It was another Friday night, time for some cool sangria and tapas. But it wasn't a typical Friday night. Something was cookin' at Cova Tapas y Sangria's kitchen, and Chef Patrick Hesse had a few surprises.
Recently, Chef Patrick Hesse invited us over at Cova to sample his new menu, including premium Iberian pork dishes. New dishes, and some old reliable favorites, it was going to be an interesting Friday evening.
We begin with a specialty sangria concoction, a sweet Apple Pie Sangria. Created for the holiday season, the Apple Pie Sangria has remained popular, and is still listed on the menu. This one's a keeper.
Then, the first of many new dishes arrived. The Caviar Pie and Toast, a coll combo of rich and creamy cheese with briny caviar and lemon. After trying out a similar dish at a cocktail party, an idea struck Check Patrick. Why not create a smaller, "tapas' version of the Caviar Pie? And this one works pretty well.
Next, Jamon Serrano Mousse and Toast. All the familiar and savory saltiness of Jamon Serrano with a spreadable twist. And with the crisp toast, another cool combo of flavors and textures.
Mejillones al Vapor, mussels steamed in draft beer, lemon, bacon, parsley and garlic oil. The rich broth is enhanced by the bacon, garlic, with a subtle beer flavor and sharp lemon note, complex flavors that work well with the plump mussels. A new classic reinvented, and the bacon and garlic makes this another winner.
Huevos Cabreados, crisp shoestring potatoes topped with chorizo, fried egg, aioli and salsa brava. A current bestseller in Cova's menu, we just had to order this signature dish, and no meal at Cova is complete without this. The richness of the chorizo, egg and aioli and the crisp potatoes makes this dish so comforting, and great with a few beers.
Albondigas, a juicy blend of ground beef and pork on a bed of tomatoes and peppers. The meatballs are perfectly enhanced by the tart tomatoes and smoky peppers, and the aioli completes the dish.
Pluma Iberica ala Plancha, the tail end of the tenderloin from pure acorn fed black hoof iberian pigs (pata negra), with garlic and parsley oil. If no one had told me this was pork, I wouldn't have known better. The tender richness of the meat is almost beef-like, and the delicate traces of fat add a juicy and tender texture. You just can't go wrong with premium pork.
Lomo Iberico Schnitzel, pata negra pork loin, breaded and deep-fried, drizzled with balsamic cream and lemon. Tender and juicy, the quality of the pork makes this dish another winner. Squeeze a little lemon for some sharpness, and the bold balsamic reduction completes the medley of flavors in this cool new pork dish.
Tortilla de Cova, with potatoes, onion, Asturian blood sausage, olive oil and paprika. Perfectly cooked eggs that are rich and moist, almost creamy in texture, accentuated by the morcilla, olive oil and paprika. This is one egg dish I can have any time of day. Absolutely perfect.
And the feast at Cova goes into high gear, as the first of two paella dishes arrive. The Paella de Mariscos, a rich and moist paella cooked the Catalan way topped with shrimp, mussels, squid, clams and chorizo, a combination of flavors in every spoonful. The rice remains moist, absorbing all the flavors of the various ingredients.
Then, the Arroz Negro arrived, a rich squid-ink paella topped with crisp soft-shell crab, mussels, shrimps and drizzled with aioli. The soft-shell crab adds another level of flavor and texture to the dish,perfectly crisp and flavorful, and a perfect match with the moist, squid-ink rice.
Then, it was time for a simple dessert. Pinkerton's Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream, bold chocolate flavor with subtle note of extra stout. Perfect.
A last round of Apple Pie Sangrias, and another Friday night at Cova's ends with a few favorites worth coming back to, perhaps next Friday...or maybe much, much earlier.
Special thanks to Chef Patrick Hesse, Ivana Guevarra and Tatyana Guevarra for another cool Friday evening at Cova. And kudos to Chef Patrick Hesse for an impressive and flavorful line of new dishes.
Cova Tapas y Sangria islocated at 22 Jupiter Street, Barangay Bel-Air, 1200 Makati or call 478-9700 for inquiries.
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