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New Chele Gonzales restaurant inspired by Taal Volcano

Kristofer Purnell -
New Chele Gonzales restaurant inspired by Taal Volcano
"The Lava Rock" houses Chele Gonzales' newest restaurant Asador Alfonso / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Chef Chele Gonzales' newest restaurant may boast of authentic Spanish dishes, but the structure is definitely Filipino being inspired by one of the country's most famous landmarks.

Asador Alfonso in Alfonso, Cavite is Gonzales' latest venture in fine dining, and helping him bring it to fruition is a good acquaintance of his — architect Carlo Calma.

The 9.4 hectares of land where the restaurant stands was initially envisioned by Calma to be a farm and took two-and-half-years to construct, starting in the middle of the pandemic.

The structure itself is called "The Lava Rock" inspired by the nearby Taal Volcano, with the rock-like architecture and formation described by Gonzales after a drive to the restaurant hosted by Lexus as "aesthetic but also functional."

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"It's a kid-friendly place to go around, but at night, it's a different vibe with the warm lights," Gonzales added.

The restaurant proper is on the ground floor with the kitchen right in the middle of the room, ideally meant to cater to family and friends during initial planning, with more seats in the second floor.

The third and fourth floors serve as private areas that can 16 and 12 people, respectively, though the former has a balcony and its own bathroom.

Besides the stoves, the restaurant also has installed a Jumaco Maestro oven, from a major family-owned company in Spain.

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