Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Spanish Nights and Tapas with a Sexy Latin Vibe at Tomatito

The seductive notes of Spanish flamenco come alive with the bold and vibrant flavors of traditional and creative tapas with a unique and distinct Latin vibe...

...time for some sexy tapas at Tomatito. Inspired by the noted Spanish flamenco guitarist, Jose Fernandez Torres, also popularly known as "Tomatito" or "little tomato," Tomatito Manila recreates the cool Spanish tapas bar from the 80s with its handcrafted cocktails and innovative dishes. Bold, inventive, with a touch of sexy, Tomatito is yet another new dining destination for the new year. And the new year's looking pretty good...at Tomatito.

Sergi Rostoll, Dani Aliaga (L) and other partners, the same group behind behind Las Flores, Rambla, Barcino, and Churreria La Lola, are back with another exciting and new dining concept with Tomatito Manila serving their own creative take on sexy Latin-inspired tapas.  

Inside Tomatito, the high ceilings and vibrant colors of the spacious interiors exude a festive vibe, accentuated by distinct Spanish touches. Elaborate Spanish fans, an assortment of colorful banderillas, and even a matador's torero costume adorn the walls of Tomatito.

Recently opened last December 19, 2016, Tomatito infuses rich Latin flavors to traditional Spanish tapas for a refreshing new dining experience. The dishes are rich with fresh flavors, a combination that's festive, and sexier too. As the dishes were prepared, a tipple before dinner is mandatory at Tomatito. A bespoke Gin and Tonic kicks off my dining experience at Tomatito with their Customize Your Own Gin and Tonic (P 450), simply choose your Gin (Nordes, Botanist, Sipsmith, Hayman's Old Tom, Tanqueray 10, London N1, Hendricks, Waitrose, Ungava, Ford's, Citadelle Reserve, Plymouth, G Vine, Gin Mare, Colombian Aged Gin, Bombay Sapphire, and Whitney Neill), pick your Herbs (rosemary, cilantro, oregano, lemon balm, marjoram, and lemon grass), select your Spices (cinnamon sticks, star anise, peppercorn, juniper berries, cardamom, and nutmeg), add your Fruits and Vegetables (orange, lime, lemon, red apple, calamansi, cucumber, and ginger), and top off with Schweppes Tonic for your own customized G & T. Or you can choose other tonics like Me Tonic, Fever Tree, Fentimans, or East Imperial for an additional P 75.   

A round of Tomatito's El Pirata gets you in that Spanish groove in no time. And just like their other concepts, the bar is always a good place to start at Tomatito ( for more on the group's other popular establishments, see my previous posts, A Black Truffle Affair at Rambla, Cava, Tapas, and Paella at Barcino Wine Resto Bar, and The Great Eatscape at SM Aura Premier: Nightcap at Barcino Wine and Resto Bar).

Chefs Carlos Franco (L) and Willy Trullas Moreno (R) collaborate for their sexy spin on Latin-inspired tapas, recreating the signature dishes of Chef Willy Trullas Moreno from his popular El Willy and Tomatito dining establishments in Shanghai.

Chef Willy Trullas Moreno starts our tapas dining experience with Tomatito's Gazpacho Shot...

...paired with Boquerones (P 580), a tasty duo with marinated white anchovies topped with picked chili perfectly finished by a shot of comforting gazpacho. The flavors of the Boquerones are fresh and clean, with a briny sharpness followed by a soothing heat from the pickled chili, contrasting with the rustic notes of the thick gazpacho. It's pairings like these that make the tapas at Tomatito special, but Chef Willy Trullas Moreno has even more flavorful tricks up his sleeves...

Textural contrasts and rich flavors highlight the next dish with the Montaditos de Gambas (P 375), Tomatito's sexy mini open sandwich with plump prawns. The cream sauce, fresh vegetables and chili add layers of complex flavors with every bite without overpowering the delicate notes of the succulent prawns. The play on flavors and textures reflect the Latin-inspired tapas of Tomatito, and this an absolute must-try.

