Pizza. Sushi. Steak. One cool culinary trifecta, all in one cool place...
Torch Restaurant unveils its new menu featuring innovative pizzas, sushi and steak dishes with a refreshing new spin. Drawing mostly from Italian, Japanese and American cuisine, the extensive menu at Torch infuses a modern and contemporary twist to classic international favorites, and this is clearly evident in the new dishes.
Inside, one finds bright, spacious interiors, clean lines for a modern look and a cool vibe. An al fresco dining area provides additional seating options. Casual, fun and homey, just the place for some pizza, sushi and steaks.
Recently, we sampled the exciting new menu from Torch for lunch, and I start with a refreshing Grape Shake, perfect on a hot summer day. Pizza, sushi and steak make an interesting lunch combo, as I waited for the dishes to arrive.
Torch's Appetizer Sampler, featuring the restaurant's signature appetizers were then served, including Chili Cheese Crispers, fried and breaded whole green chili stuffed with cheddar and chili con carne; Truffle Fries, crisp, thick-cut fries tossed in truffle oil; Buffalo Asian Chicken Wings, spicy marinated wings; and the Tequila Lime Chicken Skin Skewers, tequila and lime marinated deep-fried chicken skin. The variety of flavors gives you a good idea on Torch's wide repertoire of dishes. The Chili Cheese Crispers and Tequila Lime Chicken Skin Skewers offered contrasting flavors, with the cooling heat from the chili blending with Torch's creamy signature sauce, and the crisp chicken skin with the subtle yet sharp tequila lime. The truffle oil adds a richness to the fries, and the soy marinade gives the buffalo wings that distinct Asian flavor. Great starters.
Then, the first set of pizzas arrived, starting with the White Truffle Sausage Panizza (P 429.95), griled Italian sausages generously drizzled with white truffle oil on crisp, fresh oven-baked panizza, topped with mozzarella,
The thin and crispy crust is cut into long strips, allowing you to make some pretty cool roll-ups, stuffed with arugula, alfalfa sprouts and fresh salsa.
The sharp flavors of the Italian sausage, the nutty hint of truffle oil and the creamy mozzarella on a thin and crisp crust already makes this a winner. Add some alfalfa, arugula and salsa and you have a pizza dish with complex flavors and textures. A good start, as I go for another slice.
Gambas Pizza (P 329.95), crisp and rustic crust topped with plump sauteed shrimps in chipotle garlic olive oil and rich mozzarella. The garlicky shrimps are a familiar flavor, and the combo works quite well on a pizza, combining for a different and new pizza experience.
And Torch's inventiveness continues with its Philly Cheesesteak Pizza (P 369.95), crisp, oven baked thin crust topped with the classic and familiar Philly Cheesesteak filling, mozzarella and cream cheese. Another refreshing new take on pizza, with something familiar yet combining for yet another new pizza experience.
Torch's new Dragon Sangria (P 899.95 for 3-5 pax) was then served before the next round of dishes. A cool blend of white wine sangria with fresh dragon fruits and guava, elegantly served on a large fish bowl. The dragon fruit and guava add a distinct tropical flavor, refreshing and again, different.
Next, the exciting new sushi dishes arrived. Elegantly plated, Torch's new Smoked Salmon Truffle Sushi (P 449.95) was served. Hand-rolled sushi stuffed with mango, cucumber and kani topped with wakame, smoked salmon and fish roe, drizzled with white truffle oil. But Torch's creative kitchen wasn't quite done just yet, as the dish is crowned with a perfectly cooked sunny-side up. Rich and flavorful, definitely not your usual sushi. And with the number of ingredients, surprisingly all the flavors blend perfectly, with not one ingredient overpowering another. There is a delicious balance in the dish, and Torch's kitchen succeeds in creating a truly unique and different dish worthy of becoming one of Torch's signature dishes.
The first sushi dish is then followed by another, equally inventive dish, the new Volcano Roll (P 369.95), featuring freshly baled sushi rolls with tempura, tamago and topped with succulent spice-baked scallops. And to complete the dish, the sushi rolls are draped with cheese and Japanese mayo. Aptly named, Torch's new Volcano Roll is another cool twist on the usual sushi, combining complex yet subtle flavors and textures in one unique dish. Perfect.
Then, the steaks arrived, starting with the Salpicao Medallion (P 479.95), Certified Angus Beef wrapped in bacon with a side of garlic parsley rice, sauteed French beans and carrots, served on a sizzling hot slab of stone. The cool plating gives this dish a good first impression, and it doesn't disappoint.
An impressive dish, the sizzling sound of meat on hot stone is an experience in itself, releasing a beefy aroma that just brings out one's primordial instincts. Nothing like sizzling premium meat, and some restraint is needed as you hold yourself back from diving in. Don't leave the meat on the hot slab too long, or you'll overcook it. Once sliced, the juicy pink center indicates a perfectly cooked cut of meat, and medium is definitely the way to go. Tender, with just a little bite to remind you this is beef, and good beef it is. The bacon adds another layer of flavor, and you just can't go wrong with bacon.
This is then followed with Torch's new Steak Fondue (P 879.95), with tender melt-in-your-mouth Ribeye Meltique Beef, with a cool selection of five different sauces. Just a few minutes in the hot oil, and each piece of tender beef is ready. It's great as is, or you can explore different combinations with the different sauces. It's a great dish, and fun too. Cooking your own meat right on your table adds to the overall dining experience at Torch.
And finally, the first of two pasta dishes arrived, starting with Torch's Tartufo Pasta (P 545.95), a rich and creamy truffle mushroom pasta with fettuccine. Hearty and comforting, a perfect pasta dish for mushroom lovers.
This. Torch's new Burger Mac & Cheese (P 334.95), classic comfort food on a whole new level. The cast-iron mac and cheese is served with a juicy US Angus Beef patty, and richly covered in creamy cheese. Simple, yet rich, familiar yet there is always a spot for a good mac and cheese. Another great dish.
Torch also has other menu options like the Smoked Jabanero Glazed Salmon (P 435.95), a fresh baked salmon with unagi citrus sauce, mango salsa and garlic parsley rice. Simple and clean flavors, and a great light meal.
For dessert, Torch brings out its signature Fried Bread Pudding (P 219.95), another cool classic with a refreshing twist. Deep fried bread pudding with sabayon sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel. Rich and comforting, just a perfect ending to a great meal at Torch.
International cuisine with a fresh, new twist. Pizza, sushi and steak for lunch? Definitely. And Torch Restaurant does an impressive slam dunk with the cool trifecta of new dishes, and then some. Special thanks to Dappy San Juan (L), Marketing Consultant; and Michael T. Chua (R), Torch's dynamic and young owner, for an awesome lunch.
Torch Restaurant is located at Home Studio Building, 63 Connecticut Street, Greenhils, San Juan or call 477-3771 for inquiries, reservation, private events or catering needs.
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