October 01, 2013
After launching the Vask Tapas Bar featuring traditional Basque cuisine, he is now ready to launch his signature 14-Course Modern Asian-European Degustacion. It's an exciting integration of his learnings from the top fine dining restaurants in Spain, using modern gastronomy techniques and infusing Asian flavors and ingredients.
This is THE degustacion that Manila will be known for in the culinary world, something we can all be proud of! :)
(WARNING: It is best to experience the degustacion without reading this post and just let Chef J. Luis surprise you and introduce you to his signature dishes.)
Here's a photo essay of our experience at Chef J. Luis' 14-Course Modern Asian-Western Degustacion...
Chef J. Luis “Chele” Gonzales was very excited after hosting all the top chefs in Manila for a Chef's Table preview of the degustacion.
One of the chefs raved about it saying that this was the best meal they had in Manila in 7 years.
(Note: The Aperitivo is included in the degustacion. From October 1-15, receive a complimentary bottle of cava for a reservation for two.)
Each dish is presented and explained by the chef himself.
It is recommended to eat this from left to right. First, the parmesan liquid explodes in your mouth as you pop the xiao long bao-inspired presentation.
It can sit up to 20 people but they are initially opening with a max of 14 seats. You can book the whole gallery for one group in one night.
The next course is silky-smooth and flavorful tuna topped with a refreshing lemon grass ice cream, inspired by his trips to Vietnam. It is served with dry ice smoke that oozes out, providing a dreamy effect.
TIP: The best way to eat this is to first taste each ingredient separately -- the fish, the beetroot, the frozen powder, and the olive marmalade...
All of the dishes featured in the degustacion are really good, but there are highlight dishes like this one that would literally blow your mind! :)
Can you imagine scooping out a combination of sea urchin with foie gras powder, beer foam, and clam flavors?
Chele described it as a combination of "bitter taste, iodine, and ocean".
Thanks to my blogger friend, Jean of Trip or Treats and co-owner of Vask, for inviting me to the taste test of Chef J. Luis' degustacion.
Also, check out Cheryl Tiu and her own experience of VASK’s new 14-course degustacion menu.
BTW, you can opt for a shorter degustacion menu, and this is one of the dishes they would remove.
The flavors here are more straightforward. Soft and juicy lechon topped with vanilla sauce, and pumpkin pasta for the carbs.
The seabass is silky-smooth...they know how to prepare their fish! The green peas are pureed and formed back into little pea-shape spheres to give that popping, juicy effect. I also love the fat of the Iberian ham and its sweet tocino flavor.
Check out the background of this dish from Chef J. Luis.
It's crisp outside but super creamy inside, shaped into a marshmallow, resting on a pair of mini-branches.
Cut, bent, and welded metal sheets in automotive paint-finish
"Inspired by the gumamela (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), the artist uses this red flower from childhood memories to create a monumental metal sculpture for the picturesque grass lawn by the lakeside. The performations on the metal petals create playful light-and-shadow effects on the landscape, depending on the time of day. The openwork design also recalls the weave patters in native straw hats that are often worn for a promenade in the sunlight."
"Young architect, interior designer, and visual artist Carlo Calma had lived and trained in London and the United States for several years. He is currently fascinated by the contrast between analog and digital realms, and is inspired by socio-cultural differences in society and its effects on daily life and the environment."
Foie Gras and banana? YES, it works! You have to eat it with the crispy banana for added texture and the coffee sauce to complete the flavors. It's like your Banana Cue with Foie Gras?
The highlight of the main dishes is this American Wagyu, cooked medium-rare to get that smooth fatty texture.
(Note: In most fine dining places in the world, according to the chef, they won't ask you how you want your meat done because they want to cook it the way it should be appreciated.)
This is a pre-dessert, the course in between the meat mains and the actual dessert. It's like eating a cold garden-fresh salad with hints of truffle.
Check out the Chef's explanation of the Roger Rabbit, which is one of his favorites.
You eat it from right to left, with the Parmesan fondue first, then the gorgozola ice cream, and finally the goat cheese snow. A unique cheese platter that all of us were raving about. :)
This was a good dish of chocolate balls paired with ginger ice cream, with bits of strawberry and a subtle mangosteen flavor.
This is Vask's signature dessert of mini-pearls, cream, and green tea ice cream.
The degustacion ends with a serving of chocolates on a mirror plate -- chili calamansi and salt, then chocolate sponge with wasabi ice cream and milk flakes, and finally, lemongrass pomelo chocolate.
You can actually taste all the hard work that goes into the conceptualization and execution of the entire feast. :)
Overall, I love the unique combination of textures and flavors in the dishes, and the playfullness of everything without trying too hard. It's a degustacion that Manila has never tasted before. :) I like that you can finish and enjoy the degustacion without getting too full by the end.
Hats off to the passionate Chef Chele for making us proud with the knowledge that we can execute this kind of degustacion in the Philippines! Compliments also to Carlo Calma for the innovative designs to enhance the degustacion experience. :)
I do hope they add a rice component in one of the courses to stay true to the Asian roots. I also hope the quality of service improves to be at par with the food, the culinary team, and the chef.
A must-try! Best to eat here for a special occasion like your anniversary, or with close friends who appreciate good food and are open to flavor possibilities. Budget is about $115/head.
VASK 14-Course Degustacion: Carluccio Menu
VASK’s 14-course degustacion tasting menu has 14 seats every Tuesday to Saturday, dinner time only.
P4,900/head inclusive of VAT plus 10% tax.
Additional P1,500/head for wine pairing degustacion.
VASK MODERN TAPAS & GASTRONOMIC CUISINE
5th Floor, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue Corner, 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(Beside CVC Law Building, near The Goose Station and St. Michael the Archangel Church in BGC)
Related Blog Posts:
- OAP | VASK: Traditional Basque Cuisine and Modern Gastronomy
- Cheryl Tiu | VASK’s new 14-course degustacion menu
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Live an Awesome Life,
P.S. Thank you for the wonderful company in this historic launch of Chef J. Luis Gonzales' 14-Course Modern Asian-Western Degustacion!
P.P.S. Here's the new Vask Gallery Degustation Lakbay Menu & Alamat Menu