Update 12/21/2018: As featured in 10 Best New Restaurants in Manila (2019 Homegrown Edition)!

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Chef Josh Boutwood’s Helm offers one of the best degustation experiences that’s certainly not to be missed in Manila. After the successful opening of Test Kitchen and Savage, Helm’s 10-seater theatre dining experience is his best one yet.

It’s like Chef Josh’s culinary playground where he unleashes his creativity after managing Bistro Group’s culinary empire. At Helm, he is in charge, and it’s awesome to see the chef having fun and to have a taste of it with every plate.

 

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Ingredients. What I like about Chef Josh’s Culinary Philosophy is that he pays attention to the ingredients first, especially the local ones but not limited to these. All the ingredients used during the degustation are displayed and you can ask what’s the story behind each and every one of them.

Technique. After the ingredients, he would think about the best culinary technique—from using sous vide, Excalibur dehydrator, liquid nitrogen or using the Big Green Egg to unleash the flavors and the best textures.

Experience. With Helm’s live theatre dining experience, everyone has a front-row seat from which to watch the handsome chef create culinary magic and be hypnotized by his British accent. You don’t get full after the 14-course degustation because they don’t use carbs (except the bread), yet your mind, palate and heart are all satisfied.

 

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Take note, you have to buy a ticket to dine here with two seating options. The Degustation Menu concept changes every quarter.

The blog feature below is a spoiler, so best not to read it.

HELM by Chef Josh Boutwood
G/F The Plaza, Arya Residences, Mckinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City
(Just below Savage also in Arya Residences)
Facebook: helmmnl
Telephone: +63 906 234 1900
Websitehttps://www.joshboutwood.com.ph/

Buy your tickets P3,500 for 6.00pm or 8.30pm seating.

Chef Josh Boutwood Related Blog Posts:
 THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay)
• Going SAVAGE! (Created by Chef Josh Boutwood)
HELM: Chef Josh Boutwood at the Helm of Manila’s Best Degustation Experience!

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Every seat is good, but you might want to request for the end seats for a little more privacy.

 

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The holiday menu starts from November and ends in January, featuring the monochromatic-inspired course, zigzagging from black to white.

 

Snacks

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The snacks are not part of the official courses but a carryover from the original menu.

 

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Smoked Bangus savory tart with buckwheat ash shell topped with shavings of Malagos’ Queso Rustico and horseradish eaten in one bite.

 

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Les Fossiles Riesling 2016 by Domaine Mittnacht Freres (Alsace, France) – 3.7 Vivino rating

Drinks are separate from the ticket price and you can request for a wine pairing for your degustation meal.

 

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Cured Local Pork Neck on top of Lavosh chips with caraway seeds (used in papadum).

I should have asked for one more of this delectable chip.

 

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Broth of Blood Clam from Batangas with cilantro and fresh pandan oil.

A nice way to clean and excite the palate. Wish there was a piece of clam in it.

 

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Brioche Bread topped with fennel seeds served with cultured butter with chives and slice of home-cured smoked chorizo.

The bread was soft and fluffy, not buttery and not too heavy despite it being the only carbs in the degustation menu.

 

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It’s awesome to see Helm’s young Filipino culinary team at work—Mikee, Rocel, Enzo, Agnes, Cedrick and Leeroi.

 

Appetizers

 

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black: mussel, ink, eggplant, black garlic

Best to eat the black mussels with bits of tapioca chips, burnt eggplant, burnt egg puree and black garlic.

 

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purple: cabbage, duck liver, ube

Duck liver parfait topped with fried preserved cabbage served with dehydrated and emulsified ube. (Like ube foie gras?)

 

Main Dish

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green: seabass, dill, pistachio

Animo steamed sea bass on a bed of green pea puree, mussel juice with dill oil, topped with pistachio bits and shavings of dehydrated sea grapes (lato).

 

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Etna Rosato 2014 by Tenuta delle Terre Nere (Etna, Italy) – 3.7 Vivino rating

A nice crisp orange wine to pair with the lighter main courses.

