Friday, October 31, 2014

Paprika: Redefining Comfort Food with a Playful Twist

Dessert in an intentionally tipped jar with soil. Pasta with shrimp paste and crispy pork belly. Bacon & Eggs in a cocktail. And Adobo Overload. It's comfort food with an inventive spin. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised at Paprika...

Your favorite comfort food gets a creative makeover at Paprika, the newest dining concept at Bonifacio Global City. Tucked away and secluded in one of the tall corporate structures at The Fort off the commercial strip, the seemingly "hidden" location adds to the appeal of Paprika. And once you find it, you're in for a unique comfort food experience.

Located at the second floor of the RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Tower at the Bonifacio Global City, Paprika is one of those rare hole-in-the-wall finds set on redefining comfort food. And Panjee Lim, one of the young managing partners, guarantees a unique dining experience, as the open kitchen fires up to serve the first course...  

Start with Paprika's Bacon Onion Marmalade Bruschetta (P 165), bacon and onion marmalade with Gruyere cheese topped with alfalfa sprouts on crisp bruschetta. The distinct salty and smoky notes of the bacon cut through the marmalade's sweetness, just the way you like your bacon. The creamy Gruyere, fresh alfalfa and crunchy bruschetta add even more flavor and texture. A good start...

Next, sample Paprika's Trio Dip (P 165), with Spinach, Truffled Mushroom, and Eggplant Caponata, served with lightly toasted bruschetta. Each dip offers unique and distinct flavors, awakening your palate for the next round of dishes.

Then, Chef Mauriz Santos and his team create their own kind of culinary wizardry in Paprika's open kitchen.  Aligue Pasta (P 300), your favorite spaghetti with a cool and inventive twist, with aligue (crab fat) and coconut cream sauce topped with deep-fried shrimp. The rich and creamy crab fat is perfectly complemented by the equally rich coconut cream sauce, coating each noodle with its almost buttery and briny notes. I've tasted similar dishes with crab fat, but this one packs a flavorful punch. And I'm liking Paprika's own unique take on comfort food so far...

But Chef Mauriz Santos and his team isn't quite done yet as they serve the next pasta dish. Paprika's flavorful Bagoong Pasta (P 220), with bagoong sauce topped with a crispy slab of deep-fried pork liempo and tomatoes. Who would've thought the familiar shrimp paste would pair so well with pasta? The comfortingly salty notes of the shrimp paste, the tart tomatoes, and the crisp pork belly add layers of distinct flavors, making this dish familiar yet so different. Just the noodles alone, with the shrimp paste, bursts with so much comforting flavors. Add a crisp slice of pork belly, perfect. Chef Mauriz Santos and his team clearly scores a homer with this one. A personal favorite.

A local classic, the iconic Pares, gets another inventive tweak, with Paprika's Roast Beef Pares (P 255), tender roast beef draped in homemade pares sauce over garlic fried rice with chili-garlic oil. A meal in itself, the tender beef with savory sauce and rice is just what you need to make your regular day a whole lot better.

But Chef Mauriz Santos and his team have one more ace up their sleeves. Who doesn't love adobo? You'll love it even more with Paprika's Adobo Overload (P 305), crisp pork adobo on adobo rice with adobo sauce drizzled with adobo mayo. A tender and crisp slab of pork marinated in the familiar adobo sauce is deep-fried for that perfect crunch, and the soft and fluffy rice, fried in adobo sauce, completes the dish with its comforting adobo flavors. The adobo mayo then adds that rich and creamy layer for that unique finishing touch. Another winner from Paprika, and another personal favorite.

No comfort food menu would be complete without fried chicken in the line-up. Paprika's Chicken and Waffles (P 245), crispy buttermilk fried chicken on waffles with maple syrup and house gravy. And that's what makes the menu at Paprika particularly comforting, featuring a range of Filipino, American, and Italian classics with that playful twist. Paprika also offers other creative dishes, like the Curry Burger, Salmon and Dill Risotto, the Loco Moco (with premium beef patty topped with a pineapple ring, egg, and house gravy on rice), Gambas con Aligue, and Szechuan Pasta.

What seems like an intentional mishap sets the tone for dessert. WTF! or What The Fudge (P 180), layers of dark and white chocolate ganache and coffee jelly, sprinkled with chocolate soil and served in a jar. The presentation is as playful as the combination of flavors, adding that quirky element of fun. And don't forget to scrape up some chocolate soil to complete the flavors. After dessert, why not have a cocktail or two?

And Paprika offers a full range of unique cocktails, like the La Playa Barcelona (P 305), a tart and refreshing blend of white wine, brandy, lime, cherry, lychee syrup, dalandan juice, and mint leaves; or The Geisha (P 285), with Midori, Cointreau, and lemon juice, garnished with a cherry.

Something sweet? The unique Smores (P 255) should do the trick, innocently sweet with a kick, with marshmallow infused vodka, Baileys, and whipped cream topped with marshmallows and a Graham cracker; or the Gold Mine (P 375), with Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve, apple juice, honey, and sparkling wine 

And there's more. Paprika's The B-52's (P 285), with Grand Marnier, Amaretto, milk, cream, and cinnamon, or the cool Johnnie's Girl (P 295), with premium scotch, dalandan syrup, soda water, and mint leaves. Smooth yet different, but Mark the bartender has more concotions...

You can also try Paprika's twist on the classic Old-Fashioned, blended with lychee syrup and bitters. Or try something totally new and different. Paprika's unique Bacon and Eggs (P 375), a smooth blend with Jameson Whiskey, fresh lemon, egg white, and bacon infused with vanilla smoke. 

The cocktail is smoked with a lit cigar, adding that smoky hint to contrast with the sharp lemon, the creamy egg white and the deep notes of the premium scotch. Take a bite of the crisp bacon followed by a sip of the cocktail to complete the experience. If you still can't decide, have a chat with Mike, and he'll gladly run down the options. 

Comfort food tastefully and creatively redefined, making familiar flavors new and different. Executive Chef Mauriz Santos and his young team at Paprika have one goal: to make your dining experience an extraordinary one with a unique comfort food experience. And I think they've done a pretty good job. Time to get my Adobo Overload and Bagoong Pasta fix soon...and one more Bacon & Eggs cocktail too.

Paprika is located at the 2nd Floor, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Tower, 25th and 26th Streets, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call425-9621, 856-5008, 0906-356-9660, and 0919-201-8927 for inquiries and reservations. 

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