Friday, February 14, 2014

Celebrate a Sweet Valentines at Rastro

With the popular malls and Bonifacio High Street filling up with couples on Valentines day, the trend this year seems to be to celebrate at home, to go out either the day before or the day after, while others would rather celebrate the Hallmark holiday sometime in the month of February, not necessarily on the 14th, which is pretty smart. And if your ideal romantic evening consists of sharing shucked oysters, delicious cocktails, great food, and good music with your special someone, then I suggest you bring your date to Rastro.

Located along Burgos Circle, you can't miss Rastro, with the big, bright letters spelling out the restaurant's name. They're changing their logo to that of a Spanish fighting bull in the near future, so be on the lookout for that if you see it. The restaurant has two floors - the al fresco and bar area downstairs as well as the more intimately set up tables upstairs.

Going there with my foodie fambam, we met with tita Cynthia, one of the owners of the restobar, and she treated us to some exquisite olive oil that was so good, all you really needed was some bread for dipping. We tried three Marques de Griñon olive oils - the Arbequina, which had a guava-like flavor to it; the Picual, which had an aratilis aftertaste; and the Duo, which was a combination of both.

Dinner started with a few spoonfuls of Pumpkin Soup and Chickpea Soup with Rastro’s Salad made of lettuce, croutons, and a thick dressing.

I didn't get to try the Ensalada, which mix of spinach, Pancetta, Manchego, and balsamic reduction, which looks like a paleo slider almost.

On the other hand, I had the Homemade Chorizo and this was really, really good! This is quite hot, and each little sausage was packed full of meat and spice.

With Rastro being a popular drinking destination at Burgos, we tried a few of their popular ones, like the Naughty and Nice, a citron vodka shot with apples dusted in cinnamon and brown sugar as the chaser - it has a nice sweet end to that slow burn.

The French 75 is not at all what it seems - the bubbly sparkling wine is actually mixed with a shot of gin, which you don't really realize you're drinking until you stand up to go to the loo. Aaaaaaand there it is!

For those who want a little bit of everything, there's the Tapas Platter composed of Croqueta de Chorizo, Tinapa Triangle, and Bolita Negra - basically paella negra in a crunchy ball form. They also have Batido de Sardinas, which I didn't get to try.

I was surprised to discover that Rastro not only serves tapas and Spanish comfort food, they serve sandwiches, too!

The Manchego and Jamon Serrano sandwich is served with patatas fritas andan  aioli dip. I like how Rastro is very generous with the amount of  the Spanish ham and cheese they pile onto their crunchy baguette. In your face, Subway!

The Organic Pork Chorizo, on the other hand, also had a generous amount of caramelized onions to offset the spicy chorizo flavor that can be quite cloying after a few bites. This is also served with patatas fritas and an aioli dip.

Of course, when at Rastro, it is practically a sin not to order their very popular Platter of Oysters that features a selection of Fresca, Pancetta and Florentina oysters. Look how fresh these pretty little jewels are! I won't lie to you, I had quite a lot.

I'll be back for the Bourbon Bacon Slab - tender bacon glazed with sweet bourbon - as this was gone in two blinks of an eye, which I interpret as being really, really good!

If you or your date prefer to have a meal that involves rice, you can choose between the Pescado ala Parilla, slow baked fillet of sole with dill, olive oil, and spices, or the Salpicao, grass-fed beef tenderloin sauteed in olive oil and garlic. You can also choose whether to have both dishes with organic rice or chips.

If you're celebrating love month with your family (or your significant other's fambam) at Rastro, then the Pollo Iberico should definitely be on your list. The free-range chicken is marinated in really good olive oil, garlic, and spices, and slow-baked for 36 hours with marble potatoes, garlic, and served with organic rice.

I must say, although I am not a rice-vore, I cannot get enough of Rastro's Paella Catalan! Made with a bed of saffron-infused organic rice as the base, it is then piled on with generous helpings of prawns, mussels, clams, squid, organic pork, and Spanish chorizo. This gorgeous llanera just gives me the warm and fuzzies every time I have it! Good stuff.

Speaking of stuff you should never miss out on, the classic Sidecar tops the list in the drink category! Refreshing with just the right amount of alcohol to leave you with a happy buzz, this was probably the drink we had the most of that night.

To cap off our night, we enjoyed tasting portions of creamy Tocino del Cielo and my all-time favorite Triple Chocolate Silk. Still the creamy, chocolate-y cake-but-not-quite that I remember, I was very, very happy when tita Cynthia gave me a plate all to myself.

When mucking around Burgos Circle looking for a quiet, relaxing spot to celebrate post-Valentines day, seek out Rastro and order their set meals, or go crazy and try their best sellers! Their set menus are currently ongoing until the end of the month, so make the most of a good thing and bring your date!

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+63 2 556-1497
WS 4, Forbes Town Centre, Burgos Circle,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open Daily: 11am - 12am