|with the MonDay Chefs :)|
In the Philippines, when you say "tapa", people will mostly likely think about slices of delicious marinated meat that we like eating during breakfast along with fried rice and egg (think tapsilog!). I only recently discovered that tapa in Spanish means bite-sized appetizer or snack.
According to legend, the tapas tradition began in 13th century Spain during the reign of King Alfonso X "The Wise". When the monarch fell ill, he was prescribed wine as a remedy to relieve his pain. To help moderate the adverse effects of alcohol, he was served "a small bite" of food along with the drink, which was served on a plate covering the glass. Tapa, in Spanish, also means lid.
When the king recovered, he passed a law stating that a free tapa must be served with every alcoholic drink across the land. This tradition continues at Tapeo Tapas and Wine Bar located at The Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City.
The restaurant opened in February 2013 and is managed and operated by chef-consultants Mon Urbano and Day Salonga -- the MonDay Chefs. They designed the place to have a casual vibe where diners can avail of unlimited Traditional Spanish tapas, bar style. They also serve a la carte dishes that tickle the palate and warm the tummy. Last Wednesday, I ate dinner there with friends and loved the food.
The salad lover in me enjoyed the Lechuga Romana con Cabrales (P195) very much. It is made of Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, apple slices, honey roasted almonds and crumbled blue cheese with roasted apple piñon dressing. The light dressing perfectly balanced the sweet tartness of the apples and the savory saltiness of the cheese.
I also liked the Manchego Frito (P342), made of one of my favorite cheeses. I would have finished the whole serving if we were not eating other food :)
I'd say the most interesting dish I got to taste that evening would have to be the Angulas (P695) made of baby eel in garlic infused oil. I tried it on top of a slice of bread and also ate a spoonful. I can't really say I dislike it because it does taste good, but the thought of eating eels ( I didn't look closely enough anymore to see if they have eyes) felt a bit weird. Besides, I'm a quite averse to worms and they kinda look alike :p Still, you can always think you're eating Spanish sardines without the fish.
In case you'd like a less daring appetizer, try the Tortilla de Patatas y Jamon Serrano (P195) instead. This is traditional potato and Serrano ham omelette served with aioli sauce. It's actually perfect to pair with rice.
For the main course, we had Costillas Asadas (P498), a dish composed of Spanish pork riblets barbecue served with Patatas Bravas. The meat is very flavorful and you'd love to munch on the potato siding until there's nothing left on the wood serving board.
Another dish that awakened my taste buds was Cerdo al Horno (P340). This is slow roasted pork belly (like a different version of lechon kawali) served with fabada and zaffron rice. It's another must-try dish at Tapeo that I would personally recommend.
For dessert, we had Churros con Chocolate (P152) and Brazo de Tapeo or Gypsy Cake (P152). Both tasted lovely but I'd have to say that the second dessert literally took the cake! According to Chef Mon, this is like the evil twin sister of Brazo de Mercedes because of its color, which was accomplished by adding chocolate to the egg white. What sets it apart from the usual brazo though is the cherry wine infusion that gives it its unique taste.
That evening though, I had no idea that aside from eating a sumptuous meal, I would also be having a crash course in Flamenco! It turned out that every Wednesday, Tapeo alternately features "Baile Flamenco" with Spain's Señor Juan Antonio and "La Guitarra" with Classic Guitarist Iyo Enginco on Spanish Guitar Night.
We happened to dine on a Wednesday and Señor Juan pulled the ladies one by one from our table to dance with him. I thought I was already safe when he came back for his second set but was proven wrong. He once again invited us to the "dance floor" and taught us some flamenco moves. With two left feet, imagine how I frantically tried to follow his steps and hand movements while laughing at how silly I must have looked!
It's a good thing Instagram only allows 15 seconds of footage. My friend Nana happily (in Tagalog, aliw na aliw!) uploaded a video of me dancing with Señor Juan and we had some hearty laughs about it. So in case I get to go back to Tapeo when this feisty Spanish gentleman is performing again, I should watch some YouTube tutorials on flamenco 101 first!
Do drop by Tapeo Tapas and Wine Bar to see for yourself how good their dishes are and how fun it could be when eating there. Here are some of their promos you may want to avail of:
Unlimited Tapas (P495/person) from Monday to Saturday 2PM - 9PM and Sunday 6PM to 10PM
Happy Hour 50% on all classic cocktails from M to F 2PM - 7PM and Sat and Sun 6PM onwards
WineDown Wednesday 50% off on featured wine every Wednesday 6PM onwards
Sangria Weekend's Buy 1 and Get 2nd pitcher at 50% off Sat and Sun 6PM onwards
Lunch for 3 for only P650.00 which includes main course, drinks, and dessert M to S 11AM to 2PM
Tapeo accommodates exclusive functions. They also have Party Platters to go which you can order one day in advance. Choose from Paella, Callos, Beef Estofada, Lengua, and their famous Cerdo al Horno.
Restaurant Hours are Mon and Tues 11AM to 12MN, Wed and Thurs 11AM to 1AM, Fri and Sat 11AM to 2AM, and Sun 11AM to 2PM, 6PM to 10PM. For more information, please call (02) 556-2668, like www.facebook.com/tapeo.ph and follow @Tapeo on Instagram.
* To see more photos, please visit this Facebook album