It's rare to find a place where the look, service and food seem to blend together in a zen-like balance, where tiny nuances combine for a total sensory experience. One such place is Sutra, with its cool take on modern Asian cuisine. Traditional and comforting flavors, yet new and different. Sutra's play on subtleties, from its unique interiors to the elegantly plated dishes, has an exotic yet cool vibe. And each distinct element provides layers that enhance one's dining experience.
From the same group that owns and manages Duo Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Zuni Restaurant and Wine Bar and Asya Filipino Asian Restaurant, Sutra specializes in Pan-Asian cuisine injected with subtle continental influences and a zesty Mediterranean flair. The diverse and eclectic menu features a variety of flavors, with cool new executions on familiar Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes.
Inside, the palette of colors range for rich and vibrant to subtle, more subdued shades, a visual representation of the rich and varied cultural traditions of Asia. Elegant and upscale, yet with a cool contemporary feel where one immediately feels at home. There is a sense of balance in a seemingly eclectic fusion of influences. And I think this sense of balance best describes Sutra, and like the name that inspired it, there seems to be a set of rules that provide harmony and balance at Sutra.
Sutra also offers a wide range of specialty cocktails and beverages, including a comprehensive wine selection to enhance one's experience. Tea-based cocktails like the Spiked Earl Grey, unique and refreshing, are just some of the cool and subtle twists one can experience at Sutra.
Sutra's Executive Chef, Ding Lazona, introduces the first of a series of signature dishes, which include starters to mains, to desserts. Chef Ding brings Sutra's vibe and character to life with different flavors and textures, from subtle to bold flavors, reflecting the richness of Asia's culinary traditions. And the diverse menu is also indicative of Sutra's fun, playful and inventive kitchen.
Our experience at Sutra begins with the Firecracker Sushi (P 310), an updated sushi roll with spicy tuna, unagi, scallions, and tobiko. The heat from the Spicy Tuna isn't overwhelming, there is a gradual, even delicate, build up of spiciness for that extra kick of flavor, a subtle sensation that prepares your palate for the next round of dishes. The rolls may look deceptively simple, but the combination of textures come through in every pleasurable bite.
Then, two dim sum dishes inspired by the elements were served. Sutra's Water Dumplings (P 170), filled with steamed bamboo shoots and shrimps. Familiar and comforting, a classic take on a dim sum favorite. The dough is soft and delicate, yet firm with a chewy bite, which blends well with the savory shrimp filling.
Sutra's Earth Dumplings (P 185) arrived next, steamed dumplings with spinach and shiitake, which adds a nutty note that's subtle and refreshing. Other dimsum variations include the steamed Ocean Dumplings, with a mix of seafood, vermicelli and white sauce; and the deep-fried Fire Dumplings, filled with black mushrooms and spicy shrimps.
Next, the Sutra Salad (P 450), with mixed greens, juicy prawns, jicama, pomelo, green mango, and apples with sweet and tangy cilantro plum dressing. The combination of fruits and a sweet and tangy dressing provide a refreshing play of flavors, Asian with a Mediterranean hint.
Assorted Seafood in Lemongrass Broth (P 695), with salmon, shrimps, mussels, cream dory, served with a bowl of Jasmine rice. The lemongrass adds a subtle sweetness, almost like a milder version of the Thai Tom Yang, and the seafood also adds to the sweetness of the broth, indicating freshness.
Then, the mains arrived. Sutra's Shepherd's Pie, with tender, braised lamb topped with sweet potato, a unique take on a classic continental dish, using lamb instead of beef, and sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. Hearty and filling, a meal in itself, and the flavor combo with the lamb and sweet potatoes work quite well together.
Yang Chow Fried Rice (P 235), with shrimp, ham, egg, chorizo macau, green peas and carrots, just the perfect side to the next main dish...
...Sutra's Meat Lover (P 995), a combination platter with crispy pork belly, tender beef rib fingers, and marinated chicken served with fresh tomato salsa and liver sauce. Each meat dish is distinct, with its own rich flavors for a dish that's perfect for families and groups. The dish also personifies the eclectic mix of flavors consistent with Sutra's approach to Asian cuisine with a continental touch.
And finally, dessert. Sutra's Frozen Chocolate Cake filled with eclair and topped with Mango Flambe (P 175) is a delightful combination of sweet and tart notes, simply yet elegantly plated, a visual feast for the eyes.
True to Sutra's sensory approach, this simply tastes as good as it looks.
Sutra's Panacotta and Fruits with Balsamic Ice Cream (P 180) is another example of the kitchen's innovative approach to flavor combinations. The richness of the panacotta contrasts with the sharp flavors of the balsamic ice cream. And both deliver a medley of flavors that are distinct, yet balanced.
A comforting sense of balance, an eclectic mix of flavors, a range of different nuances from its decor, service and food. That's the Sutra experience.
Ready to awaken all your senses? Check out Sutra, and indulge in a wide range of flavors. Special thanks to Executive Chef Ding Lazona and Kevin Prasad, Managing Director, for a cool dining experience at Sutra.
Sutra is located at Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, or call 925-3565 for inquiries. Visit their website at www.sutra.com.ph for more information.
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