Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Couple of Sangrias, Awesome Tapas and a Cochinillo at Cova

The usual evening traffic started to build, and things just slowed down to a halt. It's nights like these that make you wish you were somewhere else. Maybe enjoying a sangria with some tapas. Cool. Permanently stuck on first gear, the traffic moves ever so slowly as I inch my way to Cova Tapas y Sangria...

Cova, which means "cave" in Catalan, is a refreshing new take on the usual tapas bar. An extensive wine selection, excellent Spanish food, great service and impressive interiors combine for an awesome experience at Cova. Great place to enjoy good food and drinks to while away the traffic...and stay a while longer after the traffic's gone. 

Inside, a dramatic ceiling execution sets the mood, providing a cool backdrop for a round or two of sangrias with friends. Elegantly formal yet comfortably cool, Cova feels like a personal sanctuary, just the spot to unwind and chill.

The play of lights on the ceiling is pretty impressive, reinforcing the subterranean feel. Very cool. Maybe I've had one too many sangrias, but it does look good. Time for another round of sangrias...

I was fortunate to be part of a group of bloggers recently invited to sample some of Cova's signature dishes, an evening where each dish presented seemed to get better and better, an awesome dinner. Tatyana Guevara, Cova's charming owner and Managing Director along with partner and Chef Patrick Hesse, prepared a memorable feast that still leaves me craving for more days after...

We start off with some soothing sangrias served by the pitcher, The Cova Red Sangria and Summer Peachy White Wine Sangria. Refreshingly sweet, all the tensions from the earlier traffic just seem to melt away.

Appetizers were then served, starting off with the Tartar de Toro (P 320), fresh beef tenderloin topped with fresh egg yolk and chives on migas (bread crumbs with chorizo fat), piparra and a side of crispy onions on balsamic reduction. Elegantly presented, the Tartar de Toro has to be mixed up, breaking the yolk and blending it with the migas and chives. Great as is, or layered on thin and crisp crostini-like bread. A prelude to more good things to come...

The Huevos Cabreados (P 299), fried egg on incredibly crisp shoestring potatoes with crunchy chorizo and generously drizzled with alioli sauce. To best enjoy the dish, you need to mix it all up allowing the egg yolk to cover every piece of crispy shoestring potatoes and chorizo. The combination of flavors and textures blend well with the richness of the egg, the saltiness of the chorizo and the crispy potatoes, which stays crisp even when mixed. An amazing complete meal in itself, and I think this is a surefire cure for any hangover.

Then the main dishes arrived, starting off with the Cap I Pota (P 250 Tapa/P 560 Racion), a rich and hearty slow cooked stew with ox tripe, wagyu cheeks, jamon, and morcilla or blood sausage, tomatoes, sultanas and pine nuts. A traditional Catalan dish, almost similar in taste with callos, with the ox tripe and wagyu cheeks providing familiar textures, yet the sultanas and pine nuts add a refreshing sweetness that make this distinct from callos. A rich and comforting dish, I can have this all day. I imagine this should go well with some garlic fried rice too...but there are more dishes still to come.

The Paella Negra (P 900, serves 3-4), moist rice cooked in rich squid ink topped with succulent soft shell crab, mussels, squid, prawns and drizzled with alioli. Squeeze some lemon, add some extra alioli and be prepared for a burst of flavor in every spoonful. The squid ink infused rice brings a rich, slightly briny flavor which nicely complements the seafood, this one's a winner. Trust me.

Next up, the Paella de Mariscos (P 900, good for 3-4), topped with mussels, clams and prawns. The lemon and alioli add so much richness to the already rich paella, another great dish.

Then, something new and different arrived. Cova's Fideua (P 650, serves 3-4), a dish similar to paella but with short noodles instead of rice topped with squid, clams, and alioli. The noodles are crisp with a nice crunch, adding a different layer of texture to the seafood. Refreshingly different, yet the flavors are familiar, an interesting and delicious dish. I was totally enjoying all the dishes, thinking this would be the final round. But I was wrong, one of the few times I was so glad to be wrong...

At the far end of the room, something was being prepared that caught my eye...

Cova surprised us all with a mouth-watering finale that suddenly got me in full attack mode. The Cochinillo Asado, slow roasted pig heaven. Perfectly roasted and mildly spiced with herbs, with a delicately crunchy layer of skin over tender, juicy pork. Awesome.

Chef Patrick effortlessly slices the cochinillo in half with a plate, as Tatyana carves and serves the tender meat and crunchy skin to a group of excited bloggers. Served with a light, creamy gravy made with butter and roast drippings, perfect. Just in time for the coming holidays, Cova Tapas y Sangria now accepts orders for the Cochinillo Asado, note that 24-36 hour lead time is required for all orders.

To cap an awesome dinner, Cova served up some Apple Fritters with an ice cream dip for dessert. A nice crunch and a sweet creamy dip, you just can't beat that, a perfect ending to a perfect dinner.

Cova Tapas y Sangria now serves lunch daily, offering lunch sets with their signature dishes starting at P 299 to P 499, as well as a la carte dishes. And I'll definitely be back, traffic or not. Special thanks to Tatyana P. Guevara, Owner/Managing Director and Chef Patrick Hesse for an awesome dinner.

Cova Tapas y Sangria is located at 22 Jupiter Street, Baranggay Bel-Air, Makati or call 478-9700 for inquiries. You can follow Cova Tapas y Sangria on FB at and on Twitter at for the latest promos and new offerings.

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  1. A fine dining restaurant. Love the food they serve.

    1. Hi Angie, awesome food and real cool place, thanks for stopping by!

  2. Replies
    1. hey Tatyana, thanks for the awesome dinner! I'll definitely be back soon!

  3. Wow... fancy and cool dining place. :)

    1. Hi Ramona, cool place and great food too! Thanks for stopping by Ramona!

  4. Wow! Hope I could visit the place soon and try the paella! :)

    1. hey mich, the paella negra is a real winner, you have to try it!


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