Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

May 14, 2012

STELLA, Sister of Chelsea & the Star of BHS Central

May 14, 2012

STELLA, Sister of Chelsea & the Star of BHS Central

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STELLA is a wood fire bistro that offers light and fresh cuisine, specializing in wood fire oven-cooked dishes. A brainchild from the creators of Museum Cafe, it is also a sister resto of Chelsea -- not a rehashed concept, but something totally new and exciting.

It is envisioned to be the Star restaurant among all the Bonifacio High Street Central establishments. It offers the best value for money (relatively affordable) with its unique and high quality dishes.

We pre-celebrated Mother's Day in Stella, and here is what we liked and didn't like about it...

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:

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Stella is located on the lower ground floor of the East Superblock of Bonifacio High Street Central. For families, this is the best location because it is near (and has a good view of) the fountains.

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Instead of combining the bar with the restaurant -- like what gastro pubs or vinotekas would do -- they decided to totally separate the bar called Rocket Room, which is just adjacent to Stella.

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Rocket Room MenuRocket Plates (Wood Fired Pizza, Panini Pressed Sandwiches, Pasta in a Bowl, Salad) & The Rocket Hour, Mariana La Bonita  and Rocket Plates (Hot, Cold) & The Rocket Hour, The Cocktail Lounge at the Rocket Room (The Rocket Room's house-made Infusions Jars, Crafted, Classically Twisted)

Rocket Room caters to the drinking and lounge crowd. It is still open in the late hours, even after Stella closes.

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Rocket Room serves tapas and pica pica. You can order dishes from the Stella menu.

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They serve sangria, wine, vodka and a P35 San Mig Light draft during Happy Hour (4-7pm).

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They designed Stella and Rocket Room differently for more efficient operations and to cater to different target markets -- Stella for families and casual diners, and Rocket Room for the young set and professionals (which is essentially the two biggest dining crowd segments).

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Stella MenuPasta in a Bowl, Fire & Smoke, Rice & Other Things, VegetablesWood Fired Small Plates & Snacks, Panini Pressed Sandwiches, Salad, Soup, Wood Fired Pizza | Sweet Stuff, Dessert Wines, Coffee Drinks, Loose Leaf TeasWine & Beer

In contrast to Rocket Room, Stella is more homey and has a brighter ambiance; it is conducive for family gatherings and celebrations.

Now, on to the food...

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The complimentary bread was good, and the tomato-and-herb dip was refreshingly different.

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★ The Stella Salad (P295 +10% service charge). Butter Lettuce, Crispy Bacon, Sundried Tomato Bits, Candied Rosemary Pistachios, Buttermilk Chive-Ranch Dressing, Malagos Pecorino.

This was a very balanced and well-composed salad. Fresh vegetables, sweet milky-creamy dressing, shredded malagos white cheese, and a wonderfully crumbly, chicharon-crisp bacon... What's not to like?

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Even the boys loved the salad, particularly the flavorful dressing.

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★ "Green" Maccheroni (P395 +10% service charge). Merguez Meatball Ragout, Green Leek Cream, Malagos Pecorino.

A unique pasta dish with its curry-like, leek-based sauce and big, homemade meatballs. This was more of an adult-pleaser (the boys are not fans of anything exotic to their taste).

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★ Stella's Porchetta (P395 +10% service charge). Pork Belly Roll Stuffed with Double Smoked Bacon, Fennel, Herbs, Served with Warm Rosemary Sultana Sauce.

Their version of Lechon Kawali was interesting: the un-chopped pork belly was served with bacon and paired with a sweet sauce. It's yummy! Ask to have it chopped similar to liempo.

They said they also do a wood-fired cochinillo, like Pepita's Kitchen by Dedet Santos.

The Side Dishes

We loved the various side dishes that you can order to complement your main dish, but they can also be the highlights of your meal.

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★ Spanish Chorizo & Garlic Fried Rice (P95 +10% service charge) topped with fried Garlic & Fresh Herbs vs. Yellow Basmati Rice (P95 +10% service charge) Middle Eastern Spices, Green Peas, Fresh Herbs, Topped with a Roasted Tomato.

