Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tuesday Happy Hour at Rastro

Cool cocktails and great food. Add a hip vibe with a bohemian Spanish twist, and you've got Rastro. And happy hour takes on a new cool spin. 

After a hectic Tuesday, Rastro's Happy Hour is a welcome break, just the place to unwind. Nothing like a couple of Sidecars to make the day end right. And a few of Rastro's tapas, "little plates", to go with the cocktails.

Named after the iconic and largest open-air flea market in Madrid, El Rastro de Madrid, Rastro Tapas Bar and Restaurant captures the "organized chaos" feel with an eclectic mix of styles in its interiors and decor, yet a cozy and cool vibe is felt even before you get your first cocktail.

It's Oyster Night at Rastro every Tuesday, and you can have your oysters one of three ways: fresh, baked with pancetta, and Oyster Fritters with aioli. All good and a perfect match with any of Rastro's cool cocktails. The classic Mojito and Margarita, the refreshing Guavatini and the retro Sidecar are happy hour favorites at Rastro.

Up at Rastro's second floor dining area, Rastro's cool and eclectic character comes to life, where no two pitchers, bowls and utensils are alike, even the sofas and chairs that fill up the space. Coolness. Somehow, one can sense some order in this seemingly wild mix of chairs and sofas, and somehow it all feels right. And an appropriate backdrop to the feast served that Tuesday night, as the first of many "little plates" arrived...

First up, Rastro's signature tapas, starting with the Crispy Tawilis, deep-fried freshwater sardinella found only  in Batangas, with a mildly spicy white vinegar dip.

Bolitos Negros, crisp balls breaded and stuffed with Paella Negra and crispy squid, drizzled with rastro's rich aioli. A cool blend of flavors and textures, and quite filling too.

Huevoes Rancheros, a sampler serving of crisp shoestring potatoes topped with homemade chorizo, aioli and egg. The chorizo's bold flavors are tempered by the richness of the egg and aioli, with the shoestring potatoes adding a delicious crunch in every bite.

And here's the regular serving of Rastro's Huevos Rancheros. Perfect hangover cure, or an early breakfast after one too many mojitos.

Croquetas de Chorizo, deep-fried potato balls stuffed with rich chorizo, a tasty starter that pairs well with Rastro's cocktails.

Gambas al Ananda, topped with rich crab fat and spices. Plump, juicy shrimps with a subtle sweet and briny taste indicating freshness, bumped up with crab fat. Yup, crab fat. And that's all I have to say...

Chorizo and Manchego Pizzetas, bite-sized yet full of flavor, the sharp flavors of the chorizo and Manchego come through in every bite.

And the drinks kept coming too. Rastro's cool cocktails include the Sidecar, a personal favorite, the  White Wine Spritzer, Red Wine Spritzer and the Guavatini. Also not to be missed is Rastro's Harvey Wallbanger. There's a cool retro vibe with Rastro's cocktails, and happy hour just isn't happy hour without a couple of Sidecars or Harvey Wallbangers.

Chistora, imported chorizo from Spain, with a flavor so rich, you just can't stop.

Tinapa Triangles, crisp mini triangles filled with smoked fish and cream cheese with a side of fresh salsa.

Rastro's Party Platter featuring their bestsellers, all in one plate, including the Chistorra, Gambas al Ananda and Crispy Tawilis.

Then, the seriously good stuff arrived. Paella Catalana, rich and moist, familiar and comforting, topped with prawns, chicken and egg. The Iberian colors of red and yellow come alive in this dish, as with the flavors.

Pollo Iberico, chicken marinated in olive oil, whole garlic cloves and herbs for 24-36 hours then slow cooked until fork tender, served with marble potatoes and garlic. Rich yet subtle flavors, and the garlic just kick up the rich flavor of the dish. And the best way to enjoy this dish is to slice a tender piece of chicken, a piece of marble potato and garlic for a cool blend of flavors. And washed down with a Sidecar, absolutely perfect.

Paella Negra, another winner from Rastro's kitchen, topped with mussels, squid and aioli sauce. Squeeze a little lemon for some sharpness in flavor, and go for it. Seriously good.

Chorizo Pasta, made with Rastro's homemade chorizo and olive oil, another pocket sized treat that's filling and comforting.

Sopa Seca, a light tomato based broth poured on crisp chorizo bits, crostini, garlic and egg, a cool cure for any hangover.

Then, it was time for dessert, starting with Rastro's Turrones Pastor, with a rich Creme Brulee filling. A delicate blend of flavors and textures, yet rich and indulgent, a nice sweet ending to cap the feast.

This. This one is the perfect finale to a feast at Rastro's. The Triple Chocolate Silk, an indulgent dessert with two layers of unsweetened chocolate topped with white chocolate on an Oreo crust. Pure chocolate bliss. And the sweet mangoes provide a nice contrast to the sweet richness of the three layers of chocolate.

And Rastro's Triple Chocolate Silk deserves a second look...

Cool cocktails, great food, and a nice vibe. Oyster Tuesdays and happy hours at Rastro's, or any day for that matter, is all you need to make it right.

Special thanks to Rastro Tapas Bar and Restaurant's Cynthia Nakpil, Owner; and Erika Paredes, Social Media & PR Consultant, for the awesome tapas, dinner and cocktails.

Rastro Tapas Bar and Restaurant is located at Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig or call 556-1497 for inquiries. For more information, visit and their FB page.

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  1. Wow that's a lot of appetizing tapas! :) will have to try this! :)

    1. Hi Berylle, great tapas, awesome cocktails and a cool vibe, another must-try!


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