Saturday, October 5, 2019

Carnivores on Deck: The Carnivore 4-Hands Dinner at Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant

Sinigang, lechon baka, sinampalukan, bistek...just some of the classic and familiar local flavors that nourished and delighted our palates growing up. In one special evening, Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco transforms these popular Filipino favorites using some of the world's finest beef, lamb and pork...

Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco collaborate for a meaty affair with Carnivore, A Four-Hands Dinner at Discovery Primea's elegant Flame Restaurant reinventing classic Filipino flavors with premium beef, lamb and pork. Think comforting local flavors with prime cuts from Snake River Farms and you get the picture. Read on for an elegant take on local flavors with a savory and meaty spin...

Carnivores on deck as Discovery Primea hosted a memorable dinner with a special collaboration of Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco last October 1 at Flame Restaurant. Noted culinary icon Chef Sau del Rosario draws inspiration from his Capampangan roots while Chef Luis Chikiamco adds his masterful twist on Asian flavors in a seamless collaboration of Filipino flavors with Carnivore, A Four Hands Dinner.

The stylishly refined and modern interiors of Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant is the perfect stage for the unique culinary collaboration, matched by the impeccable service of the staff. Since my very first visit three years ago, Flame Restaurant has been on my list of favorites.  

Chef Sau del Rosario is perhaps one of the country's leading advocates of Filipino cuisine, and his dining establishments in Pampanga continue to draw raves with their repertoire of inventive Filipino dishes (for more on Chef Sau del Rosario, see my previous posts, From Page to Plate: Chef Sau del Rosario's 20 Years of Love + Cooking from his book launch, Flavors of Pampanga: Farm-to-Table Dining at Chef Sau del Rosario's 25 Seeds showcasing his elegant take on traditional Filipino dishes and Flavors of Pampanga: Samsaman, A Capampangan Boodle Fight with Chef Sau del Rosario at 25 Seeds). Chef Sau's culinary journey, spanning more than two decades, is lavishly presented in each of the dishes served that night at Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant.

Discovery Primea's very own Executive Chef, Luis Chikiamco, weaves his own masterful spin on Asian-inspired flavors at Flame Restaurant (for more on Flame Restaurant at Discovery Primea, see my posts, Igniting the Next Culinary Standard at Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant on my first visit back in 2016, Flame Restaurant Fires Up For Lunch from three years ago, Power Lunch at Flame, Cocktails at Edge... on their lunch and cocktails, Firing Up New Dishes at Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant, and Let's Talk Irish the Bord Bia Dinner in Discovery Primea's Flame). It's a collaboration that explores Filipino flavors, pushing it with the use of world-class beef, pork and lamb. 

Each dish for the Carnivore, A Four Hands Dinner was paired with a selection of fine wines from one of America's longest, continuously-operated family-owned wineries, Wente Vineyards. Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California's premier wine country destinations with its expansive estate vineyards in Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco. From their signature Morning Fog Chardonnay and Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc to their Riva Ranch Pinot Noir and Sandstone Merlot, the rich yet nuanced notes of each wine added that perfect finishing touch to each dish. 

Filipino-inspired Antipasti were served before dinner including Mini-Fresh Lumpia with mildly sweet peanut sauce...

...the tart Ensaladang Lato (L) with tomatoes, salted egg, shallots and fish sauce and fresh Tuna Kilawin (R) with vinegar, chili and red onions. The refreshing and bright notes of the appetizers open up the palate for the first of six courses at Carnivore, A Four Hands Dinner... 

Our formal dinner began with a deconstructed local classic, the Home-Cured SRF Wagyu Beef Brisket "Sinigang sa Bayabas" served with fresh market vegetables, guava and Dalisay Rice. As the broth was poured, that familiar fragrant aroma of sinigang triggers fond memories of childhood meals with the family...

The fork-tender Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Brisket adds a savory richness to the broth, perfectly balanced by its sweet and sour notes from the guava, tomatoes and vegetables. Each sip and bite drapes the palate with the familiar tartness we all love, finished by the bold and beefy flavors of the tender beef brisket. The Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc from Wente Vineyards cleanses the palate with its clean and crisp notes.   

For the second course, the Kurobuta Pork Belly "Char Siu" with soft and flavorful egg noodles, fresh bok choy, leeks and cucumber was served. In typical Flame style, the dish is presented with a Chinese take-out box.

The juicy pork is layered with sweet and smoky hints, complimented by the egg noodles and vegetables.

The rich and pronounced flavors are perfectly paired with the Morning Fog Chardonnay by Wente Vineyards with  its subtle floral hints. 

The familiar is once again transformed in another dish paired with the ubiquitous pandesal. The SRF Wagyu Beef Sirloin "Lechon Baka" with Malunggay Pandesal and Tomato-Chili Jam is another inventive spin on local flavors playing with sweet, spicy and savory notes.

The sweet and mildly spicy Tomato-Chili Jam drapes the Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Sirloin with bright notes, capped by the subtle sweetness of the malunggay pandesal for a savory rich bite. A sip of the Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir cleanses the palate with its velvety smooth finish.

Nostalgic flavors are highlighted once more with the fourth dish, the US Rack of Lamb "Sinampalukan" with tamarind glaze, sweet potatoes and pumpkin...

...served with a side of Guinataang Sigarilias. Like all of the dishes served earlier, Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco weave contrasting notes in a delicate balance with the savory richness of the tender lamb complemented by the tamarind glaze. The guinatang sigarilias, with its fresh crispness and creamy texture completes the dish, pairing well with the Sandstone Merlot by Wente Vineyards.

Fresh from the Josper Grill, the fifth course was served. The Josper-Grilled SRF Wagyu Ribeye Cap laid on "Bifstek Tagalog" sauce and served with mushrooms and Dalisay "Sinangag" was an impressive course infused with local flavors.

The beef on its own is just packed with so much flavor, it's amplified with the lightly sweet bifstek sauce and nutty, earthy mushrooms. This is the familiar bistek, elevated. The dish is paired with the Charles Wetmore Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon by Wente Vineyards.

And yes, the Dalisay Sinangag adds a comforting touch to the dish. From antipasti all the way to the last course, Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco transforms familiar favorites into something new and refreshing with their reinterpretations of Filipino dishes.  

Our sumptuous feast was capped by the ornate and delicate Brazo de Mercedes con Mais, formed in a corn shape complete with the husk and "hair" made from sugar. The dessert first feeds the eyes before the palate. One bite and the indulgent brazo de mercedes just melts in your mouth coating it with a decadent sweetness.

The unique collaboration allowed guests to rediscover Filipino cuisine with a refreshed palate, appreciating it even more with the masterfully-executed dishes by Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco. Each dish was a celebration of Filipino flavors at Carnivore, A Four Hands Dinner.

Wine glasses were raised followed by an applause from an appreciative crowd, it was another unique and memorable dining experience at Discovery Primea's Flame Restaurant. Bravo, Chefs Sau del Rosario and Luis Chikiamco!

Flame is located at the 16th Floor of Discovery Primea, 6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati City or call (632) 955-8888 local 71610 for reservations and inquiries.

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