Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Black Truffle Affair at Rambla

Described by the culinary icon Brillat-Savarin as the "diamond of the kitchen", truffles are highly prized the world over. And for one evening at Rambla, I get to experience this most unique 'shroom in a variety of dishes, including some very cool cocktails. 

For a limited time, Rambla offers the prized black truffle with its unique cocktails and dishes in a celebration of flavors with this "diamond of the kitchen"...

Stored in an elegant silver case, the black truffles are brought out only at the last minute when the dish or cocktail is ready to be served and topped with this precious mushroom. It was my first time at Rambla, and there's nothing like black truffles to make it even more special. From the same group behind Las Flores, Rambla offers modern and inventive Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine. And that night, Rambla's cocktails and starters get an indulgent spin with the black truffle.

One of Rambla's partners and resident mixologists, Giancarlo Mancino, prepares the first cocktail for the evening. As the different components for the cocktails are laid out, Giancarlo then proceeds with blending each of the components in a rapid series of movements, almost like a performance.   

Then, the elegant silver case is brought out, as Giancarlo picks up the precious truffle and shaves thin shards over the cocktail...

Rambla's Dirty Black Gin Martini (P 850+), a smooth blend of Hendrick's Gin infused with Lucania Black Truffle with Mancino Vermouth Secco and topped with shards of black truffle. It's a classic cocktail reinvented with an indulgent truffle twist, making it entirely new and different. And that pretty much sums up Rambla and their unique take on authentic Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine, reinventing classics with a modern and even playful spin.

The truffle infused Hendrick's Gin, with its own unique blend of botanicals is smooth and easy, but the fresh shavings of black truffle adds the finishing touch, with its subtle yet rich nutty notes balancing the cocktail's clean flavors.

Rambla's Chef Pepe Lopez then surveys the open kitchen as the line chefs prepare the first round of dishes...

Seated by the bar, you get a full view of the open kitchen layout. Up close, you too can experience a unique peek at the inner workings of a professional kitchen. I've always been fascinated with the open kitchen concept, exuding that honest "what you see is what you get" vibe, adding to your dining experience.

Rambla's Goat Cheese Mini Pizza (P 245), with goat cheese, smoked aubergine, red bell pepper and tomato sauce, and for that evening, the mini pizzas are topped with shaved black truffles. The rich notes from the goat cheese and subtle sweet sharpness from the bell peppers combine for a medley of flavors, enhanced even more by the subtle nutty hints from the black truffle. Paired with a Rambla's Dirty Black Gin Martini, you simply can't stop. Seriously good.

Chef Pepe Lopez then serves with his Arroz Caldozo (P 750 good for two) with prawns, clams, Jamon Serrano, and saffron, a hearty and comforting rice dish. The thick broth is rich and buttery, and the Jamon Serrano adds that distinct sharpness to the dish for perfectly balanced flavors.

And there's more. Rambla's Crispy Chicken Skin & Prawns (P 465), with a plump prawn topped with Jamon Serrano on crisp chicken skin. The contrasting textures from the crisp chicken skin, the fresh snap of the prawn, and the soft and chewy Jamon Serrano combined with their layers of distinct notes release a burst of bold flavors in every bite.

Truffled Bloody Mary Gazpacho (P 1,100+), a rich cocktail with vodka, Rambla's own secret and tart tomato base and truffle pinxito. I like the play on the traditional gazpacho with a "bloody mary" punch, and the flavors are rich with the vodka's flavor forward kick. Add some indulgent black truffle, and you get a complex blend of flavors in a glass.

Giancarlo then whips up the final cocktail with a sweet note. Rambla's White Chocolate Liquid Dessert (P 850+), a sweet cocktail with rum, Frangelico, and black truffle cream. Creamy, sweet, and with the nutty notes from the black truffle, it's the perfect cocktail to cap your round of drinks.

Chef Pepe then whips up a classic Italian dessert to pair with the rich and creamy White Chocolate Liquid Dessert cocktail...

...Rambla's very own Tiramisu, topped with thin shards of black truffle. Black truffles from cocktails to starters and dessert, and an awesome first-time experience at Rambla.

Owners Dani Aliaga, Chef Pepe Lopez, and Giancarlo Mancino invite you to experience the unique flavors of the prized black truffle with Rambla's special cocktails and dishes. Different, playful, and inventive, something you can expect at Rambla. But better hurry, the black truffle's going fast...

Rambla is located at the Ground Floor, Joya Building, Joya Drive, Rockwell, Makati City or call 823-6468 for inquiries and reservations.

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