New on the Menu: Alamat at Vask Gallery
Chef Chele Gonzalez is once again showing the potential of Philippine produce.
Vask Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine
5/F Clipps Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City
Tel. Nos. 217-6563, 0917-806-5292
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Chef Chele Gonzalez could have chosen to work in the kitchens of the world's best restaurants. Instead, he decided to set up camp in Manila, tour and forage the country, and build his own reputable establishment. His recently released Alamat menu at Vask Gallery only reinforces his capabilities. Much like Kulinarya, this particular degustation champions local ingredients and presents them in ways that would make you gape in awe. It has over 15 courses, so best prepare your appetite because you’ll want to enjoy each play on flavors and textures.
Okra with Bagoong Ash
Oyster with Upo Seeds
"Alamat means ’legends,’ and I learned that it’s almost always linked to folkloric subjects like fruits, vegetables, and animals," he says. "I thought it would be a nice term to use to tell my own legends on how simple local ingredients [could] be used in a variety of ways." Each dish has its own story, and Chef Chele is present at the dinners to narrate the inspiration behind his creation: like how Claude Tayag (of Bale Dutung) introduced him to buro, how he discovered alibangbang leaves during his travels, or how his first taste of taho blew his mind.
We won’t spoil the storied surprises. Instead, here’s a teaser into Chef Chele’s brilliant culinary frame of mind.
Not the isaw you know. Instead of barbecued pig or chicken intestines, this is seafood. Shrimp has been pureed, processed like noodles, skewered, and grilled for a toasty yet delicate bite. This is part of the Binondo starter sampler, which also includes mini empanadas with longganisa and siopao with quail egg adobo.
Ravine. What lies beneath the debris of pumpkin pebbles is a mound of aligue from blue crab and coconut meat. The cold dish, which also comes with avocado cream, is finished off with buko soup, poured tableside. Everything on the plate has subtle flavors, lending only enough sweetness and brine to make a loud impression.
Buro. Mustasa leaves hover over a bed of crisp and meaty pieces of catfish and buro. The real star of the show is the latter, which has a pronounced but not overpowering zing, allowing the saltiness from the fish and sweetness from the pickled onion to carry through and dance with the rest of the ingredients. This dish will have you sighing in contentment.
The Buen Viaje.
With tablea sauce
Buen Viaje. It's a kooky take on champorado, matched with cubes of baked mango. It may look dry and worn but inside it's warm and creamy. A bar of Kalinga sticky heirloom rice is bathed and covered with deep and bold-tasting tablea sauce. The mango offers contrasting flavors and textures.
3/11. The white masterpiece is presented with dulce de leche, milk meringue, and a wafer-thin milk skin. Here, three kinds of milk (carabao, goat and, cow) take on 11 different textures-from tibuk-tibok to pastillas de leche.
Vask Gallery's Alamat menu is a gastronomic meal worth relishing, as interpreted by a great storyteller.