The explosive Salmon TNT (P 595), with premium Balik smoked salmon drizzled with honey and truffle on soft and crisp pastry is another innovative creation by Chef Willy, with the richness of the smoked salmon kicked up a notch higher with honey and truffle. Small bites that bursts with so much flavors, the name of the dish perfectly describes what you can expect with this tapas dish. 

The Atun con Gazpacho y Olivas (P 295), with lightly seared tuna loin in gazpacho and olives, is another dish with delicate flavors. With its tender and juicy pink center, the subtle sweetness of the tuna comes through complimented by the rich flavors of the gazpacho.

The Peruvian-inspired Tiradito de Pescado Blanco (P 295), with local tanigue or mackerel in Peruvian citric marination, is best enjoyed with a spoon. Chef Willy suggests scooping up the fish from the bottom so you get the rich sauce, vegetables, and herbs in one bite. All the components of the dish just works so well together weaving so many layers of distinct flavors in a seamless blend.  

Some like it hot. Chef Willy draws inspiration from Mexican flavors with the Croquetas Don Julio (P 375), spicy chorizo and cheese croquettes. Savory, rich, and creamy, the crisp outer layer and the soft filling combine for another tasty dish. And just like all of Tomatito's tapas, all the flavors are perfectly balanced without overpowering the other. 

Here's the beef. The Filete con Airbag (P 325), with contrasting juicy and crisp textures with tenderloin steak and cheese wrapped on air baguettes. The fork-tender beef is delicately rolled on crisp baguettes with a hollow center for savory bites. Beef and airbags, this one works. Perfectly.

The Pimientos Rellenos de Costilla, Setas y Manchego (P 450), stuffed piquillo peppers with slow-cooked short rib, mushrooms, and Manchego cheese, is not your usual stuffed pepper dish. Chef Willy transforms and elevates the traditional dish with his inventive reinterpretation of a classic, masterfully orchestrating rich flavors in another excellent dish. Smoky, sweet, savory and creamy, the last piece is gone in no time. 

Time for some pork love. The Secreto Iberico Con Romesco y Esparragos (P 980), with slow-cooked pork "Secreto Iberico", tomato, and almonds in Spanish pepper sauce should satisfy your pork craving. The slow-cooked pork just melts in your mouth, lining your palate with a savory richness followed by the bold and smoky notes of the pepper sauce, and capped by the nutty sweetness of the almonds. 

The Filete a la Parilla (P 1,195), premium tenderloin steak with spring onions and truffle mashed potato, rounds out the evening's tapas feast. Perfectly grilled to medium rare with a juicy pink center, this one caps our sumptuous sampling of Tomatito's wide selection of tapas with a solid finish. 

Back at Tomatito's open kitchen, Chef Willy Trullas Moreno prepared the evening's final dish, a traditional Paella. The paellera slowly sizzles releasing a fragrant aroma, as another round of cocktails were served. If you want to catch Chef Willy, better hurry before he flies back to Shanghai in January.

The rustic Paella Valenciana (P 795), a traditional dry paella with soft, fluffy rice, chicken, rosemary, and snow beans, was then presented by Chef Willy...

Simple and uncomplicated, Chef Willy described the classic Paella Valenciana as "real and honest", just the way it should be. The flavors of the various ingredients are absorbed by the rice, released in a burst of rich notes with every bite. Innovative, yet firmly rooted in tradition, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds at Tomatito.

But save room for dessert. Cap your Latin-inspired Spanish tapas feast with the indulgent Las Locuras de Carlos (P 695), a sexy mixed dessert plate...

...and the Panacota de Vainilla con Fruta de Sangria (P 275), a creamy and decadent dessert with vanilla panna cotta and Sangria fruit toppings. You can find a number of establishments serving the familiar tapas, but you won't find sexier tapas with a refreshing Latin spin anywhere else other than Tomatito. Cocktails, tapas with a sexy Latin vibe, savory mains and sinful desserts, Tomatito is a welcome addition to the metro's food scene, and a cool way to start the new year with new flavors.

Tomatito Manila is located at 30th Street corner 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila or call 805-7840 for inquiries and reservations. You can also visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/tomatitomanila/ for more updates.

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