Coffee bar meets bistro, cakes and pastries, kitchen provisions, and artisanal retail — Providore seems to have a lot on its plate. So it's great to have all of this altogether, seamlessly and deliciously, bringing all things good when it comes to food.
Chef Kalel Chan shares that the moment of opening Providore was the most challenging one for them at Raintree Restaurants, as they were also rolling out other concepts simultaneously — Chotto Matte, Izakaya Sensu, and a restaurant called Cha Cha's Beach Café in Coast, Boracay. Chan says that menu development took two weeks for Providore, and they hit the ground running. "Sometimes when you develop, there's a sense of place needed," he says, "the environment, where you plan it, even the plates in use." The final concept of Providore? An all day hangout for mallgoers — lolas and moms looking for merienda, the young and old looking for something comforting and familiar. The chef fondly remembers his childhood hanging out at supermarkets, and looking for a place to eat with his mom — a place where spaghetti was served alongside arroz caldo, burgers beside lumpia; this is where they found inspiration for Providore. Tying together the dining concept is their provision of pastries and cakes that highlights their in-house baking, and shelves of local products and artisanal delicacies for you to peruse and bring home with you.
If you're seeking for something comforting to munch on, replace that crunchy cravings for chips and fries with Providore's Zucchini Pecorino Fries (P175) and you won't regret it. Zucchini sticks replace the starchy potato, battered and deep fried, given a sharper finish with Malagos pecorino (local cheese). Squeeze the fresh lemon and dip your fry on the buttermilk ranch dip for the complete experience (bonus for making you feel better since you're munching on healthy stuff). A lip-smacking partner for saucier dishes or something to sink your teeth into before your mains is the Cast Iron Garlic Parsley Dinner Rolls (P175) — pillowy and plump bread, freshly baked, and given much love by butter and garlic.
Since Providore makes their cakes and pastries in-house, it's just proper for their bakery to also provide the bread on their menu. One of the best ways to try their breads is through their sandwiches, like the Crispy Seafood Mayo Roll (P375). The brioche roll is deliciously soft and buttery, and sliced in the middle to make way for a stuffing of romaine lettuce cradling seafood on remoulade sauce, served with
fresh lemon and dill. This one is made extra filling with freshly fried chips and a pickle on the side. Skipping the carbs? Then the big plate of Providore Salad (P350) is for you, good for sharing or for one hungry person wanting a salad that does not compromise flavor and toppings. This salad's got all the trimmings — fresh avocado and crispy bacon bits, crumbles of bleu cheese meeting cranberries and crunchy walnuts — it's served with buttermilk ranch dressing, and presents a delicious argument that a salad can be the main star of your meal.
For something down home and nostalgic, get your favorite grandma or tita Fresh Lumpia (P195, two pieces) or Providore's Tokwa & Baboy (P195) — they're classics done right and just as comfort food ought to do, are dishes that are reliable and worth yearning for. The fresh lumpia is crisp with vegetables, flavored with sesame peanut butter, and served with two liquids to drizzle on the rolls: a pleasantly sweet panocha sauce and garlic water. The tokwa't baboy, the delicious duo of deep-fried tofu and bits of chewy and crunchy pork, is unbeatable. It's done the classic way so this appetizer would most likely remind you of home cooking and Filipino meals past. I prefer consuming this like a viand, with extra rice on the side to chase after the playful textures of this dish.
Providore continues to bring all things good with timeless favorites like the classic fried chicken we all grew up eating, and the tender beef salpicao so flavorful it merits extra heapings of rice. Kids of all ages will immediately be smitten with Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (P320) — it's currently the restaurant's best-selling dish and for good reason. Almost every table orders this crispy fried chicken, I am told, and the flavors reminds me of an amalgam of fried chickens consumed during my childhood. It's amazingly crispy with a generous serving of chicken skin (my weakness), and served with buttered corn and French beans, and sausage gravy on mashed potatoes. There's also a smoked bacon and cheddar biscuit for good measure, making this order very filling. If you want beef, then it is necessary for you to be properly introduced to the Steel Plate Cooked Garlic Butter "Salpicao" Steak (P395) — it's a mouthwatering refinement of your homey salpicao. At Providore, they turn it into a sizzled steak so tender to make you weak in the knees, laced with a coating of salpicao sauce we're all familiar with. This one's so flavorful you'll need the garlicky dinner rolls or a side of rice to perfectly tie everything together.
Save space for dessert — Providore serves cakes and pastries. Their pastry display by the entrance will definitely lure the sweet tooth with their selection, and there's a lot to choose from so multiple visits are a must. There are pastries and sweets like Apple Cinnamon Swirl (P95), Butter Croissant (P75), Unicorn Crispies (P55), Hazelnut Almond Croissant (P95), Lemon Tea Cake (P75), Banana Crunch Tea Cake (P75), Fudge Brownies (P95), Samba Coconut Macaroons (P45), also cookies in assorted flavors. Create your own sampler of sweet things by ordering the Pastry Board (P275/3 kinds, P375/5 kinds) so you can mix and match to your liking. A must-try is their Coconut Cream Tres Leches (P295) — it's a local spin to the classic milk soaked cake. Here, the cake is stuffed with macapuno and topped with toasted desiccated coconut. Moist, fluffy, and sweet, this tres leches is best paired with coffee and enjoyed during a leisurely afternoon.
Visit Providore at the Ground Floor of SM Aura Premier (across Uniqlo), Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Call 802-9448, and follow Providore on Facebook (/RaintreeProvidore) and Instagram (@providoreph).