Friday, May 12, 2023

Spanish Interlude : Chef Rob Pengson Unveils A New Chapter with a New Menu at Beso Beso

Fresh, creative and inventive, Chef Rob Pengson is a man on a renewed mission bringing new life to Spanish asador, tapas and paella culture as another chapter unfolds driven with a more defined purpose. An all-new menu awaits diners as Beso Beso turns a page masterfully written by Chef Rob Pengson. Here's a peek at the all-new menu at Beso Beso...

The long days of the quarantine experience placed everything on hold while imposing major changes on our daily routine. After the pandemic, new beginnings provided a fresh start for many and for Chef Rob Pengson that means a taking a deeper dive into Spanish cuisine with a refreshed perspective and purpose. Tradition with a touch of contemporary and playful inventiveness, Chef Rob Pengson celebrates new beginnings as he unveils his own take on modern Spanish cuisine in a lavish new menu at Beso Beso rolling out in the first week of June. Chef Rob is back. Read on for a tasty peek...

Located at the second floor of the Autometics Center along Chino Roces Extension in Makati, Beso Beso is the working kitchen of Chef Rob Pengson's own Aleanza Institute of Arts. Derailed by the pandemic, Chef Rob recalls his pivot to food delivery with the Aleanza Kitchen during the quarantine to stay in business and remain relevant. Managing both business and personal issues often wearing multiple hats during the pandemic, Chef Rob is ready to transition to doing what he loves. And that's working in the kitchen for both the school and the restaurant. The kitchen gets that much needed attention, and Chef Rob is all business this time around. Laser-focused shutting out all the clutter and distractions, Chef Rob promises an all-new dining experience at Beso Beso.  

Beso Beso previously highlighted Filipino-Spanish cuisine, but Chef Rob is ready to take it further inspired by his culinary heroes like Ferran Adria, Dabiz Muñoz and the Roca brothers. In a dramatic reinvention, Chef Rob embarks on a more personal culinary journey taking diners for a flavorful ride. 

Inside Beso Beso, the stage is set for Chef Rob's reignited passion to light up the simple yet elegant space. White linens, eye-catching art pieces and the open kitchen become distinct elements woven seamlessly into a cohesive blend tied together by the new dishes at Beso Beso.  

Beso Beso's reinvigorated culinary style represents Chef Rob's own reinvention for a celebration of new life. This new attitude and curiosity opens up a world of possibilities and experiences at Beso Beso, as Chef Rob boldly steps forward to rediscover flavors and culinary techniques with a more straightforward and sustainable approach using the finest ingredients for real flavors. 

At the exclusive preview, Chef Rob Pengson shares his new menu along with an impressive selection of premium ingredients. It all starts with the very best ingredients and nothing less... the finest Manchego Curado from the La Mancha region of Spain. "You don't live by bread alone, my good Sancho," with a wedge of Manchego making any meal even the simplest more special and complete in true Quixote style. It's said that both Miguel de Cervantes and Ernest Hemingway loved a good Manchego with a passion, and Chef Rob takes this classic and traditional Spanish staple as the base for his novel Spanish inspired dishes at Beso Beso.

Spanish charcuterie including Chorizo and Blood Sausages become part of Chef Rob's premium arsenal in the kitchen for a variety of creative dishes...

...along with the much-prized Iberico Secreto from Spain's very own and iconic black pigs. Widely recognized by many as the "Wagyu of Pork," the Iberico Secreto is known for its buttery texture due to its long grain and striped dense marbling giving it an indulgently rich finish. This special cut from the back part of the loin next to a layer of fat is just one of many culinary highlights at Beso Beso.

French Pigeon, sous-vide to a juicy and fork-tender finish also takes the spotlight in Chef Rob's repertoire of new dishes like his Paella del Dia or Paella of the Day which changes daily depending on the ingredients and what's fresh on the market. 

The meat of the matter at Beso Beso comes in the form of the txuleton, fork-tender aged grass-fed prime Ribeye simply seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked both in the pan and the oven for that seared outer layer and juicy pink center.

Armed with prized and premium ingredients from the Manchego, Spanish charcuterie and sausages, French Pigeon and aged grass-fed Ribeye to Iberico Secreto, Chef Rob assembles the elements for his new menu at Beso Beso. Fresh off the kitchen, our feast began with a trio of tasty starters... 

...of Croqueta de Manchego Curado drizzled with Truffle Honey, Boquerones and Jamon Iberico. The croquetas are perfectly executed with that silky smooth and buttery center draped in a lightly crisp outer layer of breading for textural contrasts. 

The croquetas can be ordered individually at Beso Beso, but enjoying all three is highly recommended. Each has its own distinct and unique flavors, best enjoyed with a glass of wine for that perfect start before the sumptuous mains. In a creative twist, Chef Rob approaches the classic Spanish dish like sushi offering a wide range of toppings. The result? Inventive croquetas layered with a variety of flavors. And it works. 

The buttery notes of the soft and delicately crisp croqueta are kicked up by the deep and mildly salty savory notes of the Jamon Iberico for that balanced finish...

...while the vibrant briny notes of the Boquerones or fresh anchovies adds fresh and clean flavors to the palate made richer with the soft croqueta.

The Croqueta de Manchego Curado with Truffle Honey brings a complex yet delectable play on sweet and salty notes in a seamless weave with each tasty bite. The Manchego Curado, with its deep, creamy and mildly salty hints are perfectly tempered by the Truffle Honey rounded out by the soft and crisp croqueta

For Chef Rob, the Spanish croqueta becomes a blank canvas layered with a colorful palette of flavors. And just like sushi with its wide array of toppings, the croquetas at Beso Beso offer infinite possibilities. 

