(SPOT.ph) We’ve made no secret of our love for Chef Josh Boutwood’s passion project, The Test Kitchen. It started with a phone call from Boutwood himself; he felt the need for more elbow room, to get really creative with his food. Turning the Bistro Group’s actual test kitchen into The Test Kitchen was a long and winding road for the chef, but in the end, it became somewhat of an intense playground of experiment—one that’s still reaping the rewards.
When it was announced in March 2018 that the restaurant would go into a “state of hibernation,” it was hard to imagine where—or indeed when—we’d see it again, or how it would look when it finally returned. But that’s the thing about Boutwood himself: It’s his willingness to think ahead, to take risks, to run circles around tradition, that makes his next moves hard to predict. When the restaurant did finally reopen in November 2019, all anyone knew was that they were in for something great.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say; hailed “…one of Manila’s most dynamic and progressive talents,” by CNN Travel, The Test Kitchen as it stands today combines techniques that are cemented in local cuisine with the magic of time. “These have been curing for years,” Boutwood explains to SPOT.ph, motioning to the hanging meats in the upstairs kitchen, “and you have to understand that time makes all the difference in the flavor. Down to the day we cut, [that kind of timing is very important].”
It seems simple enough—good techniques, good ingredients, a good head on the chef’s shoulders—but that’s the trick. Because of its simplicity, there are no bells and whistles to hide behind. In that, Chef Josh Boutwood’s reputation stands secure, and his awards more than justified.
The Test Kitchen is at G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City.
this strange new world.