste the green mango flavor as if you’re biting into a slice of it. It was garnished with a little bit of sweet red amaranth.

BBQ  Pulled  Pork  Tostadas - slow-cooked  pork, Filipino-style  BBQ  marinade, refried  monggo  (mung  beans), papaya  slaw, fried  tortilla. A hearty bite and super flavorful. Don’t be disappointed with its size because the pork portion is thick and will easily make you feeling full. 

Sea  Bass  Sinantol - Chilean Sea Bass fillet, sinantol fried rice, arugula. Sinantolan or ginataang santol is a Filipino dish wherein minced cotton fruit (also known as santol) is cooked in coconut cream. Here Chef Bernice made a unique twist that imparts a ‘santol’ flavor to the rice. It wasn’t sour but it gave the usually plain white steamed rice a flavor that it needed. It was perfect with the, seared then baked, milky Sea Bass fish meat. 

Egg  Pie  Brulee - bruleed  egg  tart, rose  crème  Chantilly, strawberry, green  grapes, mango, edible  sweet pea flowers. This was a truly sweet ending that is a beautifully plated. This egg pie is patterned after the Portuguese egg tart as per Chef Bernice. I love the crunchy caramelized sugar topping on this just right sweet egg pie. I love the sweet fruits added onto here so are the rose  crème  Chantilly and the sweet pea flowers. 

I just love everything about this experience. First because I got to visit Intramuros again. Second the place is lovely, just like any other preserved old Castillian structure. Third how we got to know and interacted with Chef Bernice Pimentel and the rest of her staff. Service was awesome by the way. And of course the food. 
I rarely eat fine dining as I am someone who wants to eat a lot, but once in a while, it’s just super nice to do it. I loved how our phasing was just right as we moved on from one dish to another. The portions were also just right, not overwhelming nor lacking. Lastly, from the first dish to the dessert, all were so good and each gave me a unique experience. I can say this is one of those dining experiences that I truly enjoyed from start to finish, like 150 percent!

By the way, this Degustation menu will only be available for the month of October. Diners have a choice to order the whole 8-course menu or choose only select dishes. Each dish is priced separately and the whole menu is at P1,250 plus 10 percent service charge. For that price, I’d say it’s worth every penny. I highly recommend you guys try it!

To know more offerings and other details visit Ilustrado at 744 General Luna Road, Intramuros, Manila or contact them through the details that I’ve written below.

744 Calle Real del Palacio (Gen. Luna), 
Intramuros, Manila
Contact Nos: +632 5273674, +63939 9206822
Email: catering@ilustradorestaurant.com.ph
Website: www.ilustradorestaurant.com.ph

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 

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