 

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yellow: egg yolk, kasubha potato, chicken

Poached free range egg yolk with Costales certified-organic chicken in a potato spuma flavored with kasubha (local saffron version used in goto) and topped with dehydrated quinoa bits.

 

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According to Chef Josh, he is an introvert, but you can ask him anything about Manila’s dining scene, and you’ll be surprised with his answers.

 

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orange: lapu lapu, sweet potato, roe

Second fish course of Trout with shredded dehydrated tomato served with sweet potato, trout roe, marinated tomato and cosmo flower.

 

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Corriente 2015 by Telmo Rodriguez (Rioja, Spain) – 3.7 Vivino Rating

You’ll never go wrong with a good red from Rioja to pair with the meats.

 

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red: beetroot, beef heart, cabbage vinegar

Braised beetroot with watermelon, hazelnut, vinegar on red cabbage, amaranth herb and a katsuobushi of secret meat.

 

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The secret meat is cured ox heart thinly sliced like bonito flakes with a katsuobushi shaver for added umami.

 

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brown: pork loin, mushroom, munggo, sampaloc

Slices of Pork Loin on a bed of roasted glazed mung bean stew (monggo) with caramelized onion puree and pork jus.

My least favorite color and flavor in the degustation.

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grey: ox tongue, tendons, ash

Cubes of Lengua (Ox tongue) glazed in coco sap served with heart of palm charred and pureed, heirloom rice, mustard leaf ash and dehydrated tendons.

This gets our vote for the best course of the night.

 

Desserts

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pink: dragon fruit, pomelo, strawberry

Pomelo dumpling not made from mochi but from a gelatinous enclosure served with dragon fruit meringue, strawberry kuzu finished with dehydrated strawberry. Yum!

 

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blue: blue berry, blue ternate, yoghurt

Blueberry ternate, cheesecake and crumble with yogurt. Yes, Blue and White for the win. 🙂

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To end, a signature treat of nitrogen dessert to cap the entire night.

 

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white: coconut, pandan, macapuno

Coconut pandan mousse with kaong, dehydrated macapuno and coco ice for texture.

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Ask for their freshly brewed Sagada single-origin coffee to pair with your dessert!

 

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Ending with mini-bites of ube creme puff, calamansi squares and mochi mango.

 

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They serve the British teapigs signature tea blends like Apple & Cinnamon.

 

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Thank you to Chef Josh and the Helm culinary team for an awesome degustation experience in Manila!

 

Final Thoughts

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What I like about the experience is that it is not stiff and you actually enjoy every course because it is substantial in size but not as filling.

It feels like watching a live Madrid Fusion presentation of a Scandinavian Chef with a British accent passionate about the best, including local, ingredients with toys in the background.

The Bistro Group is so lucky to have Chef Josh as their executive chef and it’s just awesome to taste the food that he creates.

 

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Final tip: Chef Josh sticks to timelines so the experience starts at exactly 6.00 pm, and if you are late, you’ll miss the first few courses. It’s like going to a movie theater where there is no rewind button.

The 6.00 pm slot is good because you are sure you are out by 8.30 pm but the courses are a bit hurried. The 8.30 pm slot is the best to allow time for traffic, and it’s perfect if you really want to enjoy the night with Chef Josh.

Remember, you have to buy the ticket, and they will serve even if there are only two persons during that slot.

 

HELM by Chef Josh Boutwood
G/F The Plaza, Arya Residences, Mckinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City
Facebook: helmmnl
Telephone: +63 906 234 1900
Websitehttps://www.joshboutwood.com.ph/

Buy your tickets P3,500 for 6.00pm or 8.30pm seating.

Chef Josh Boutwood Related Blog Posts:
 THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay)
• Going SAVAGE! (Created by Chef Josh Boutwood)
HELM: Chef Josh Boutwood at the Helm of Manila’s Best Degustation Experience!

 

Live an Awesome Life,
Anton
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com 

Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Josh.  I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.

P.S. You can ask for a copy of the the menu for your souvenir. 🙂

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