Fresh Pasta Is the Star at This Quiet Salcedo Restaurant
This Italian spot is the answer to the perennial question: "Where to eat?"
Q&A Kitchen + Bar
2/F ACCM Building, 102 San Agustin Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Contact: 8478-8788; 0917-859-5678
Open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Friday), 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) “To be, or not to be, that is the question,” William Shakespeare once wrote. But if you’re wondering where you should be eating next, then Q&A Kitchen and Bar could have the answer.
“Q&A actually also stands for Quality and Attention,” shares general manager Joyce Oreña. The “attention” part of their name translates to the exquisite detail and clean lines of their space in a quiet part of Salcedo. Everything is bespoke just for Q&A, with interior designer Eric Paras in charge of the look of the entire space. From the tables and chairs to the hexagonal tiles on the wall, and the unique little touches, everything was hand-picked just for the restaurant.
The restaurant is divided into two distinct parts, with the “kitchen” on one side and the “bar” on the other. The “kitchen” section has a long open window so you can see the chefs preparing your meal. It is a comfortable area, as many kitchens within happy homes are, where conversation flows naturally. The ambience of the space easily lends itself to good conversation with friends and loved ones as you wait for your food to be served.
Q&A’s fresh ingredients, which are sourced from different parts of the country and the world, are used completely, with nothing going to waste. The Pan seared prawns, sliced handmade preserved lemon and pickled Basque peppers with squid ink aioli crostini (P775) are served with each juicy prawn lovingly plated; a sweet succulence beautifully balanced with the briny squid-ink aioli and bite of the pickled peppers.
If you want a lighter start to your meal, the Tomato compote, bread and olive oil salad with a mollet egg and crostini (P385) is the answer. This comes with homemade ciabatta bread that you can dip into a combination of roasted peppers and slow-roasted tomatoes, served together with creamy soft-boiled eggs with rich and jammy orange egg-yolk centers.
But the handmade pasta is the star at Q&A. Fresh pasta that is “made today, gone today” is the golden standard Q&A adheres to. There are traditional pastas on the menu, combined with modern flavor profiles and combinations.
There’s the Garganelli and “fall-off-the-bone” beef brisket Borguignon (P795),Q&A’s version of boeuf bourguignon, the classic French red wine stew from France’s Burgundy region. The beef brisket is braised in full-bodied Burgundy wine, then stewed with carrots, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and a bouquet garni or a small bundle of herbs with thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. This deeply rich stew is then served over handmade garganelli pasta, with the tender beef stew perfectly paired with each firm bite of the pasta.
Meanwhile, pici is a traditional handmade pasta from Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia. They are long, irregular spaghetti noodles that have origins in ancient Italy. Q&A’s version, the 9-hour-braised-then-grilled polpo, Chef’s squid ink “pici”, tomatoes, garlic and chillies (P595) has smaller-than-usual pici noodles that are big in flavor from the succulent octopus mixed with the full-bodied, umami-rich squid ink. The acidity from the tomatoes, garlic, and chili, is just what’s needed to round out this dish’s rich flavors.
While Italian food is known for making you feel full—the kind that makes you want to take a nap immediately after—don’t skip on dessert. The Olive oil ice cream in crushed black pepper sandwiches, shaved pecorino, blackberries and oregano sprigs drizzled in extra virgin olive oil (P250) is far from the usual ice-cream sandwich. The cookies are made with almond flour, the same used for traditional French Macarons while the olive-oil ice cream just begs to be tasted. With the first bite, it suddenly just makes sense: smooth, nutty, and fruity without being too intense. The rich buttery notes of the olive-oil ice cream complement the saltiness of the pecorino cheese and the juicy tart burst from the blackberries. The zing of the black pepper and the surprising sprig of oregano that lends its astringent taste to the mix round everything together nicely and cleanses your palate, all at the same time.
For those who like their desserts creamy and rich, go for the heavenly Butterscotch and Maldon sea salt budino, caramel and cream with amaretti cookies (P255). This luxurious end to your meal packs an indulgent punch with each spoonful as the cream, butterscotch, and caramel take you to the moon and back with every rich bite.
With great pasta, a laid-back yet gorgeous space, and attention to freshness and quality, Q&A Kitchen + Bar may just be the right answer to the perennial question of “Where should I eat?”
Photos by Jericho San Miguel