A get together I missed last year led me to be extra curious of Cerchio (tzer-kyoh), the restaurant reserved for our group. Before I noticed the food and group shots, I paid attention to where they had dinner – that industrial chic place like a boutique hotel's lobby. The walls have amusing interpretations of cerchio, the Italian word for circle.
Cerchio used to be an old two-storey house, before it was launched in July last year. Now it is one of the stylish dining and lounge party places in the Scout area serving guests from the Scout area, entertainment community, doctors and celebrities.
If Cerchio’s ground floor is for casual dining, the second floor would be ideal for drinks and chill out. If the ground floor is relaxed and unassuming, the second floor area is more on the cozy and semi-private side. People would stay upstairs to unwind in style or woo a potential client. I'd say you can bring a date for dinner at the restaurant, and dine more intimately upstairs. Its mid-century modern style warms the ambiance.
The book shelves, a signature style of interior designer and Cerchio partner, Ivy Almario.
Cerchio, according to many people, achieves its full charm at night. The beauty of the place is more visible with the lighting on. I suppose it is especially on themed nights, when the place really ignites. Wednesday has 80’s night, and Friday has electro lounge by DJs Mon and Bobby Nolasco. On selected nights, an Italian lounge singer performs.
See more inspiring details like the kiwi chandelier and table centerpiece
The private room for intimate dining
Behind Cerchio is the Romulo Cafe group and new business partners. Having said this, expect familiar Filipino dishes but with a twist. Most of the Filipino specialties here just happen to be pork -- these are perfect with beer, or white rice and Coke, just like their Thai Sinuglaw (P330). One platter has slices of juicy grilled liempo and kilawing tangigue, a favorite ulam-meets-pulutan.
I am amused by Cerchio’s Pork Sisig (P230), should I say, 'Sisig Shots.' These are quite friendly to those who believe in portion control diet. Pinoys may prefer the crunchy kind of Sisig, but this one is actually leaner because Cerchio’s is made of more meat, less lard and tenga (pig ear cartillage). For me, this barely needed Knorr and calamansi because it is already tasty on its own.
Pork Sisig, topped with sunny side up quail egg
If your weakness is Crispy Pata, good news: you can have it with less guilt at Cerchio. There is no oil involved in their Oven Baked Crispy Pata (P650). The extra flavor comes from the garnish of spring onions and chili flakes. You can also amp the spice upon request. One would appreciate it grease-less, less salty, and with the company of Cerchio’s Signature Sauces.
Oven Baked Crispy Pata
What is the perk of this pork dish? It can be dunk in any or all of Cerchio Signature Sauces. You have the Honey Cilantro, Oyster Chili & Crispy Pata Sauce.
The trio, Cerchio Signature Sauces
When you want to dine healthy and light, (or to counter your Filipino pork favorites with fiber and seafood), note that Cerchio’s main offerings are grilled Asian and Mediterranean fare. Everything is taken care of by the house’s brick oven. If you’re (A) a perennial healthy eater, (B) progressively redeeming your summer body, or (C) both, then you might want to try their grilled front liners:
I personally prefer grilled meat/seafood on salads. Grilled fare usually have a slight bitter taste that contrasts nicely with the greens, fruits and dressing, like Grilled Shrimp with Pomelo (P250).
Grilled Shrimp with Pomelo
Among the appetizers, the Singaporean Crispy Squid Heads (P180) can be addicting. Its flavor is similar to sweet and spicy dilis, only it is not fried and bottled. This makes a good pulutan for their Half-Half Beer (half Cerveza, half Pale).
Singaporean Crispy Squid Heads
Grilled specialties are paired with appropriate rice. Their Peri-Peri Chicken (P390) is worth the amount of rice that comes with it, or vice-versa. This is herbed chicken, roasted Portuguese style. It comes with Pilaf Rice, fragrant with cayenne and other spices. The seafood best seller is Grilled Salmon Teriyaki (P580), which rests on a bed of Pineapple rice and topped with Nori strips.
Peri Peri Chicken
Grilled Salmon Teriyaki
If you don't crave for a citrus juice, Cucumber Cooler (P95) would be the best drink to go with the grills. This tall glass of mock-jito has cucumber making it refreshing and easier to handle.
It is always nice to punctuate a meal with dessert. I am not a chocolate cake person but I liked their Bailey’s Panna Cotta, while my friend Kate voted for their Sansrival (starts at P90).
Bailey’s Panna Cotta and Sansrival
Urbane but laid-back, Cerchio is an ideal place if you want some quality time over food and drinks. Their balcony lounge would be the best drinking spot, which reminds me -- I am definitely coming back soon!