When you come upon a really strange challenge before reaching your destination, you may see it as bad luck; but most of the time I do manage to amass a certain degree of positivity to know it will be worth it. I say this because of the address of Las Flores: it says 25th Street in Bonifacio Global City, and it took us a while to figure out that the other half of the street is located on the other side of the block. They might as well name it another street because you know cars can’t slice through vacant lots and buildings.
We finally see the signage, and before entering the restaurant, took some photos of the façade while enjoying the windy weather. Las Flores is located in a nook away from the busy areas of BGC. You rarely see cars drive by or even people walk by this area, so the outdoor seating is a good option. However, the afternoon heat was slowly creeping in, so we moved indoors; it was just as lovely a choice, with its mismatched chairs, peppered touches, and the flower print and patterns all around.
Inside Las Flores
Newly appointed Marketing Manager Lola Puga was at hand to help us with our orders. Lola is Spanish, and so are the three owners – Uri Singla, Sergi Rostoll and Dani Aliaga - and of course the chef, too. You cannot blame us for expecting the food to be at the very least good and nothing less.
In an effort to veer away from the usual paella, we decided to taste two Spanish dishes along with one not quite Spanish (but surprisingly one of the best sellers), and even some dessert.
Croquetas de Chorizo Caseras de la Abuela
As a fan of chorizo, my first bite was reserved for the Croquetas de Chorizo Caseras de la Abuela (P195). The inviting orange balls had toothpicks on top so my first instinct was to pick it up and pop the entire thing in my mouth. Thankfully, my manners kicked in, and so I use my fork and knife. Never has chorizo tasted this good!
Atun en Escabeche de Vino y Aceite de Oliva Virgen
After that, I’m wondering whether the Atun en Escabeche de Vino y Aceite de Oliva Virgen (P395) will taste any better. This one is basically slices of marinated tuna smartly placed inside a clear jar that has white wine and escabeche sauce. More than presentation, I think this allows for the fish to absorb more of the wine and the sauce for added flavor. While I still prefer my tuna just grilled and my escabehce sauce more sweet, this version does pay off in the end.
Angus and Foie Minis
I thought of ordering something else that’s more Spanish, but eventually I gave in to their Angus and Foie Minis (P825), which was highly recommended, Upon initial inspection, the minis seemed cut to be bite sized. Personally, I had to slice through the meat sitting on melba toast and sandwiched between foie and caramelized apples because it’s a bit thick to be swallowed whole. If feel like splurging, then do order this: every piece on the plate is a masterpiece! But if you are on a budget, there's always something else to order. After all, the other dishes (especially the Spanish ones) would surely not disappoint and are definitely less expensive.
I was actually willing to order another meat dish over dessert because I am not familiar with Spanish desserts. But after all that meat, something sweet is in order. The Chocolatisimo (P185) is described as a coolant, and when done right, it serves its purpose. The two mini cupcake sized chocos are a nice way to end your meal. Fans of green tea will be happy to find that instead of the usual vanilla, they serve matcha ice cream to go with it.
It is always a nice feeling that other countries come and stay in the Philippines to introduce their culture through many ways, especially in food, and especially if it’s something quite familiar like the Spanish culture. Although at times, precisely because of that familiarity, I can’t help but find myself comparing the taste of the dishes to what I’m used to (or how they're prepared at home). I guess that is why we have restaurants like Las Flores to show us how certain dishes are supposed to taste like. So instead of thinking which version is better, we marvel at and appreciate the culinary creativity of people to come up with their own twist to dishes.
Photos by Hermin Belo.