Valentine date suggestion: Rastro at BGC

By Joko Magalong

Posted at Feb 13 2014 09:26 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2014 05:26 AM

Rastro’s Paella Catalana. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA -- Still haven't decided on where to celebrate Valentine's Day?

The tapas bar and restaurant Rastro, located at Burgos Circle at Bonifacio Global City, presented its Valentine’s menu, as well as new dishes, to a select group of food writers and bloggers on Wednesday night.

Rastro’s Valentines offering, dubbed “It Must Be Love,” includes a set meal, romantic ambiance and even live music for diners.

Even those going solo on February 14 can order a special set (P598) of salad and soup, main course of either sole or beef salipcao, dessert and a glass of sangria.

For the couples, the Set A (P998, good for two) features soup, salad and a tapas platter with crowd favorites Bolita Negra (Paella Negra rice ball), Croqueta de Chorizo and Tinapa Triangles.

Pollo Iberico. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

DIners will also get the Pollo Iberico, which is organic chicken marinated for 36 hours in olive oil, and slow baked. The chicken is tender and flavorful and the accompanying marble potatoes and garlic are heavenly.

The set also features Rastro’s Paella Catalana, with saffron organic rice and paella staples shrimp, squid, mussels, chorizo and pork. This one of Rastro’s bestsellers for a reason.

Dessert is a choice between the rich Tocino Del Cielo, a creamy dessert made solely from egg yolks, sugar and water; the Triple Chocoalate Silk, which has layers of chocolate mousse with a delightful Oreo crust; and Rastro’s version of the Floating Island, a quenelle of meringue with dulce de leche and caramel, as well as two glasses of Sangria Blanco.

Set B (P1,898, good for two) aims to impress, as it features all of Rastro’s bestsellers like a platter of fresca (raw), Florentina (with cheese and spinach) and Pancetta oysters, followed by Verduras a la Perilla, consisting of grilled zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and shitake mushrooms in a nice balsamic glaze. The vegetables were sweet, succulent, and as we found out, organic.

Valentine set menu B. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

The tapas platter is also included in the menu with the addition of Huevos Rancheros, potato strings with a poached quail egg on top, the crispy and the soft meshing together beautifully.

Diners also get a platter of Chistorra (chorizo). Made from organic and farm raised pork, Rastro's chorizo is spicy, tastes of Spanish paprika, and gives a different dimension to the dishes that they are served in, for example, the paella. Also included are perfectly tender gambas, and a basket of bread.

Unlike Set A, diners get the full three desserts, as well as two glasses of their refreshing Sangria.

Rastro's Valentine’s offering will be available from February 13-16. The first 30 people to reserve will get a free shots from Rastro’s fine bar.

New lunch menu

During Wednesday's event, Rastro also launched three sandwiches that will be added to its lunch menu.

Organic pork chorizo sandwich. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

The Manchego with Jamon Serrano sandwich featured the famous Spanish ham and the nutty cheese. I found that this sandwich had the least aggressive taste among the three -- it was light and, of course, Jamon Serrano is always a delight to eat.

If you’re looking for a robust sandwich, I would recommend trying the Organic Pork Chorizo, with bits of their artisan chorizo with a lot of caramelized onions, fragrant and sweet.

Vegetarians can also enjoy sandwiches in Rastro with the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. With zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and pesto, this sandwich was my favorite, as it was refreshing, light but still flavorful.

Alcohol and bacon

Tapas were really invented to be enjoyed with alcohol and Rastro is a great place to enjoy both. Tasty tapas like the ones mentioned before, and more.

Preparing the TCT martinis. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com

Like the Bourbon Bacon, a slab of bacon marinated in Jack Daniels, which is sweet and salty. When you have that right cut of meat to fat ratio with the caramelized sugar and the salt, it’s an explosion of bacon goodness in your mouth, perfect to drink with a sweet cocktail, a robust red, or even a sweet white.

Speaking of cocktails, we were given the TCT at the start of the night. TCT, which stands for Tita Cynthia’s Tea, is essentially an Earl Grey martini, wonderfully presented first in a tea pot, and poured into sugared martini glasses. It was sweet and refreshing. Definitely shaken, not stirred.

Or if you’re into the classics, Rastro makes a really good Sidecar, as well as really tall strawberry mojitos.