Friday, May 10, 2013

Rediscovering Relik: Cool Cocktails, Classic Tapas

It was a typical Tuesday evening, but one can be sure that there's always something happening at The Fort. And Chef Benjo Tuason's kitchen at Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge was all fired up, another epic feast was in the works. It was definitely time to rediscover Relik at The Fort.

From the same group behind URBN Bar & Kitchen and Shawarma Guys (see my previous posts on URBN Bar & Kitchen here at and Shawarma Guys here at, Relik offers Chef Benjo Tuason's cool take on modern tapas, drawing heavily from Spanish and Mediterranean influences. This, a cool vibe and some  awesome cocktails, are all you need for a great dining experience at Relik.

Inside Relik, there's a cool retro feel that's both nostalgic and rustic. Check out some interesting vintage artifacts on the walls, like old tennis rackets and original long-playing vinyls from a past era. Nice touch. From the plush leather couches, the brick walls, the dark mahogany tables and benches, it's a cozy place for a few cocktails. And a comforting meal.  

The first round of cocktails, Relik's Mango Mojito, Black Russian, and Dragon Berry Mojito. Reik has several versions of the classic mojito, with different combos of fruits for unique flavors. The Dragon Berry is a cool blend of Bacardi, mint leaves, fresh strawberries and lime, lime juice, smiple syrup and Sprite for a sweet, fruity and refreshing cocktail. The Mango Mojito is another fruit-based mojito with a subtle sweetness. Great drinks, and there's more...

The second round of cocktails, Relik's Red Sangria, The Perfect Cosmo, Orange Patty, a personal favorite, another Dragon Berry and the Grape Escape. The Orange Patty, named after one of the partners, is a cool mix of vodka, orange juice, ginger, and sugar syrup and capped with an orange wedge. The subtle notes of ginger blends nicely with the orange juice for a refreshing cocktail. The Grape Escape, features Raspberry Vodka, fresh grapes, lime juice and a simple sugar syrup topped with an orange wedge. Relik's Perfect Cosmo is a mix of vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime, and cranberry juice with an orange wedge. The classic Red Sangria rounds up the second set of signature cocktails, with its blend of red wine, Grand Marnier, brandy, sugar syrup and fresh diced apples, oranges and lemons. An excellent start to the coming feast...

Relik's Quesadillas, served with guacamole and tomato salsa, with a choice of fillings, including BBQ Chicken, Beef, Pulled Pork and Garlic Shrimp. We sampled the BBQ Chicken, and the fresh, tart tomato salsa complemented the quesadillas perfectly. Familiar and comforting, the quesadillas were great starters paired with Relik's cocktails.

Relik's Sampler Platter, which included Deep-Fried Manchego Balls, manchego cubes coated in panko breading, deep-fried, glazed with honey and cayenne; Baked Australian Brie, creamy Yarra Valley Brie wrapped in jamon with a light honey glaze; and Jamon Serrano Trevelez, served with crostini and fresh tomato salsa. The Manchego Balls are rich and creamy, with the honey and cayenne providing contrasting notes. The Brie and Jamon are a prefect combo of savory saltiness with rich creaminess, and the Jamon Serrano, with its distinct, almost melt in your mouth butter-like feel. An excellent assortment, and perfect with Relik's cocktails.

This. Roasted Bone Marrow, with gremolata, served with caramelized onions, pink Himalayan salt and crostini. Awesome. The rich, butter-like texture of the marrow has a delicate flavor, kicked up with the caramelized onions and pink salt. Scoop up a spoonful and gently place the marrow on a crisp crostini, then place some caramelized onions and a little pink salt...perfect. As you go for a second serving, you suddenly remember your maintenance meds...but then, life's too short anyway as you go for yet another, and even more later on. Seriously good.

Relik's Mixed Paella, with assorted seafood and chicken. Familiar flavors, and so comforting, it's rare to find a good, authentic paella at a bar. But Relik isn't your typical bar. At Relik, the food is way up there with the drinks and signature cocktails.

The freshness of the ingredients combine for a subtle yet rich medley of flavors in one dish. Hearty, filling and satisfying, a tapas bar isn't one unless it has good paella. And Relik's Paella doesn't disappoint.

Creamy Pasta with Mussels, a rich pasta with fresh, plump mussels. The velvety, smooth sauce drapes each noodle completely for a rich flavor, and the mussels add a sweet and briny note. Simple and rustic, this one's a winner.

Mother Ann's Braised Ox-Tail, slow-braised Australian ox-tail served with pomme puree and buttered carrots. From an old family recipe, Chef Benjo recreates an old family favorite. Like all old recipes, it takes time to prepare, and this is evident in the first bite. The tender ox-tail is indicative of the slow, long and tedious cooking process, and the flavors are concentrated, the way any home-cooked meal should be.

Relik's Surf and Turf, with juicy baked prawns and a tender juicy steak on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. A classic combo, Relik's version includes a rich, tart tomato-based sauce that adds another layer of flavor to the steak and prawns.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with sauteed olives, capers, and tomatoes in white wine and butter. Simple and fresh ingredients makes this dish. Uncomplicated, yet with bold and fresh flavors, another great dinner option at Relik.

And finaly, Relik's Cochinillo, perfectly roasted, a fitting finale to an awesome feast. Deliciously crisp cracklings, tender and juicy pork, richly seasoned and no need for any sauce. Just perfect.

Relik also has an extensive selection of desserts,including Churros with Salted Caramel Dip, crisp churros drizzled with cinnamon. And instead of the traditional thick Spanish chocolate, Relik uses a salted caramel sauce for a different kind of flavor. And it works quite well.

Vanilla and Amaretto Panacotta, cooked cream with a berry compote, another rich and indulgent dessert, just the perfect ending to an equally rich feast at Relik. Not too sweet, but deliciously creamy. Very cool.

Cool cocktails, great food, Relik has it all. It's one cool place to rediscover excellent tapas and great cocktails on a Tuesday night. Or any other night. Special thanks to Chef Benjo Tuason for an awesome evening at Relik.

Relik is located at the 2nd Floor of the Commercenter Building, 31st Avenue corner 4th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila or call 846-8889 or 0917-529-8333 for inquiries. You can also visit their FB Page at

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