Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar: Sampling OTKB's Tasting Menu and Cocktails

Hanging tenders, a perfectly pan-seared salmon, and chocolate rocks and soil, all washed down with a refreshing Amaretto Sour...

...Chef Rob Pengson serves up a playful palette of flavors with new dishes from Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar's  Tasting Menu as well as his ala carte menu.

Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar, or simply OTKB, is Chef Rob Pengson's newest concept. An antipasti bar, one can enjoy inspired dishes prepared in creative and flavorful ways with surprising twists. The playful combination of flavors in each dish add to one's overall dining experience at OTKB.

Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar offers a new Tasting Menu featuring five courses plus antipasti and dessert, showcasing some of the best "small & big plates" from his kitchen. We start with OTKB's antipasti, an elegant Foie Gras Popsicle, Caponata Macaron, and Smoked Eel and Green Apple Galette, delicately arranged on a stone slab. Each component delivers unique and distinct flavors, and the flavor combinations reflects the inventive flair of OTKB's kitchen. And that's just the first course...

From OTKB's ala carte menu, the Beef Burger Sliders were then served. Bite-sized burgers with premium beef patties on OTKB's very own housemade buttery focaccia/brioche, spread with a rich and creamy Gorgonzola mousse. Almost like big, fat and juicy meatballs, the beefy flavors come through like a solid punch, a sure sign of the premium grade beef. The soft yet mildly crisp housemade brioche is perfect, absorbing the beef and gorgonzola flavors. Served with thick-cut fries, perfect when paired with any of OTKB's cocktails.

A refreshing salad is then served. OTKB's Caesar Salad, a refreshing mix of fresh greens spiked with the sharp flavors of prosciutto and a creamy Caesar's dressing. The fresh and premium ingredients add so much bold and clean flavors to this simple dish.

Next up, OTKB's Braised Pork Jowl and Oyster Calzone with Bonito and Aged Parmigiano Shavings and Pulpo a la Plancha, an elegant dish with complex flavors served on a stone slab. The combination of pork, oyster and octopus topped with bonito and parmigiano shavings each deliver distinct flavors, and together combine for a unique flavor experience. And that's what makes OTKB special, combining bold flavors that take you on a flavorful journey.

Then, OTKB's signature brick oven artisan pizzas were served. OTKB's Pizza Margherita and Bacon and Maple Pizza, rustic, traditional and comforting flavors. The simplicity of the dish is deceptive, as rich flavors burst in every bite. The Pizza Margherita is reminiscent of classic old world flavors, while the Bacon and Maple Pizza presents a more contemporary taste profile. And you can really taste the sweet maple flavor, blending perfectly with the smoky bacon.

Next, OTKB's Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi, a rich and hearty pasta dish from OTKB's ala carte menu. The delicate gnocchi is covered in a rich cream with a poached egg, slow-cooked in low temp, adding to the rich texture and flavor of the ricotta, and slivers of prosciutto and black olives add a contrasting sharpness to the dish. Yet all the complex flavors are perfectly balanced, which seems to be OTKB's signature. Combining different ingredients with bold and distinct flavors harmoniously blending into one extraordinary dish. And this is experienced in each and every dish at OTKB.

After the first round of courses, have a few more rounds of OTKB's cool cocktails, like the Amaretto Sour, a refreshing mix of Amaretto, fresh lemon, and syrup, a personal favorite. Other cocktails include the Lychee Mojito, Red and White Sangrias, Manila Mule, and Margaritas. Don't forget to try OTKB's Happy Hour, every Monday to Thursday, starting at 5pm onwards, for a bottomless round of the featured cocktails. You can also check out OTKB's special cocktails with Belvedere and Glenmorangie.

And the feast continues. OTKB's Pan Seared Pink Salmon, served with creative variations of carrots, including a carrot and cumin puree, pickled carrots, and caramelized roasted carrots with coriander, finished with a squid-ink smear. The salmon is perfectly cooked, retaining the soft, tender and juicy, almost creamy texture with subtle flavors, enriched by the carrot and cumin puree. Delicate, fresh flavors, and yet another elegant dish from OTKB.

Then, the big guns arrived. OTKB's Hanging Tender, Morcilla Pate with Scorched Nori Risotto, tender and premium steak enriched with a blood sausage pate over a flavorful nori risotto, combining even more distinct flavors into one perfectly balanced dish. The unique flavors of the blood sausage complement the tender slices of beef, and the creamy risotto with nori and squid ink simply rounds out the flavors. I never thought the combination of flavors would work, but OTKB pulls this one off without a sweat. And like many of OTKB's dishes, this one is yet another elegant example of OTKB's play on flavors.

Crispy Pork Belly, on a bed of Mountain Multigrain Fried Rice, poached apples, black pepper crumble, liver pate, a variety of pickles and an apple jus. Deep-fried until perfectly crisp, each slice of OTKB's pork belly is a perfect balance of textures, with juicy pork and a nice crisp outer layer of skin. The other components add more layers of complex flavors, with the tart apples and fresh pickles, and the deep, earthy liver flavor.

A light, sweet raisin glaze completes the flavors, elegantly plated in the signature OTKB style, and another winner. But OTKB's kitchen wasn't done yet, dessert was up next...

And finally, dessert. Equally as impressive as the first courses, OTKB lays out yet another beautifully plated dish. The Chocolate Terrain, a medley of indulgent chocolate preparations in a Gateau, a cool Cake Pop, a rich and moist Brownie, a smooth and velvety Mousse, Meringue Shards, delicate shavings from a variety of chocolates, on a bed of chocolate rock and soil.

Arranged on a stone slate, the various chocolate creations are a fitting end to an elegant dinner at OTKB. Like an elegant landscape of rubble, the dessert is another piece of eye candy. The different textures of each chocolate "rubble," from smooth and velvety to a delightful crunch, results in another unique dish with a playful twist. The pace of the tasting menu was just right, allowing diners to slowly experience each and every dish, adding to the overall experience.

Kudos to Chef Rob Pengson's crew headed by Executive Sous Chef Jonvic Mangibin, junior Chef de Partie Miguel Santos, and Junior Sous Chef Monch Mendoza for one spectacular feast at OTKB. From antipasti to mains, cocktails, all the way to dessert, OTKB impresses all the senses in each and every dish.

Distinct and bold flavors, combined in elegant and perfectly balanced dishes for an experience unique to OTKB. Let OTKB's kitchen take you on a culinary journey with their Tasting Menu and ala carte dishes, and experience fresh, real flavors. Special thanks to Rizza Villaflor,  OTKB Marketing Manager, and Stefan Sager, Operations Manager, for an awesome OTKB experience.

OTKB Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar is located at B4, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 823-0366 for inquiries. 

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