La Ultima Cena
SunStar Publishing Inc.
Mactan is a mission if you live way down south in Talisay City, but dinners at Enye never fail to make it worth that trip. This one was for one of its Chef's Table dinners to introduce its new chef de cuisine, Pablo Alvarez. House chicharron filled the gaps between exchanges of pleasantries as we arrived. Made from local pork jowl, the crackling had a delightfully light crunch akin to a rice crisp with the fatty flavor cut by the tangy-sweet homemade mango vinegar. We opened with a refreshing Spumoni and the first of two sets of appetizers. A skewer of tangy pickled tuna stewed in kimchi mirrored the briny flavor of olives and was offset by sweet piquillo pepper and zippy red onion. Squid ink-seafood croquetas came as light bites but heavy with seafood flavor topped with sharp garlic from a silky aioli and the umami of katsuobushi. The second wave brought in the sweetness of Lapu-lapu enhanced by the citrusy-spice of leche de tigre—a Peruvian ceviche marinade with coconut to temper the spice and again, curry espuma for subtle punctuation. Mango sorbet balanced the sours with a fruity note. The richness of Wagyu tartare was pushed by egg yolk cured in soy sauce. Smoked paprika mixed with seaweed, brioche crumbs, vinegar and olive oil made the textured bed. One of my Spanish resto favorites, pulpo, rounds out the trio that went down exceptionally well with a D'Arenberg Stump Jump Riesling. Here octopus tentacle was boiled for an hour to a succulent tender before braising. The chef nixed the menu card details of potato chips and paprika air in favor of a lastminute spin of spicy-sweet red curry and the delightful tang of kefir seasoned with citrusy lemongrass, the zesty warmth of ginger and smoky cardamom. The first main of mackerel escabeche made for my reeducation from our local bastardization that I am more familiar with. No bottled sweet-and-sour sauce figured with the fish simply cooked in vinegar and served with vegetables on mashed potato and basil oil. Glazed pork jowl on chorizo fideua pasta with green alioli followed to define pieza de resistencia paired with a 2017 Casa Albali Tempranillo Shiraz Valdapenas, The naturally smooth, soft and sweet jowl cut is complemented by the 12-hour marinade and a four-hour sous vide. Spanish chorizo lent a meaty dimension to the smoky broken pasta Postres never disappoint here, and the first of two was their signature choco mango Cebu, a dark and decadent chocolate cremeux on crunchy chocolate soil with sunny-sweet mango sorbet. A creamy milk flan came next with cheese crackers and a rather unusual, earthy and almost savory porcini ice cream. “The Smoky Spanish,” an Armagnac VSOP infused with black winter truffle, sherry, honey fresh bronze fennel and alder smoke made for a liquid after-dinner cigar to match. Gracias, Chef Pablo Alvarez! Enjoy this ChefsTable dinner at Enye by Chele Gonzales at Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan. For inquiries, reservations and new normal operating schedules, please call (032) 401-9999 or visit www. crimsonhotel.com. #DineEnye #CrimsonMactan