Classic and comforting dishes reign once again at Relik
Out with the tugstugstugs and in with the nomnomnom.
Relik Restaurant and Bar
2/F Commercenter Building, 4th Avenue corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) For the longest time, Relik was the "it" place in Bonifacio Global City, playing host to hard-partying 20-somethings looking for a raucous party to usher in the weekend. The tapas bar happily obliged and converted into a compact lounge where DJs commanded the wall of sweaty bodies with hypnotic beats. Soon, they became known more for their after-hours than their commendable Spanish/Continental cuisine.
Relik is all grown-up.
As the party crowd thinned out, the owners decided it was time to shift the focus back on Chef Benjo Tuason's kitchen stylings. This time, they believed a return to the classics was in order. "Just simple dishes," Chef Benjo shares, "But done properly."
SPOT.ph got to see exactly what he means. Co-owner Timo Roxas-Chua chuckles at the reaction they get from a lot of their guests. "''May pagkain pala kayo,'" Timo shares. "They're always surprised to discover that it's actually good."
We must say that their Nachos (P249)—meant to merely placate those who came hungry—is an immediate hit with the Gen-Xers in the table who unabashedly wolf down platter after platter of the freshly fried tortilla chips topped with a sweetish meat sauce, salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and cheese. It might have something to do with the fact that it tastes similar to a popular flapjacks place's tacos. And we do note that with much fondness.
Salpicao, Gambas, and Chorizig
The menu reads like a line-up of old family favorites, and Chef Benjo makes sure that the flavors hit the spot and perhaps stir up an old memory or two. That's what happened when we had some bites of their Salpicao (P359) and Gambas (P308)—both rich with aromatic garlic and perhaps a touch of soy sauce. It quickly brings us back to our first night out on the town, feeling mature and bravely taking that first swig of pale pilsen.
The Chorizig (P228) is their most popular bar chow, and for all the right reasons. This ingenious tandem between the paprika-laced Spanish sausage and sautéed bits of pork delivers the pinch of flavors you crave when imbibing.
For their mains, the simple and healthy Baked Salmon (P388) with orange sauce surprisingly catches our attention. It's that familiar classic done right, which will make sense to the mature dining crowd they are trying to attract.
Roast Beef Belly
Meat lovers will also find comfort in the Roast Beef Belly (P375) with mashed potatoes—slices of tender beef swathed in a thick demi-glace. Their Fried Chicken (P488) is a must-have, especially for sharing. It's reminiscent of that Sunday standard that your mom used to make.
Milo Dinosaur Cheesecake
End the meal with a Milo Dinosaur Cheesecake (P149), an airy refrigerator cake which transports you back to your childhood.
Besides the new floors and brighter interiors, what's really new in Relik is the vibe. With the time-tested dishes that are nostalgic and well-executed, it seems to be the perfect venue for a quiet dinner with friends and even a family lunch. Even the after-dinner entertainment, which starts at a relatively early 8 or 9 p.m., is toned down for a more mature market. Some evenings call for relaxed acoustic sets, while weekends offer more upbeat bands to get the crowd moving.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel