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Chef Chele Gonzales opens new Spanish restaurant Asador Alfonso near Tagaytay |

Food and Leisure

Chef Chele Gonzales opens new Spanish restaurant Asador Alfonso near Tagaytay

Kristofer Purnell -
Chef Chele Gonzales opens new Spanish restaurant Asador Alfonso near Tagaytay
Some of the dishes served in Asador Alfonso / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Renowned chef Chele Gonzales opened a new restaurant in Alfonso, Cavite that takes pride in an authentic Spanish menu without any tapas or Paella.

Asador Alfonso, housed in "The Lava Rock" constructed by architect Carlo Calma, joins Gonzales' roster of locations with traditional and fine Spanish dining.

"[It's] a place for exposure given people will take a drive... a unique experiential place," Gonzales said after a drive to his new restaurant hosted by Lexus, noting its proximity to Tagaytay and affirming the restaurant will utilize "very high quality ingredients from Spain."

Heading the kitchen is Chef Rodrigo Osorio, who spent three years working in another of Gonzales' restaurants, Gallery in Bonifacio Global City.

While there aren't any regular tapas, ideal appetizers on the menu are the Espárrago, Pan y Mantequilla, Jamón de Wagyu, and Tosta de Boquerón.

The Espárrago is a chopped white seasonal asparagus with celeriac toffee pure, extra virgin olive oil, and little sprinkles of caviar, while the Pan y Mantequilla are sourdough bread served with anchovies' butter.

Gonzales proudly described the signature homemade cured A5 Japanese Wagyu Jamon used for the Jamón de Wagyu as "melts in your mouth."

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He also explained the Tosta de Boquerón — toasted bread with wood fire peppers, boquerón, and Spanish anchovies — is cured master as it is marinated in vinegar, parsley, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Matrimonio.

A likely favorite among the mains is the Carabinero, flat grilled Spanish red prawns that were cooked for one to two minutes.

Gonzales said such a dish was a specialty in Spain and advised they be eaten with one's hands to release the flavors, "let the prawns speak for themselves."

A smaller main is the Setas y Trufa — sauteed mushrooms, egg yolk, cured pork jaw, and seasonal truffle freshly shaved upon serving — recommended to be mixed before eating.

While most Spanish restaurants serve Cochinillo (suckling pig), Asador Alfonso takes pride in its Lechazo or slow-roasted suckling lambs (taking its name as these lambs are only fed milk) served with stew potatoes and green salad.

Gonzales believes suckling lamb isn't popular because people are used to Cochinillo, but did explain the sauce accompanying the Lechazo will emphasize the crispiness and smokiness of the lamb, adding the potatoes were also cooked in the sauce.

Capping it off for dessert is the vanilla Flan, which isn't as sweet as most flans, with less egg-like and more custard flavors.

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