It isn’t every day we get to make decisions that can alter life as we know it. But when it comes to choice selections like figuring out what fit to wear or picking out the perfect food and beverage pairing that can work for any occasion, there truly are some decisions that pay off big time.
Some Love is a Manila-based natural wine importer owned by the husband-and-wife team of Justin and Vanessa Apolonio, who, fun fact, are actually industrial and chemical engineers, respectively. Formerly based in Perth, Australia (and close to a wine region at that), the couple are finally bringing their love for and knowledge of natural wines locally. And what better way to fuel the spark for these small-batch beverages produced from grapes grown without chemicals than with a zealous collaboration with Asian cuisine’s poster boy himself.
The unorthodox collaboration stems from Go’s menu inspired by Korean, Japanese, and Chinese flavors—without knowing the available Some Love wines initially. Only after handing the menu to Justin and Vanessa did they all scrutinize the possible pairings to reach the culmination of this tasty partnership. Fortunately enough, “the wines transformed the flavors,” Go says.
“We thought of wines that would be quite intense and lively so they would go well with the food,” says Justin, confirming that unlike the usual food and wine pairings where the chef tastes the wine to create the menu, they decided to do it the other way around.
“We thought of wines that would be quite intense and lively so they would go well with the food,” says Justin Apolonio, confirming that unlike the usual food and wine pairings where the chef tastes the wine to create the menu, they decided to do it the other way around.
But it works. Quite excellently, too.
Kicking off the six-course tasting menu are the Brie with whipped cheese and yuzu pork floss on sourdough, the Kimbap with cured tuna, sesame soy, and rice, and the Yukhoe with salmon tartare, ssamjang, daikon kimchi, and lemon on mantou. These are then paired with the refreshing and fairly light 2022 Delinquente “Weeping Juan” from South Australia. The bubbly rose with notes of strawberry and cream particularly brightens up the potency of the salmon tartare as it slides off the tongue with each bite.
It’s a stirring opener to set the tone for the rest of the dishes that crackle in a way that Go so deftly does in his culinary career and in a manner that complements the natural wines in Some Love’s arsenal.
For instance, the Drunken Chicken (poached chicken, xiaoxing wine, ginger scallion beurre blanc, and lumpfish caviar) offers a shot of comforting joy with the creamy beurre blanc acting like a welcome tonic for the night. It’s straight out of the Go playbook of polished yet bold creations.
On the Ochazuke, a glistening bowl of halibut, dashi broth, white ponzu foam, and a bonito XO sauce on nori gohan, each bite explodes with a warm exuberance, thanks to the aptly cooked halibut and loaded broth.
Both dishes are subtle in their own right, which pave the way for the elegant and rich notes of ripe citrus, mineral, and butter bottled in the 2020 La Soeur Cadette ‘Chablis’ chardonnay even more of a delight.
Lastly, the 2021 Domaine Bobinet ‘Hanami,’ a vibrant and aromatic cabernet Franc with deep, earthy, and fruity notes, descends into a kind of Japanese cherry blossom viewing party profile (hence the name) as it cuts through the lavish morsel of Cantonese-style beef complemented by kale, black garlic, cauliflower, and Gran Padano. The Berry and Potato (strawberry “bingsu,” sesame, honey butter potato, and matcha mousse) lightens things up to end the dinner.
The special collaboration is happening on Apr. 27 and 28 with seatings for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for P3,640/pax (excluding 10 percent service charge). To book a slot, reserve through tasteless.ph.