The past month has been a gleaming reminder that the F&B industry is raring to go now that the situation at this point in the pandemic is slowly undergoing a transformation. While the health crisis doesn’t seem to be letting up with the various variants emerging, cases still being registered, and the threat of a new outbreak looming, the gusto to get back to some kind of familiarity through a range of new products and restaurant openings is no less inspiring. Here’s a tasty roundup of the food updates bound to heat up your palates.
Bring these ‘damn delicious’ doughnuts home
At first glance, Jersey Bakery’s Damn Delicious Donuts look too decadent to eat. But surprisingly, this offering of six Filipino flavors (namely Turon, Kamote Q, Honeymansi, Champorado, Taho, and Ube, Ube, Ube) over a thick and soft brioche has just the right amount of sweetness.
Pinoy favorites are deconstructed into savory toppings and creams, like a chocolate ganache and rice puffs for Champorado, a honey glaze and calamansi curd for Honeymansi, and soy milk pudding, sago pearls, and sugar syrup in a dispenser for Taho. The only downside to these complex creations is that they must be consumed immediately as some glazes melt and the natural ingredients are best eaten fresh.
Cult favorite Your Local goes regional and global for the weekend
Asian mainstay Your Local has long been a cult favorite for its flavor-rich menu and hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. Now helmed by Patrick Go of GochuGang and Dripp, the chef sees himself celebrating the Makati institution with a new weekend brunch menu that’s both simple and superlative. Bold and eclectic flavors abound, sometimes one on top of the other—yet it all works in the deft hands of Go.
Scan the menu and the energy is palpable. Go’s intention, he says, is to display the strengths of Your Local and inject his fine sensibilities, whether through the pair of kaya toasts (brown butter or pancetta), the luxurious beef brisket hash croissant, or the parma ham sourdough toast with maple cream cheese and poached egg.
You can also expect a melting pot of heavier fare on the menu that, while hinting at classic regional cuisine, doesn’t actually suffer from the heavy hands of most who attempt these kinds of modern interpretations. The chili crab and chicken congee is the clear star. It’s a gorgeous bowl of congee that delivers the right heat, sharpness, and slight sweetness all at once; you’ll want to scoop all that crab meat, chicken, tamago, and mantou croutons in one big bite.
We would have wanted sweeter and lighter varieties in the savory-heavy mix but either way, this a bold take on modern Asian brunch.—Eric Nicole Salta
Bun Appetit is back—finally—with new items
Seafood sandwich shop Bun Appetit, known for its lobster roll, has new items exclusive at its Salcedo Saturday Market pop-up in celebration of its eighth anniversary: open-faced bagels. Smeared with cream cheese on top of toasted garlic and sesame-crusted bagels are premium seafood options: shrimp with avocado (P350), smoked salmon (P350), crab meat (P395), and ikura or salmon roe (P650). They’re available from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting Aug. 6.—Christian San Jose
Shake Shack debuts its ‘darkest’ sandwich yet
Is this the new chicken sandwich you need in your life? Quite possibly, if your tastebuds constantly long for a hot kick. While technically not a new product for the US fast casual restaurant chain (it first introduced the Chicken Shack in 2015), the sandwich gets a makeover for the Asian market: a darker chicken thigh meat is slow-cooked in a buttermilk marinade before being dredged in seasoned flour and crisp-fried to get that juicy mouthfeel.
Each bite is a savory, spicy, and tangy banger, thanks to its hot sauce slaw and kosher dill pickles combo and the fact that the meat retains most of its moisture. Some may want a bit more heat before they consider this a hit, though. It nods to the original version, sure, but it’s a sandwich that won’t fade into the background.—Eric Nicole Salta
A brief appreciation of ‘dreamy’ new restaurants
City of Dreams Manila’s Shops at the Boulevard seems to be having the time of its life with new restaurant openings that elevate dining out this side of Manila. First, there’s the 148-seater Mango Tree—the eighth outlet in the country—brimming with Thai flavors and opportunities for private dining. The pla neung ma-naow (steamed sea bass, chili, lime, lemongrass, basil, tom yum, served with seafood sauce) is a must as is the phad phong karee (signature crab meat with egg and yellow curry sauce).
Meanwhile, Rossi Pizza is a no-frills and casual trattoria that does Roman-style pizza quite well, thanks to its scrocchiarella (light, crispy texture) dough, which consists of five different flours made with Italian grains, water, olive oil, and salt, and matured in 18 hours of low temperature. Find a table to sample the capricciosa pizza (with prosciutto cotto, champignon, artichokes, and olives) or the quattro formaggi (with parmesan, gorgonzola and taleggio cheeses).
Lastly, it’s all about samgyeopsal, Korean beef, Wagyu, and US beef ribs at J. Park Garden Korean Restaurant. This latest F&B addition won’t be a well-kept secret soon for anyone keen on doing the grilling themselves or simply watching from the sidelines and plunging into the bulgogi jeongol (beef hotpot), kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), and mul naengmyeon (cold wheat noodles).—Eric Nicole Salta