Archive for March, 2012

Sous chef @ Olivar and founder of Irbille Edibles, Irbille Tablang Donia hosted his first ever Pop-up dinner offering Filipino foods with a twist of sophistication. It was my first time at Olivar but after this first experience, I can honestly say it will not be my last.

My wife and I were immediately greeted by our server and seated even though we were early for our reservation. Water was quickly served via glass bottle that was left for use to use throughout the evening.

The restaurant is small and very cozy. It’s a completely open floor plan that lets you look directly into the kitchen and see the organized chaos that takes place in a kitchen. Olivar gives you a “cottage-like coziness” with its hard wood flooring, dim lighting and wood tables/chairs throughout. There is a room in the back corner that could be used for a private party (sepertated by a curtain) that could probably accommodate a group of 10-12.

Our server (forgot her name unfortunately) was very attentive coming back a few minutes later to explain how the menu worked that particular evening and also told us the wine special. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I ordered the special and alI can say this; it was a red wine from Spain and it was good! Nice mild flavor that went well with the meal.

The Food:

small plates:

pork rillete with diced jicama and chives and crostini

kumamoto oysters with mango & shrimp mignonette (kilawin talaba)

braised carlton farms pork belly with sautéed brussels sprouts & tomato sauce (afritada baboy)

large plate:

 tempura black cod with tamarind risotto & green beans (pritong isda)

The Review:

The Oysters were smaller than I expected, but that didn’t matter at all. They were the perfect bite-sized oysters with flavorful mango and shrimp mignonette. Each of the oysters were served on top of dash of salt and when u put a little salt on top – it made them that much better! My wife doesn’t even like oysters and as soon as she ate the first one, she said, “They really good!”

The Pork belly dish was also awesome. I’ve never had brussel sprouts before this meal, and sadly enough, if any future brussel sprout I eat isn’t prepared and served like this, there’s a high likelihood,I won’t enjoy them. The pork was cook pefectly with a nice crust on the outside and a delicious combination of tender meat and butter-like fat on the inside. The tomato sauce added a perfect accent to both the vegetable and meat – a non-overbearing sweetness.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, one bite of this pork belly + brussel sprout + tomato sauce was one of the most flavorful and texturally delicious bites I’ve ever had!!!

The Pork rillette was also very tasty. Neither of us have ever had rillette before but we’re both glad we had it. It was nice spread that reminded me of another Filipino meat – longanisa! It went very well with the crunch of the baguette! The only down side of this dish was that there wasn’t enough baguette slices for all the spread!

Last but not least, the tempura cod and tamarind risotto. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in fried cod, but let me tell you, this cod was cook perfectly! It had a very nice crunch on the outside and super tender & perfectly cooked meat on the inside. It also had a hint of lemon in each bite. The risotto was delicious and very well cooked. The tamarind wasn’t overpowering at all. When you think tamarind, you usually think “mouth puckering” sourness, but it was not the case in this dish. It had a nice balance of sour and even a hint of sweetness to it. After speaking with the chef after the meal, he said his inspiration for this dish is the Filipino soup, sinigang (a very sour soup). The green beans were a nice side to this meal adding nice color to the overall presentation and firm texture to the risotto.

My Conclusion:

It was a great meal conceptualized and prepared by a great chef! I know this is a long review, but I feel I had to share the whole dining experience and this review is only the tip of the iceberg! Reading vs. experiencing something are two totally different things and I hope to have done Chef Irbille justice!

You know you’ve come across something special, when you can walk away from a meal feeling satisfied…not just physically from the food you ate, but both mentally and culturally from the food you experienced.

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