Posts Tagged ‘d’cupcakes’

The culmination of our amazing Anniversary Weekend ended with the Pop-Up Dinner at Olivar on April 30th, 2012. Not only was it the exact day of our 2-year wedding anniversary, we got to spend it supporting Chef Irbille Donia of Irbille Edibles, for his second Pop-Up! If anyone is unfamiliar with the phrase, pop-up dinner, it is essentially a “kitchen take-over” by cooks/chefs that usually work under a restaurants’ executive chef. They normally take place on Mondays (when restaurants are closed) and it is an opportunity for up and coming chefs to display their talent featuring a new and original menu straight from their minds.

The Food:

papaya salad: papaya, watermelon radish, mizuna, smoked mussels, calamansi vinaigrette

kilawin: scallop ceviche,  rhubarb compote, cilantro oil

empanada: oyster mushrooms, bell peppers, banana hearts, bamboo shoots

leonor adobo: duck confit, rice , poached duck egg , grilled spring garlic, adobo sauce

mungo: painted hills flank steak, mung beans, grilled radicchio, sweet soy sauce

bibingka: casava tart, candied walnuts, coconut caramel, coconut sorbet

fruit cake: white wine cake, mango, kiwi, coconut crème anglaise


The Review:

The initial image of papaya salad, for most people, tends to be that of the Thai green papaya salad – with the papaya grated to look like noodles and tossed with bean sprouts, green onion and various types of dressing. However, Chef Irbille’s papaya salad presentation  consisted of a modern interpretation  and it was perfect. Standing alone among the myriad of color and flavor was the calamansi vinaigrette. It had the perfect blend of sour and sweet but also did not overpower the natural flavors of the fresh papaya, watermelon radish, and mizuna. I initially thought the leafy greens of the salad was arugula, mizuna has a milder spice – not as overpowering. I overheard the table behind me directly tell Chef Irbille, “This salad is the best dressed salad I’ve had in a long time… it was delicious!”

I’m a big fan of ceviche and this kilawin definitely satisfied my soul. The scallops were laid out like a set of fresh oysters – sitting atop cilantro oil with the rhubarb compote, fresh cilantro and edible flowers were also sprinkled atop. Some people cringe at the thought of raw seafood (like oysters) but I really enjoyed these scallops. The ingredients were not all diced up like a traditional South American ceviche, instead, all the ingredients were left as they are naturally and they were delicious! The scallops had a tender texture and the cilantro oil added a nice flavor depth with each bite.

Our empanadas were exactly how you’d want them; gold brown with a nice bite on the outside with savory goodness on the inside! For me personally, all the flavors blended together to provide a nice flavorful bite with the curry sauce acting a nice blanket.

 In honor of his Grandmother, Chef Irbille named our next dish after her – Leanor Adobo. Chef Irbille’s interpretation of adobo is definitely an elevated form of the traditional adobo that’s cooked in a single pot. The duck was cooked perfectly with tender meat that looked almost like a pulled-pork. There was also a single piece of duck skin that was fried just right,  adding a candy-like crunch. Bringing all these pieces together was the egg yolk and the adobo sauce. This was the first time I’ve had a poached duck egg and the yolk is considerably larger than the yolk a chicken egg. The yolk did not overpower or take away from the dish; it did a nice job holding everything together.

The flank stead over mungo beans were nicely presented. Mungo beans aren’t exactly the first I think of when I think of the word, cuisine; however they way the flank steak was plated atop the beans with a side of radicchio really lifted my impressions of mungo beans to a new level. The flank steak was cooked perfectly with a good medium rare color in the middle. Helping add rich flavor to the dish was the sweet soy sauce – a really good balance of sweet flavor to the bitter radicchio and savory steak. Cherry also stated she really enjoyed this dish and it was a refreshing change from the mungo beans that are cooked at home.

 The cassava tart was great. It wasn’t too sweet and the coconut caramel was a nice compliment to the tart while the candied walnuts added a slightly crunchy texture. I think the cassava alone, would have stole the show, but the coconut sorbet was an extra bonus.

I really enjoyed the fruitcake, provided by D’ Cupcakes. The cake itself was moist and did a wonderful job absorbing the crème anglaise. Being as how sour candies are one of my favorite candies, the kiwi on this dish added the perfect tartness to contrast against the subtle sweetness of the mango. 


My Conclusion:

Each and every dish we were served was prepared with great technique and presented wonderfully – which is a testament to Chef Irbille and his crew. If you, reading this were one of the fortunate ones to be apart of this Pop-Up, then I’m sure you share the same sentiment as I do. As a business of any kind, one major key to success is, repeat customers and I imagine it can be tough to keep ideas and menus fresh to maintain customer interest and attraction. However, like the dishes he served, Chef Irbille is definitely fresh and engaging. My only question for him is, what will he think of next?!


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