It has been more than two years since I visited one of Chef Vince’s food creative hubs. Last 2011, I was still starting my food blogs, I was so fortunate to be one of the few invited blogger guest to get the first taste of RED GARLIC’s Menu. This was at the time when RED Garlic Restaurant was about to open the first branch in Katipunan.
The second one was in CRAVE Bistro at Rada Street in Makati. The thing a bout tasting good dishes created by master chefs like Chef Vince Rodriguez, is you unconsciously elevate your tasting preference to a much higher standard and anything less, becomes unacceptable. Somehow, these dishes become the new standard of taste.
After several reviews of other food creations of respectable chefs, I was again fortunate to be included to get to taste the food of PEPPER MILL, the newest of Chef Vince food sanctuary located at katipunan.
Actually, PEPPER MILL. For those who knows Chef Vince is not as new because it is also the name of his Catering food service that brought Chef Vince food masterpieces in the top of mind when it comes to food catering. As usual, the food that were served was brought out one at a time, to make sure that all of us were able to get good photos and savored its flavorful taste. Some of the food were chef vince’s signature.
For starters, we were served with the Shrimp Popcorn. Served in a cocktail glass, the Shrimp Popcorn in soaked in Chef’s signature marinate sauce fried to tender crisp. You might want to order a second serving because this one really tastes very good.
Another good starters would be the Chili Taco Poppers. It’s a kind of a taco roll with Ilocos chili pepper mixed with Mexican spiced beef with Jabanero dough soaked in a garlic sauce dip. For some who are not used to hot dishes, I think this one can be negligible. I like hot spicy foods but sometimes, too hot spoils the taste and flavor of the dish. But this one is okay.
For people who like to start with greens and veggies, you might want to try the Hanoi Salad. It is normally presented in a very creative plating with Ice lettuce on the first level then Lolo Rosa on the second then followed by layer of Pomelo chunk-bits and crispy adobo flakes on top. Around it are bits of chopped onions, Saigon sweet chili battered with a special mix of vinaigrette.
Before getting into the main course, I was able to get the privilege of ordering one of the newest drink collection of chef Vince. The Mixology. These are mix of cocktail drinks with a fusion of greens and healthy herbs juices and a bit of kick of booze to add character to the mix.
After the salad, one can go straight to Japanese inspired rice-rolls. Two popular dishes are the Rainbow and Fire Crackers. The first is a smoked salmon fish tempura with cream cheese and mango salsa cucumber. The second one is your typical California roll with US scallops shrimp and kani.
Next is a pasta that is quite exceptional, because it happens to be Kris Aquino’s favorite dish in the house. It’s the Vigan pasta. A composition of which are Vigan longganisa with Sundried Tomato, Artichoke, (it was the first time I tasted one) sprinkled with olives and Spaghettini sauced in Olive oil.
Of course, good pasta is better partnered with a good pizza. Chef Vince made a special treat for us to have a one serving of pizza of the best three flavors. These are Cinco de Mayo, a cheese over load of Mozzarella, cheddar, Fontina and Cream Cheese with Padano. The second one is an Ilocos Bagnet inspired mix that includes Eggplant Casserole, Bagoong Relish, Scarmbled Egg and Mozzarella Cheese. The third type is practically the green pizza. It is called Torre del Greco. Ingredients are: Arrabiata, Rock Shrimp, Sundried Tomato, Arugula, Mozzarella Cheese and Anchovies.
The next serving was course for the meat lovers. To start off, our dear chef served the Steak Roulade. It’s a mouth watering dish of Angus Rib-Eye Steak, rolled to strips of fresh asparagus sauté in butter, with Peppermill Mashed potato in Red Wine sauce.
For those who love fish, Salomon in particular, you might want to try the Norway dish. It is an Encrusted Norwegian Salmon, Sprinkled with Sesame and Nori on Unagi Sauce. On the side is a scoop of Mango Salsa and Steamed Rice.
The Black Sea is a Halibut Fish dish. Halibut is the largest flatfish which can be found in North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean. Not a rare fish but definitely delicious, most especially if this cooked in Corn Tortilla, Tomato Relish, Olives, Capers and Mashed Potato.
Ilocos is actually an authentic Vigan Bagnet. A pork dish deep fried in three different temperatures for long hours which makes it so special. The Bagnet is cloupled with steamed rice and of course a special Bagoong relish.
The Thailand dish is Thai’s version of Bagoong Rice. The rice is marbled with sweet pork ( at first I thought its Tocino but its not), with toppings of shredded green mango, crushed peanut and scrambled egg.
The Monte Carlo is not the typical Lechon Manok because its not grilled but baked. This special chicken dish is coupled with sundried tomato, Italian Herbs and on the side is mashed potato.
Saving the best for last. Agave-Passion Fruits BBQ Beef Ribs is definitely special. The beef ribs is blanched then baked for four hours in a very regulated temperature, just enough for the meet and cartilages are detached from the bone, without loosing the flavors. It’s served with grilled corn-cob, French fries and passion fruit sauce, although the passion fruit was not as noticeable but I definitely tasted the wine mix.
Make sure to leave more space for the desserts. Chef Vince signature recipe, Bread Pudding
The Mango Cheese cake is to die for...
The Hush Puppies is something very exceptional...