After seven long months, Gallery by Chele will be restarting its dine-in service. Guests can choose from a five or nine-course tasting menu—or simply opt to dine á la carte. The dining experience can be further customized with the addition of small and big plates in the menu.
The upscale restaurant is known for a dining experience rooted in Filipino heritage—but one that is not bound by it. The very inventive Chele combines ingredients, techniques, cultures and traditions together. The flavors of the Filipino culinary heritage and the world are evident on his every plate.
Consider some of the new dishes: Kare Kare Bon Bon is peanut praline, beef cheeks and bagoong mayo; and the Uni Crisp, which is pomelo, cacao nibs and alamang. And those are just from the “Bites” list. There is also the Cebu lechon on a taco, with sweet potato and mushrooms; and an escabetche mackerel with Sherry wine and jamon.
The Kare Kare Bon Bon is presented like one of those very trendy tabletop plant sanctuaries, but it’s really an amuse-bouche. Chele says it has the most familiar flavor of the kare kare, but the stew is frozen in ball form, “and then we put achuete tempura so it it’s crispy and juicy as a bonbon.” The dish is served with bagoong mayo to complement the balls’ flavor.
Meanwhile, the Uni Crisp is a delicate-looking okoy cracker topped with fresh uni from Siquijor, pickled cacao nibs and pomelo—or perhaps another seasonal fruit. The Gallery is big on using mostly ingredients that are in season, whether it’s in the food or the drinks.
“Dining with us is therapy for the soul,” says Chele. “As our guests take a journey around the Philippines, Asia and the world through our menus, we hope to set our guests free.”
Fans of Chele will remember that the quarantine period saw the launch of his Home Spanish Signatures, a takeaway menu option. Included were dishes inspired by the chef’s childhood and his mother’s home cooking. These dishes will also be on offer as Gallery by Chele reopens.
“The first few months during the community quarantine were a challenge,” says Gallery by Chele’s chef and partner, Chele Gonzalez. “As we grappled with the reality of this pandemic, my team and I struggled to figure out how to keep our Gallery family safe and secure. Now, we feel more self-assured.”
According to Anne Bestoso, restaurant manager, the establishment has adapted safety measures for the benefit of both diners and staff. But while kitchen and front of house sanitation have always been a must for Gallery by Chele, “Our challenge now is how to seamlessly weave our dining experience with necessary health and safety protocols, maintaining that sense of easy elegance the guests have come to expect,” says Bestoso.