Tapenade, a centuries-old Provencal dish made from indigenous produce from the famed Mediterranean region with olives, capers, olive oil, and anchovies, pounded in a traditional mortar and pestle, blend together in a fusion of fresh and vibrant flavors. Aptly named, Restaurant Tapenade brings the bold and sunny flavors of the Mediterranean with classic dishes from Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, and Morocco in the metro's newest dining hot spot.
Go on a leisurely culinary journey of fresh Mediterranean flavors, each elegantly plated with the masterful touch of Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco and his team at Tapenade, one of Discovery Primea's elegant restaurants.
Located at the ground floor of the grand and imposing Discovery Primea, one of the tallest structures in the Makati CBD, Restaurant Tapenade is the hotel's elegant yet casual all-day dining outlet serving authentic regional dishes from the Greek islands, Sicily, and North Africa to the rustic flavors of Provence, Valencia, and Barcelona.
The impressive high ceiling and spacious interiors of Restaurant Tapenade exude a comforting warmth, enhanced by the muted golden glow of the lights bouncing off the wall mural by artist Alfred Galvez on one side and the bright natural light filtering in through the expansive glass walls facing Ayala Avenue on the other side.
As the afternoon sun slowly fades, the dazzling lights of the Makati CBD take over, casting its own light show in full view at Restaurant Tapenade. But the open kitchen layout, with its impressive brick pizza oven, is undoubtedly the main feature of Restaurant Tapenade, where all the magic happens.
"The Mediterranean Diet is known for its health benefits, without sacrificing favor. This is why we decided to offer the market a gourmet and healthy alternative to the usual buffet experience," says Chef Luis Chikiamco, describing yet another feature of Restaurant Tapenade, The Salad Room. After an indulgent round of the freshest salads from The Salad Room (see my previous post on the luxurious offerings of the The Salad Room here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2015/03/fresh-salad-room-at-discovery-primeas.html), my dining experience at Discovery Primea's new Tapenade begins with Stuffed Piquillo Peppers a la Plancha (P 420), sweet and smoky peppers grilled on a metal plate stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with Sherry vinegar glaze, and topped with fresh greens and baby basil leaves. The use of the finest and freshest ingredients bring out the pure and natural flavors of even the simplest dish, a signature of Mediterranean cuisine, with the sweet peppers and creamy goat cheese punctuated by the sharp Sherry vinegar glaze, contrasting with the subtle minty notes of the basil leaves and crisp greens.
A refreshing welcome drink (L), blended with calamansi, lime and garnished with edible flowers, and a few rounds of Restaurant Tapenade's soothing Summer Fruit Sangrias (R) gets you in the groove in no time.
More appetizers were served, starting with the Stone-Baked Feta (P 460), with tomatoes, capers, Greek Metaxa brandy, and honey, combining for bold yet balanced flavors.The delicate sweetness of the honey play well with the creamy feta, and the tomatoes and capers add a delectable sharpness with every bite.
The Whipped Italian Ricotta (P 460), a duo of tapenade with olives and edible flowers, served with grilled ciabatta, delivers another burst of flavors. The starters alone at Restaurant Tapenade recreate the sunny flavors of the Mediterranean, but there's more...
Fresh from the brick oven, a pair of rustic and traditional handmade pizzas were served next, starting with the Davao Goat Cheese Pizza (P 460), topped with Australian leeks, double-smoked bacon, and roasted garlic on a crisp and chewy crust perfectly charred for even more flavor. The creamy artisan goat cheese from Davao's famed Malagos Farms add a distinct richness, balanced by the sharpness of the bold notes of the double-smoked bacon...
...and the Pizza "Tartufata" (P 690), topped with Italian Guanciale, an Italian cured meat or salumi, indulgent Black Truffle, and free-range egg, on the same rustic handcrafted crust with its distinctive char from the brick oven. Simply slice the egg and let the rich yolk run on the crust. The comforting flavors of the egg, the nutty black truffle and the mildly salty guanciale combine and blend seamlessly, with not one ingredient overpowering the other. When Discovery Primea's General Manager, himself an accomplished chef, David Pardo de Ayala described his plans for the brick oven less than a year ago, I knew then that the pizza at the new Discovery Primea would be something to look out for. One bite of the Tartufata, and you get instant validation.
