Thursday, October 3, 2019

Colombian Gastronomic Week at The Pen

This week's all about Colombian cuisine at The Peninsula Manila!

Last night, we were invited by The Peninsula Manila to take part in a one-of-a-kind Colombian dinner with Chef Rey Guerrero of Sabor Pacifico. Despite the fact that Colombia and the Philippines have a lot in common in terms of ingredients, the cooking method and the techniques used are very different - and Chef Rey Guerrero shows us exactly that through the dishes he served that evening. 

We were given cocktail and mocktail options. I naturally went with the cocktail (just kidding, it was the first thing that they handed me haha). It had Plantation 3 Stars Rum, tamarind, lime, and sugarcane. Now, these ingredients aren't uncommon in drinks but combining all of them into one is definitely not something I've tried before. More unique (at least, in my option) was the Limonada de Coco which had coconut puree, coconut syrup, and lime. It's like drinking cold gata in a glass - I guess that's the best way I could describe it.

To start, we had the Ceviche Mixto Piangua Y Piacuil (ceviche of mangrove clams and snails). I don't think I've ever had snails before, so this was a first, and to my surprise, it wasn't bad at all. What was more surprising is that the ceviche wasn't as citrus-y as one would expect. Also, he used this technique of smoking oregano onto the mixed seafood to add flavor to the dish. 

Next, we had the Aborrajados de Pescado. This one is deep-fried plantain coconut croquette with smoked sea bass and cheese topped with sesame sauce. I love, love sesame sauce but I never would've thought of combining it with sea bass and cheese. It's really good, guys!

On the other side of the plate is the Patacones Endiablados - shredded fried plantain bathed in shrimp sauce and parmesan cheese. I know we have plantains here in the Philippines but how come we never use them this creatively? I really enjoyed the different textures and flavors that came to play on this plate!

For the entrée, we had the Cazuela de Mariscos. It tasted like something I've tried before but I couldn't figure out what.. until my friend Karla mentioned Bouillabaisse soup. It's a seafood casserole cooked in coconut milk seasoned with coriander and pennyroyal (a plant from the mint family). Though the coconut milk didn't really stand out like it normally would when used in dishes like bicol express (for example), but it did make the broth thicker and gave it that distinct flavor.

The Arroz Putiao and Pandao de Pescado were two dishes that went so well together. The Arroz Putiao is rice sautéed with seafood and longaniza, while the Pandao de Pescado is seabass fillet wrapped in banana leaf topped with coconut milk and fresh herbs. Together, they're your leveled up rice and ulam that you wish you could easily make at home. Haha!

Finally, onto dessert. The Dulce Pacifico came out first - a refreshing sorbet on top of caramelized coconut candy. Both flavors were actually really strong and worked as the perfect palate cleanser for our second dessert.

The Flan Aromas de Nuqui is of course, again, a coconut dessert - coconut flan topped with coconut and anise syrup. I'm so glad I saved space for this because I really enjoy flans and I quite liked the fact that Chef Rey's version of it is thick (unlike our usual leche flan hehe) and not too sweet in the middle, just at the bottom, so it had some kind of balance to it.

Thank you to The Pen, the Colombian Embassy, and of course, Chef Rey Guerrero for the wonderful evening! Book a table at Spices this October 4 and 5 to discover the delicious flavors that make up the Colombian cuisine! For inquiries, call (+63 2) 887-2888 or email
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