New on the Menu: The Girl + The Bull at Aguirre Avenue, Parañaque
There’s no end to this duo’s culinary creativity.
The Girl + The Bull
346 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City
Tel. No. 0905-572-2556
Open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Thursday, Friday, Monday; extends to 11 p.m. on weekends)
(SPOT.ph) Sometimes, you have to wonder if Gab Bustos uses a paint brush to make his dishes. The perfect swipe of beetroot puree, the gentle sprinkle of salt, the precise layering of elements-they look like they should be hanging on the wall instead of sitting on the table. With photos and illustrations all over the restaurant, The Girl + The Bull is essentially an art space that finds an unlikely medium in food.
Like any other artist, Gab's creativity can't be relied upon to keep doing the same thing. The former 10-item menu has expanded to include 17 dishes, and even the legendary buttermilk fried chicken, available only on Fridays and Saturdays, wasn't exempted from his imaginative whims. The day we went was the first day of the new menu, and it was a no-chicken Thursday. "It used to be more like chicken and biscuits, but now it comes with vegetables," says Thea de Rivera, the "Girl" side of this budding duo.
As for the theme, Thea describes it as, "Whatever Gab feels like cooking." They're working on some stability now though. The two are set to open a new place in Makati, and Gab is now in a position where he has to shuttle back and forth. One can only expect that same sort of pizzazz that The Girl + The Bull is known for.
The cauliflowers (P280) are cloaked in buttermilk, which, for those who are there having those unlucky #chickensad days, might serve as a consolation. It’s far from the sweet maple balsamic of the chicken. Instead, the soft yet crunchy vegetables take on a more Asian flair: a tickle of sweetness from the kewpie mayo, earthy from a sleight sprinkle of green tea powder, a brush of heat from the gochujang.
Roasted Pork Belly
A sign of wilder ambitions is in the Roasted Pork Belly (P440). It's straightforward as is, but Gab takes inspiration from three culinary traditions and fuses them into one picture-perfect plate. The slab, glistening with hoisin jus (Peking duck), is sitting on a blanket of spinach dabbed with coconut cream and coriander oil (laing). Peanut crumble (kare-kare) trails around it.
You can tell that Gab thinks about more than just how the pieces are going to work for your taste buds. The elements, like that pop of magenta from the beet puree, always come together as a stunning presentation. It seems slightly too complex for something that's usually dressed more modestly, but one tender bite is a confirmation that this mix is just as relatable as it is novel.
Scallops and Foie Gras
Textures collide in their version of a po boy-scallops and foie gras (P510) with salsa verde in a homemade squid-ink brioche. Gab admits that the local scallops are tougher, which is why he adds those soft, melt-in-your-mouth pillows of liver. Balance, another important artistic perspective that plays an important role here.
There are newer desserts than the famous Faux Twix (P160), but some old habits are hard to break. You know what else? That Twix bar comes in earthy Matcha flavor. Off the menu, but it's a secret that's too good to keep to ourselves.