We ordered two versions of rice, and the Spanish Chorizo version unanimously captured our hearts versus the buttery Basmati Rice. They should have used turmeric to provide the yellow color instead of butter.

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★ Fire Roasted Butter Corn (P75 +10% service charge). Porchetta Bits, Peas and Onions.

We also loved the butter corn, which made a good appetizer. Its serving portion could also be a dish in itself.

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We ordered the corn for the kids to have something to eat while we waited for the main dishes.

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★ Wood Fired Mushrooms (P195 +10% service charge). Fresh Herbs, Drizzled Butter.

For the vegetarians or those who want to be healthy, you can order a side dish of mushrooms.

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★ Wood Fired Roasted Sweet Pumpkin (P75 +10% service charge). Topped with Ricotta, Toasted Almonds.

This was sweet like sweet potato (camote) but with a good roasted flavor. We ordered this also for the kids.

The Wood Fired Dishes

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Indian Spiced Chicken "Brochettes" (2 pcs. - P395 +10% service charge). Cilantro, Onion, Orange Slaw, Warm "Tikka" Jus.

These Indian-inspired chicken kebabs with shredded cucumbers and onions on the side were delicious! The wood fire roasting gave the dish a totally different taste experience. Best to eat it while hot.

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Spanish Chorizo Stuffed Prawns (6 pcs. - P520 +10% service charge). Garlic Slivers, Herb and Pernod Butter Breadcrubs, Fresh Lemon.

The stuffed prawns were also good with a nice flavor contrast and a crunchy texture from the breadcrumbs. We found it a bit expensive, though, on a per piece basis.

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★ Salted Baked Gindara Fillet (400g - P395 +10% service charge). Light Dill-Citrus Cream, Citrus Bits.

The highlight of our meal was this thick Gindara fillet coated with salt and baked in the wood fire oven. The salted cover was opened as it was served. We loved the clean, healthy taste of the fish meat. You have the option to dip it in the buttery sauce (which actually defeats the purpose of eating healthy). :)

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The gindara fillet was cooked on a bed of onions, with herbs and more onions all around it.

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Butcher's Best (P325 +10% service charge). Homemade Garlic-Fennel Sausage, Double-Smoked Bacon, Pepperoni, Red Onions, Fennel Dust, Fresh Rizal Dairy Mozzarella.

The pizza was ordinary and had a thick, chewy dough and simple combinations of toppings. Better to go to Aria or Nolita if you want pizza.

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Roasted Tomato "Margherita Rustica" (P350 +10% service charge). Fresh Thai Basil, Roasted Garlic Confit, Fresh Rizal Dairy Mozzarella.

They didn't have a five-cheese version so we ordered the simplest pizza. We did not like it because the pizza was burnt and the juicy baby tomatoes sort of destroyed it for us.

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★ Stella's Wood Fired Chocolate Almond Cookie Dough (P195 +10% service charge). Salted Caramel, Rosemary Pistachios, & Topped with Mantecado Ice Cream.

We loved the dessert -- a whole cookie dough with a thick layer of salted caramel, topped with Mantecado ice cream, which was wood fire-baked before serving. Sarap!

Thing is, it was a bit too sweet for us. Maybe adding more walnuts or other ingredients to neutralize the sweetness would make this even more awesome.

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The boys were satisfied with dessert, which is very important to cap a great meal.

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Congrats to the promising Chef Kalel and Chef Karen of Stella!

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Overall, I love Stella's wood fire bistro concept -- serving light dishes and using wood fire cooking to bring out the best from each ingredient.

If you're after unique flavors, check it out. (Just stay away from the pizzas.) It is relatively cheaper compared to some other Bonifacio High Street Central restos (budget P500/head). It is best for celebrations and if you are looking for a feel-good happy resto. :)

STELLA, Wood Fire Bistro
7th Ave. corner 29th St. South, 
Ground Floor, East Superblock 
Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Telephone Number: +632 621 3222
Facebook: Stella & Rocket Room
Operating Hours: Daily 11.30am to 2.00am

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:

Live an Awesome Life,

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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals. We are not connected with the establishment or any organization marketing the restaurant.

P.S. We are planning to go back and try the Rocket Room. If you have tried it, let me know what you think.


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