I’ll drink to that!
Monica Araneta Tiosejo (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Perhaps with the exception of water, drinks deserve as much attention as the food on the table. So when I was invited to have lunch at One Way Street Restaurant in Legaspi Village, Makati City, I was impressed to find out my drinks were already chosen for me. A good host would have felt it was his sacred duty to pair down the menu. Unsurprisingly, the host was Ronnie Joseph (director of the Philippine Wine Merchants), one of the restaurant’s co-owners.

One Way is famous for its sourdough pizzas, inspired by a co-owner’s (Lebanese consul Joseph Assad) past trip to Pasadena, California and a restaurant called The Luggage Room. He said the sourdough pizza there was “love at first bite,” claiming it to be “the best pizza ever, in all 60 years of eating pizza.” Back in Manila, he told his good friends Bobby and Ralph Joseph about the experience and Ralph referred him to a Singaporean expat named Jacky Chan, who specifically baked sourdough breads and pizzas during his free time. “Ralph had a place in Legaspi Village at the end of Salcedo St. on the corner of Benavidez. Both are one-way streets, hence, the name,” Assad said.

Ronnie proceeded to outline the techniques of wine tasting. Guests were asked to hold their wine glass by the stem and against a white background. The tilt should reveal the width and hue of the rim to give us some idea of the wine’s maturity. Clarity and brightness are also important. The best wines are noticeably brilliant and have a luster to them like a jewel turned liquid. We swirled the wine and held up our glasses towards the light.

Ronnie said what’s unique about that afternoon’s meal was we were given the opportunity to use the natural light filtering through the wide windows to examine the legs or tears that clung to the glass. The more alcohol there is in the wine, the more evident these are. We smelled the wine with short, gentle sniffs and then with sharper, deeper ones. Finally, we tasted by taking a “chew,” lips pursed and sucked in some air to aerate the wine. In the vernacular, it’s called higop.

The first dish placed in front of me was a cream of wild mushroom soup served in (what else?) a homemade sourdough bread bowl. Ronnie said it’s best to eat it right away or it will feel like porridge. Dried mushrooms, a little pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons provided contrasts to the hearty dish. This was complemented with a glass of Angas Brut, an Australian Chardonnay Pinot Noir, which is a full-flavored sparkling wine that bursts with the taste of strawberry. At first, the texture is smooth and creamy and then the fine bubbles start to tingle you. You’re left with a crisp, dry finish.

The famed pizzas arrived. The bestsellers are the Pamplona and the Mediterranean. Expect a Pamplona to have Jamon Serrano, spicy chorizo, arugula, cherry tomatoes and lemon dressing. The Mediterranean is topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, capers and hot salami. Their flavors were greatly improved by their marriage to a 2013 Bolla Valpolicella Classico from Verona. Beautifully bright and ruby red, the Valpolicella bared the use of three grape varieties. Despite its softness, it is a middleweight wine with a distinct nuttiness and a refreshing acidity. The Italians drink it young and lightly chilled. It’s an excellent food wine that goes well with red sauces.

And with the cream of aligue pasta, a delicious but deadly concoction of baby prawns, crab paste, cognac and cream, I had to cut the fat with a 2011 Pirramimma Stock’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. It was dark red with rich, round and full flavors. Despite its amazing intensity, it went down smooth.

I was full and couldn’t eat anymore, but I left feeling I was under a spell. More than the alcohol, it was the magic of a beautiful meal, indeed, “One Way” to live a beautiful life. Cheers!

To learn more about wine, you can attend Ronnie’s upcoming event: the Grand Wine Experience, which is now on its 15th year. Founded by the four Joseph brothers of Philippine Wine Merchants, the Grand Wine Experience is widely regarded as the most spectacular, most lavish and most anticipated wine event of any kind in Southeast Asia. This illustrious occasion will happen on Nov. 13, from 5 p.m. onwards at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Resorts World Manila. Over 500 of the world’s most notable wines and spirits will be fully ripe for drinking. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect!”




(One Way Restaurant is at 200 Salcedo St. corner Benavidez St., Legaspi Village, Makati City. For more information, call 0906-5572588 and 869-8958.)

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