Chef Rob then adds his own whimsical touch to another Spanish classic, the traditional Gazpacho. A chilled tomato soup with anchovies, crisp migas and basil, Chef Rob adds piquillo sorbet to keep it at the right temperature. That's right, a sorbet stuffed inside a pepper. It's a neat trick, and adds flavor as well.

The bold, tart notes of the tomatoes tease the palate, followed by a complex weave of flavors from the basil, anchovies, migas and the piquillo sorbet with its sweet and smoky hints making it the perfect soup for summer. 

Next, Chef Rob delights your palate with the Huevos Rotos, a poached egg dish with chorizo, black truffles, crunchy croutons and Spanish paprika. Comforting flavors, elegantly plated enjoyed with each spoonful, it's a deceptively simple dish that reminds you why Chef Rob is still at the top of his game.

The bold notes of the Spanish Chorizo tempers the richness of the poached egg with the Spanish paprika adding even more layers of subtle even nuanced smoky hints capped by the black truffle finishing it with a flavorful depth. Leave it to Chef Rob for transforming the usual poached egg into something much more lofty and even sublime for flavorful surprises.   

Inside the kitchen, Chef Rob's specialty Paella del Dia gently simmers...

...and served at its flavorful peak. Chef Rob's savory and sumptuous Paella of the Day is a flavorful number topped with Morcilla or blood sausages, French Pigeon and Cabbage on soft and fluffy saffron enriched rice. It isn't your usual paella, and that's what makes Chef Rob's ever changing Paella del Dia one of the most anticipated dishes in the new menu at Beso Beso.

The savory richness yet delicate notes of the tender port glazed French Pigeon and the bold upfront flavors of the Morcilla combine for one of the most unique paella dishes I've tried to date. The sweetness of the cabbage and the moist rice infused with all the flavors of the different ingredients with its crisp socarrat below completes the flavors. 

Chef Rob already has a long list for his Paella del Dia in the next few weeks for the June roll-out of the new menu at Beso Beso including Lomo, Negra with Pulpo and Scallops and even Adobo. And that's definitely something to keep in mind when you're craving for something more than the usual and traditional paella.

The preview for the new menu at Beso Beso then shifts to high gear with the Articulos De Carne, a savory sampling of Filete de Ternera, Iberico Secreto and Txuleton served in the classic Basque tradition romanced by the grill. Chef Rob complements the savory trifecta with garden fresh and crisp Romaine lettuce drizzled with his own Garlic Milk and Onions, a smooth aioli with black pepper and extra virgin olive oil loosely inspired by the special sauces of popular burgers. The premium meats are served without any sauces (a good slab of meat just needs salt and pepper) and the Garlic Milk and Onions is the perfect finishing touch to the trio of premium slabs of fork-tender meats.

The Iberico Secreto brings that melt-in-your-mouth and buttery richness to the palate with its dense marbling, it's literally a cut above the usual pork. A subtle sweetness follows the flavorful burst of richness, lingering on the palate as it slowly releases even more decadent notes. Slow cooked for eight hours before being seared as a final step, the Iberico Secreto is served medium rare with a juicy pink center served with sides of mashed potatoes and crispy fried onions. 

Pork plays an important part in Spanish cuisine, and Chef Rob honors the tradition with one of the world's finest with the Iberico Secreto. The addition of premium meats in the new menu of Beso Beso like Iberico Secreto not only elevates the dining experience, it's a reflection of Chef Rob's continuing journey deep into Spanish cuisine.

Next, the grass-fed Ribeye...

...adequately rested before being carved into slices. Aggressively seasoned with salt and pepper, Chef Rob's maturity as a chef becomes all the more evident with his "less is more" approach to real flavors. Chef Rob recalls the time he visited one of the world's best restaurants where meats were simply grilled low over charcoal forever changing his culinary mindset. Like they say, no need to clutter or complicate the good stuff.

The Fillet of Veal and Txuleton with Chef Rob's Garlic Milk and Onions rounded up the all-meat feast at Beso Beso. Tapas, paella and asador are the highlights of Beso Beso's all-new menu, while premium ingredients and masterful execution completes the fresh narrative created by Chef Rob.

The Filete de Ternera, Iberico Secreto and Txuleton becomes the epic finale in the preview of Chef Rob's new menu at Beso Beso, and one more slice just seals the deal. 

From the savory notes of the Filete de Ternera and buttery fork-tender Iberico Secreto to the clean beefy flavors of the aged grass-fed Ribeye, diners can now enjoy premium cuts at Beso Beso along with his other tapas and paella creations for a refreshed take on Spanish cuisine.

Chef Rob has all the pieces in place for a sumptuous dining experience at Beso Beso, and he's definitely back bringing new life to Spanish asador, tapas and paella culture.

Completing the weave of flavors at Beso Beso is Chef Rob's intricate dessert for that perfect sweet ending...

The Leche y Mango, a milk and vanilla bean dessert with sweet mangoes and passion fruit concludes the exclusive preview at Beso Beso. From starters to mains and dessert, Chef Rob brings new and memorable stories to Beso Beso with a fresh menu drawing inspiration from his Spanish culinary heroes. 

The new menu will be officially launched by June 6, but if you can't wait, you can sample Beso Beso's temporary menu until June 4 consisting of an Express Menu, Tasting Menu and 15-Course Omakase. An A La Carte menu is also available that changes daily as a supplementary option. 

We've seen the highs and lows from the pandemic experience, but this is the best version of Chef Rob yet with his renewed vision and focus on real flavors. Experience it yourself and watch it all unfold starting June 6 at Beso Beso...

Beso-Beso is located at RM 101 of the Second Floor at Aleanza Institute of Arts, Autometics Center, 2257 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati, 1231 Metro Manila You can also call 0917 179 2562 for inquiries and reservations or visit their FB Page at for more updates.  

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