Monday, January 12, 2015

Open The Red Light: A Preview of Bait's Seafood Restaurant

The red light's on, and something's cookin' along Makati's bustling Felipe Street...

The Red Light features an exclusive peek at the creative culinary style of the metro's newest dining spot, Bait's Seafood Restaurant.

The Red Light is a concept kitchen and bar, and also the corporate office of the same group behind Hatch 22, Pink Panda, and other restaurants. The Red Light is a culinary lab used for menu development and exclusive events such as private tastings and pop-ups. And when the red light is on at The Red Light, you can expect new and exciting flavors... 

And The Red Light was busy that Saturday evening for an exclusive private tasting of Bait's Seafood Restaurant's signature dishes. Chef Joseph Margate heads the new restaurant, bringing with him a wealth of experience including stints as Executive Chef at Boston's Clink Restaurant, San Francisco's Jardiniere, Seattle's Lark, and New York's prestigious Eleven Madison Park. Educated at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and even nominated by Food and Wine Magazine as People's Best New Chef in 2012, Joseph Margate returns to his roots and dives right into the metro's booming restaurant scene with the soon-to-open Bait's Seafood Restaurant. Chef Joseph Margate takes on the freshest seafood with his own unique spin, combining classic European with Latin American and Asian flavors. Here's a sneak peek at Bait's Seafood Restaurant's menu by Chef Joseph Margate...

For starters, Chef Joseph Margate introduces traditional Spanish and Mediterranean flavors with Boquerones Sky Flakes, fresh anchovies delicately marinated in vinegar, olive oil, garlic and parsley with crackers.

Chef Joseph Margate then weaves his own unique style in the next round of seafood dishes incorporating different flavor combinations, like the Tuna Tartare in Lemon Oil with Pickled Mustard Seeds. The clean, fresh flavors of the premium tuna are enhanced by the subtle acidic notes of the lemon-infused oil and delicate sharpness of the pickled mustard seeds.

The creative fusion of flavors continue with the Red Snapper Crudo with Green Tomato Water, Sambal, and Katsuboshi, combining the clean flavors of raw red snapper with the subtle tartness of green tomatoes, the spicy kick of the Asian sambal, and the smoky notes of the dried bonito flakes. Each ingredient delivers its own unique layer, combining for balanced flavors.

Squid a la Plancha, Sofrito, and Chicharron, tender squid grilled on a metal plate laid on a bed of sauteed peppers, tomatoes and spices topped with crispy pork rinds. The delicate smoky notes of the grilled squid are complemented by the intense flavors of the sofrito, and the chicharon adds contrasting textures to complete the dish. The blend of rich flavors and textures makes this one a personal favorite.

Next, Chef Joseph Margate served his pasta dish. Fresh Pasta with Bottarga, Broccoli, and Breadcrumbs, with soft yet firm flat noodles enriched with salted cured fish roe. The bold notes of the bottarga provides all the flavors in this dish, complemented by the broccoli and bread crumbs for texture. Simple, rustic yet hearty and comforting with rich flavors.

Chef Joseph Margate then served another dish with yet another playful combination of flavors, Grilled Prawns on White Beans topped with Parsley and Chicken Skin. The grilled, plump prawns deliver a delicate briny sweetness complemented by the rich and crisp chicken skin and finished by the seasoned white beans. The play on flavors using the freshest ingredients, each executed to perfection, makes this another memorable dish.

Octopus and Pork Belly Salad with Salsa Verde, a refreshing salad made even more flavorful with the addition of tender pork and smoky grilled octopus. The fresh and crisp greens, coated with a rich salsa verde dressing, is flavorful on its own. The richness of the pork belly and grilled octopus add even more rich layers of flavors to complete the dish.

And while at The Red Light, complete your experience with their handcrafted cocktails... The Red Light's Boulevard Felipe, a sweet yet smoky and robust blend of Johnnie Walker, Vermouth, St. Germain, Grapefruit, Bitters, and Campari. The sweet flavor profile balances the bold smoky notes of the premium scotch, and you'll definitely go for another round.

Looking for something with a tropical vibe? The Reefer, a smooth and creamy blend with Rum, Dalandan Liqueur, Lemon Juice, and Coconut Milk, should do the trick.

Chef Joseph Margate and his team, chefs Robert and Vanessa, then plate the next dish...

Torched Mackerel on Red Lentils with Crispy Pig's Ears, with the upfront flavors of the mackerel balanced by the red lentils. And the crispy pig's ears adds another playful element to the dish, with its rich flavor and texture.

A classic reinvented, Mussel Chowder with Apples, Potatoes, and Chives, is served next. Plump mussels in a traditional creamy broth, becomes new and refreshingly different with the addition of sweet apples.

Tilapia, Turmeric, Cauliflower Couscous, and Nuoc Cham, with a unique blend of sweet, sour, and spicy notes. Chef Joseph Margate draws inspiration from Vietnamese flavors, adding intense notes to the delicately flavored fish.

With clockwork precision, the final dish is then plated...

Grilled Swordfish on Salsa Criolla with Fried Yucca, an elegantly plated dish inspired by Spanish and Latin American flavors. As with all dishes served, the fresh seafood remains the focal point, playfully enhanced by a combination of other flavors. Each dish has a unique twist, making it new and different, and the private tasting of Bait's Seafood Restaurant at The Red Light seems to be an indication of more good things to come from Chef Joseph Margate.

The Red Light is located along Felipe Street (across El Chupacabra), Makati. Stay tuned for more updates on the soon-to-open Bait's Seafood Restaurant.

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