A Night of Spanish Treats
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - May 10, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — They say that change is inevitable. In order to succeed in this ever-changing world, one has to constantly innovate. Many businesses follow this adage, including restaurants where new dishes are regularly introduced to satisfy the ever-demanding palates of their clientele.

In 2017, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan collaborated with Chef Jose Luis “Chele” Gonzalez to open Enye Restaurant that offers traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine to their resort guests. Two years later, the celebrated chef with Crimson Resort GM Didier Belmonte and PR manager Mia Mae Sy invited a select group of media people to taste their new dishes. The group included myself.

Pintxos/tapas were served – the Wagyu Beef Flamenquin (breaded, deep fried Wagyu beef, Camembert), Croqueta De Mariscos (seafood, fish), Croquetas de Setas y Trufa (mixed mushrooms, truffle oil) and Vieiras Gratinadas (baby scallops, béchamel sauce, ham, cheese). These appetizers were paired with Viña Albali Verdejo 2017.

I took a photo of Chef Jose Luis “Chele” Gonzalez in the final stage of preparing the Flamenquin, which is a roulade of beef, breaded and deep fried. It was crisp and the beef with cheese literally floods your mouth with such delicious flavors. The two croquetas did the same thing, one with seafood and the other, earthly flavors from mushrooms. The only problem was that it was a bit filling for my sensitive stomach, and we still had nine more dishes to try.

The First Course was the White Snapper Fish & Scallop Ceviche (Tiger milk, pickled onions, coconut & curry espuma). This was my first time to eat a fish with “Tiger milk” which was actually a citrus-based spicy marinade to cure the fish. There were layers of flavors, from the lemon-cured fish, pickled onions, coconut, and finally the tail-ender of curry foam. Very interesting combination of textures and tastes!

The next two dishes were the Baked Grouper Fish Fillet (swimmer crab, local seafood broth) followed by the Seared Foie Gras (poached egg, port wine sauce, brioche crumbs). The baked fish had to be eaten fast because the broth might make the fish soggy. The fish was delicious with its taste enhanced by the accompanying broth. The brioche crumbs (egg & butter-enriched bread) and the poached egg all worked together to heighten the taste of the fatty liver while the port wine mellowed it a bit. It was paired with the Renmano Chairman Selection Shiraz 2018.

Paella Negra was then served, topped with slices of grilled octopus and scallops. It was extremely delicious because of the presence of the socarrat (crusty crispy bottom of the paella which is caramelized). Easily the best tasting paella I had, excuse me, in the last 10 years!

My favorite Spanish dish came next, the Cordero Asado de Manera Tradicional (slow braised lamb, rustic roasted potatoes & greens). The version cooked by Chef Gonzalez was one of the best I have ever tasted.

We were served three desserts to close this lovely dinner: Apple Tart (apple foam, vanilla custard and roasted apple ice cream), Choco Mango Cebu (choco crémeux, crunchy chocolate soil, mango sorbet) and Tarta de Queso Casera (baked cheese cake, red berry compote and rum ice cream). I stayed for a full five minutes at the desserts and then asked for a double shot of vodka to help digest the food that I had eaten, before deciding whether I should taste these desserts.

Take a guess whether or not I did taste those delicious desserts or not…

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