Friday, August 16, 2013

RELIK Tapas Bar and Lounge Introduces Its New Lunch Menu

One fine afternoon I once again found myself with my foodie fambam at RELIK, summoning up the mental fortitude I needed to come out of Chef Banjo Tuason's food fests in one piece. RELIK Tapas Bar and Lounge, famous for its delicious bar chow, has also come up with a new lunch menu to feed the starving masses of Bonifacio Global City. About time they did, too!

We kicked off lunch with some very good tasting Pinchos. Everything was so good, I couldn't possibly pick a favorite. There was the classic Bacon and Egg, which had the perfect balance of crisp bacon slivers and the creamy, silky texture of the omelette; the Confit Tuna with Olives and Capsicum was an upgraded tuna sandwich; the Chorizig and Aligue Cream was absolutely sinful with just the right amount of salt; The Chorizo Pamplona and Aioli is a pinchos classic; and the Sauteed Shrimp with Mango and Pepper Salsa was a fresh addition to the lot.

I also enjoyed the Sample Platter a lot! Consisting of Baked Australian Brie and spicy Manchego Cheese, the platter is served with salsa and Melba toast on the side. These are classic staples on RELIK's dinner menu, but definitely a must have treat every time I find yourself at the lounge.

After a bit of chit-chat and eager anticipation, Chef Benjo came out with the new dishes on the lunch menu that come with a glass of iced tea and all go for P199:

A hit at the table was the Chorizo Pasta - a generous serving of a milldy spiced chorizo in a garlic-y oil base, topped with shaved Parmesan. The serving for this is pretty big - I'd probably split this with someone if I ordered this for lunch.

The Boneless Fried Chicken was disappointing - it was so small! Using the more flavorful and forgiving part of the chicken - the thigh - this is a classier take on your colonel's chicken a few blocks away. It had a nice crunch with every bite, and the tomato salsa on top made for a healthier option to ketchup (or god forbid, floury gravy), but I think I'd still get more bang for my buck over at the other place unless the portion size improves.

I liked the Cheesy Pork Belly because it was smothered with Mozzarella and came with a side of hand-cut fries - two of my favorite guilty pleasures. You can cover an artichoke in Mozzarella and I'd eat it. Give me a few pieces of crispy pork belly and you can leave me alone with this dish for 15 minutes while I lick the plate clean.

I didn't think I'd be liking the Buttered Fish with Braised Tomato and Olives as much as I did - but I did! The fish was nice and firm, topped with a little bit of the tomato sauce and a few slivers of green olives, which made for a light yet filling meal, with a nice balance of sweet, salty, and savory.

Aside from the lunch menu, I also found myself polishing off a bowl of RELIK's Tinta Negra Calamari - perfectly fried calamari served with hand-cut fries, a garlic dip and a fresh lemon wedge. This would go so well with one of their signature mojitos.

If it's Chef Benjo's comfort food you're after, I strongly recommend that you give RELIK a call and order the Mixed Paella a day in advance. Done the Catalan style, the paella is wet (read: no toasty bottom, but no dry rice either) and topped with a variety of meats: chorizo pork, chicken, and shrimp, as well as wedges of hard-boiled eggs and lemon completing the dish.

Also best ordered a day in advance is the Cochinillo, roasted suckling pig with crisp skin that gives you an audible crunch with each bite, and oh so tender meat, hidden underneath that mountain of perfectly rectangular pieces of skin.

My foodie fambam and I ended lunch with Spanish Churros - perfectly executed this time and not at all rock-like (my teeth were left bruised and broken the last time I attempted to take a bite of a churro the last time), with a caramel dip to make the dessert even more sweeter. Since it was still too early for drinks, we ordered cappuccinos instead, and spend another hour just catching up and - what else - talking about what restaurant we should visit next.

Isn't Chef Benjo just adorbabol? Not only is he super talented, he's such a cutie patootie, too! I left RELIK with mixed feelings about the lunch specials. Some need a bit of tweaking, some just need bigger portions, or they'd be no match for the fast food chains a couple of blocks away.

So when you find yourself at BGC in the middle of the lunch rush, get away from the queues and try out RELIK for a change. Each lunch set comes with a glass of iced tea, and you can actually enjoy what you're eating in the relaxed atmosphere of the lounge.

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RELIK Tapas Bar & Lounge
+63 2 624 8251
2nd floor, CommerCEnter Building,
31st Ave cor. 4th St.
Bonifacio Global City
Open Daily: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30pm - 4am

(Directly across St. Luke's Global City behind Mercury Drug. In the same building as Kuppa, Chatime and Singapore Food Republic.)