The Mediterranean feast continues with the Papas Canarias (P 220), salted baby potatoes and spicy "Mojo" dipping sauces, a side dish perfect for the coming mains.
But before the mains, a pair of pasta dishes were served. No dining experience at Tapenade would be complete without their signature pasta dishes, as we sampled two unique and flavorful pasta creations by Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco, the hand-rolled Pumpkin Agnolotti (P 420), tender yet firm pasta stuffed with sweet pumpkin with rosemary brown butter and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and crisp Prosciutto. The combination of sweet pumpkin, rich butter, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano simply has to be one of the most comforting combos yet, delivering a homestyle vibe. This is comfort food with a Mediterranean twist.
This is then followed by the hearty Greek Shrimp Rissoni (P 590), with tender, plump shrimps on fine-grained pasta with tart tomatoes and topped with feta cheese and baby spinach. Almost like a risotto, the small grain shaped pasta, orzo, is draped with a rich tomato-based sauce for upfront flavors. The dish is comfortingly familiar yet surprisingly new and different. The briny shrimps have a fresh snap, and the cubes of feta cheese add a rich layer of creamy notes. The appetizers, followed by the unique pizza and pasta dishes were simply excellent, but it gets better...
The mains then arrived, showcasing Tapenade's diversity and range of Mediterranean flavors, with the Lamb Kebabs (P 620), tender grilled lamb served with Orzo al Pesto, herb-yogurt sauce, lemon, and warm pita bread. The lamb is perfectly grilled, richly seasoned with spices, tender and flavorful. Squeeze some lemon on the kebab, dab a bit of the thick and chunky herb-yogurt sauce, and wrap it in a warm pita...perfect. The rice-like pasta, orzo, comes back, this time flavored with a nutty pesto, pairing well with the lamb. Another winner from Restaurant Tapenade.
Next, the impressive Porcini Crusted US Angus Ribeye Steak (P 2,800, perfect for sharing), a tender slab of premium beef topped with fresh arugula and shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Perfectly grilled to medium with a juicy pink center, the outer layer of porcini crust adds a whisper of nuttyness to the robust beef flavor. Topped with arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano, the premium ribeye is flavorful on its own, just the way I like it, without any sauce. With beef this good, you don't need any sauce at all.
The rich flavors of the Mediterranean continue with the Chicken Tagine (P 520), slow-cooked and tender chicken in a rich blend of spices and aromatics with green olives, lemon confit, in a thick Moroccan sauce. Executive Chef Luis Chikiamko has mastered the fine balance of spices in this traditional Moroccan dish. The rich blend of spices combine for complex flavors, with a layer of sharpness from the fermented lemon for balance. Slow cooked, the chicken is tender, absorbing the subtle nuances of the different spices, vegetables, and lemon from the rich sauce. The dish is served with couscous in the distinctive cone-shaped tagine.
After a sumptuous Mediterranean feast, cap your meal with a bold and robust espresso shot of Moroccan Coffee. The ornate coffee pot, cups, and tray builds on the richness of the Mediterranean theme, a nice touch at Restaurant Tapenade.
Your culinary journey of traditional Mediterranean flavors continue with Tapenade's indulgent selection of desserts, including the rich and moist Gianduja Cake (P 290), an elegant chocolate-hazelnut mousse on crunchy praline with salted caramel banana...
...the Turkish Baklava (P 240), a delicate pastry with finely chopped pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and aromatic spices layered with thin phyllo pastry sheets...
...and the comforting Bomboloni (P 290), sweet, soft, and chewy dough balls with a lightly crisp outer layer laid on passion fruit crema, sweet cherry compote, and served with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, each one delivering that perfect finish to an authentic Mediterranean feast.
Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco and his team invite you to savor the diverse flavors of the Mediterranean at Restaurant Tapenade. With its authentic, traditional, rustic, and fresh flavors from the Mediterranean, Restaurant Tapenade is one of those new must-try dining spots and a welcome addition to the metro's growing food scene.
Tapenade is located at the Ground Floor of the new Discovery Primea, 6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati City or call 955-8888 or visit http://www.discoveryhotels-resorts.com/discoveryprimea/ for inquiries and reservations.
Dude for Food is now on Facebook, check out the FB Page for regular updates on good east and new dining destinations. Better yet, click "Like" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB "Like" widget on the right sidebar.