New Restaurant Alert: ArroZeria at Century City Mall, Makati
Paella is king in Chef Chele Gonzalez’s restaurant.
4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca Street, Makati City
Contact: 217-6563; 0920-974-4742
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) At ArroZeria, rice is the hero. This is a place that embraces those soft, supple grains, relishes them, and highlights them in one of the many great ways that makes rice truly stand out-through paella.
Vask head chef Chele Gonzalez gives diners a more casual approach to authentic Spanish food with one-week old ArroZeria, where people can enjoy straightforward Spanish cuisine the way it's supposed to be prepared-without fuss. Except for the servers who’ll fuss over you as they explain the very descriptive menu.
Chef Chele Gonzalez highlights paella exceptionally well, educating us on its different variants. Pick your paella consistency (thin and al dente, how it’s enjoyed in Spain, or soft and wet, which often appeals to the Filipino palate). You can opt for the classic Valenciana (P295), perfectly firm rice with chicken, rosemary, and green and white beans; the more indulgent Pato y Setas (P375), with a generous amount of duck and mushrooms; or the modestly delicious De Verduras (P275), covered in seasonal vegetables.
For a taste of more uncommon paella variants, there's Caldoso paella, which is soupy; Meloso paella, which is saucy; Risottos, which are delightfully creamy; and the bestselling Fideua, made up of thin noodles. The Negra Fideua (P275) is an instant standout. It’s not the most snap-worthy dish, but try to look deeper. The thin al dente noodles covered in squid ink and speckled with tender squid and octopus, are so delicious, you’ll forget to be conscious about squid-ink-stained pearly whites.
Be patient and allow a good 30 to 45 minutes preparation time for the paella, Caldoso, and Meloso. If you’re incredibly excited, the fideua and risotto take a slightly shorter waiting time of 15 to 20 minutes. Served tableside, one bite will let you know that good things do come to those who wait.
Carpaccio de Atun
While rice is the star at ArroZeria, the tapas are worth paying attention to, as well. A refreshingly light Carpaccio de Atun (P195) steals the spotlight early on in the meal, thin slices of fresh tuna speckled with crispy jamon and speckled with calamansi foam playfully teasing the palate. Egg lovers can add another egg-centric dish to the growing list with the Huevos Rotos (P275). This appetizer completely satisfies-a simple dish of two poached eggs, potatoes, spicy chorizo, and caramelized onions that pack a huge, savory punch. Hearty dishes like Cochinillo (P650) or Bacalao Confitado (P450) can accompany your arroces, too.
La Guapa and La de Siempre
The sangria definitely shouldn't be overlooked. Hefty mason jar glasses filled to the brim, the refreshingly fruity La Guapa (P195), a rose variant, is incredibly easy to guzzle down, while the La de Siempre (P195), with red wine and fruits, is a little heavier, but just as refreshing, making these two perfect complements to a heavy meal.
Spanish fare should be fun, vibrant, and flavorful. At ArroZeria, you'll find all of this and more, thanks to Chef Chele's meticulousness and passion for creating dishes that are true to his cultural Spanish roots. This alone is an experience worth sinking your teeth into.