Last year I went to Spain and had the best meals in San Sebastian. From our extravagant lunch at Michelin Starred Akelaŕe to pintxos bar hopping I loved it all. When I found out that Chef J. Luis Gonzalez of Vask had his culinary roots in San Sebastian I couldn’t wait to try his creations.
Chef J. Luis has worked at some of the world’s best restaurants. El Bulli (now defunct), El Celler de Can Roca (#1 restaurant in the world), and, two San Sebastian based restaurants which we really wanted to try but lacked time, Mugaritz (#4) and Arzak (#8).
Chef J Luis Gonzalez
We all loved their signature cocktail made with basil and pepper infused rum, triple sec, apple liqueur and cider. It was sweet, spicy -yes hot spicy- and very refreshing. It’s definitely whetted our appetite. They had several unique cocktails that appealed to me.
✔ ✔ ✔ Vask cocktail P250
We tried one each of their bite sized bread based pintxos. My favorites were the jamon, salmon and tuna. I would have enjoyed these more except that some of the bread were stale and hard while others were nice and crisp.
✔ pintxos P95 each
Another hit was the free chorizo and potato soup. The soup was a bit spicy and the chorizo deliciously salty. I would order a regular size soup if they ever decide to add this to the menu permanently.
✔ ✔✔ chorizo potato soup
The otherwise ordinary salad was saved by the perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp. The simple flavors brought out the freshness and natural goodness of the shrimp. Simple and amazing.
✔ ✔ Santander salad P395
There was nothing simple about this salad topped with foie gras chips and slices of jamon. Everything in this salad was perfect in my opinion. The jamon was smokey, mellow yet flavorful and soft. It was even better than some of the jamon I ate in Spain.
✔ ✔ ✔ jamon salad P495
The smoked octopus was highly recommended by our server. Check out the smoke trapped under the glass dome. There was mixed opinions about the octopus. I personally liked the super tender octopus with an earthy, smoked flavor. Rochelle preferred the Japanese style of octopus better.
✔ ✔ pulpo a la Gallega P475
Our unanimous favorite was the foie gras mousse balls atop mango slices. I believe this dish is what VASK is all about and it’s something you won’t find in any other restaurant in Manila. Despite it’s light and airy texture the flavor was 100% foie gras. If you love foie gras go ahead and be greedy and eat a whole plate by yourself. I guarantee the these five tiny balls will bring you pure delight.
✔ ✔ ✔ foie gras on mango toast P695
The next three dishes were considered main course entrees yet they were like tapas in quantity so we shared it too.
The bakalao or salted cod was mashed into a paste like substance and stuffed inside the soft peppers. I never cared for peppers and wasn’t too fond of the texture and the overall taste of the filling.
Cooking chicken or meat using the sous vide process calls for putting the meat in an air tight vacuum sealed plastic bag and immersed in a low temperature water bath and cooked for a long time. This ensures a juicier and full flavored meat. This chicken breast was very tender but not as moist as I expected. The flavor was quite good but we found ourselves looking for some dipping sauce.
✔ pollo en pepitoria P385
Intense, intense, intense!!! No wimpy squid ink flavor here. One bite of the risotto will have your senses reeling in bewilderment, joy and amazement. The salty and briny rice was just perfect with the perfectly cooked succulent scallops. To add more happiness were the small Parmesan crisps tucked in between the scallops. This is another dish I recommend you NOT share with anybody.
✔ ✔ ✔ scallops & black ink risotto P545
Because of a small incident, one of the owners, Jean Fernando of the blog Trip or Treats treated us to her favorite desserts. I must say all the desserts were home runs. You won’t go wrong with any of these.
I still don’t get how they made these wedges of fried milk coated with a generous amount of cinnamon and served with a sauce of softened chocolate rum ice cream. Think decadent French toast but without any bread.
✔ ✔ leche frita P210
As much as I liked the two previous desserts my love, devotion and loyalty remains with chocolate. Their version of the lava cake is unlike any other. Super dark probably 72% chocolate was used and no ingredient was scrimped to make me sigh, groan and smile ridiculously. The sauce of melted vanilla orange ice cream just put the warm dessert over the top.
✔ ✔ ✔ hot chocolate cake P210
Yes, it’s not cheap but quality comes at a price. Not that I know what I like at Vask I shall return for a meal of foie gras balls, squid ink risotto and hot chocolate cake. That’s my kind of meal – varying colors of brown and black. And no sharing this time!!! Oh I forgot – a glass or two of Vask cocktails too please.
Note: Vask is in an office building called Clipp Center so there’s lots and lots of free parking at night.
✖ skip it
✔ not bad
✔ ✔ do order
✔ ✔ ✔ MUST order
VASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine
5th Floor, Clipp Center
11th Avenue corner 39th Street,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines