Since I am from the north, I am really not familiar with the many food places from the south. So, when I received an invitation to celebrate Village Tavern's first year anniversary, I saw it as a way to have new dining experiences.
I loved the ambiance so much! At the middle of the restaurant are tables closely spaced to one another (without really invading the diners' privacy), and surrounding it are tables with couches that feels as if you're dining inside a luxury train.
It was also a great sight to see the chefs prepare each order. I personally love restaurants letting diners have a peek into their kitchen because it ensures that all the food are prepared well.
I shared the table with Dencio and Cha (Jonel joined us later in the evening), and because we were one of the few early birds, we were served this while waiting for the others. The chips were typical... but the salsa was amazing!
Crispy Clams with Spicy Lemon Dip.
This was the first appetizer served to us, and I was glad to have tasted a new way of cooking clams. I usually just eat clams cooked in water and ginger, and nibbling on these babies was just a joy to do. Each clam meat was coated with battered and fried to a crisp, and even if the nibblers were good to eat as is, dipping it in the Spicy Lemon Dip gave it more personality. Since it was quite difficult to eat the clams per piece, what I did was get some of the greens, scooped a tablespoon of the clams added a little of the sauce and mixed it together. Instant salad!
Fully Loaded Romaine Heart.
The romaine lettuce is my favorite among the lettuce I have tasted. Presentation of the salad was really good - it was like Kimchi - the whole romaine heart was cut in half (lengthwise) and each of the leaf layers were drizzled with dressing. Topped with tomatoes, red onions, bacon bits and bleu cheese, it has got to be one of the best salads I have tasted. The bleu cheese is an acquired taste, and although at first I didn't like the taste of eating chunks of bleu cheese, I learned how to like it as I eat my salad.
Roasted Bone Marrow.
Yes, the Pinoys have the Bulalo...but have you eaten bone marrow like this? When this was served to us, not only did our eyes go wide, we also exclaimed some oohs and ahhs... and some wow, too! Chef Josh Boutwood - the corporate chef of the Bistro Group personally came to our table to show us how this should be eaten. First, scoop enough amount of marrow from the bone, spread in on the slice of sourdough bread, then drizzle some apple cider vinegar, sprinkle some sea salt and topped it with herbs. This has got to be one of the most interesting dishes I have tried, though I am not sure I am going to try it again because my cholesterol level is quite high.
On the plate was pan seared Atlantic cod cooked with Spanish chorizo and garlic, served on a bed of salt roasted potato. This (I think) was the first time I ate cod fish (bakalaw in Filipino), and I found it's meat firmer compared to the other white fish I have tried. The fish was lightly seasoned, and is best eaten along with the other components in the dish.
Before we were served dinner, we already got to see a picture of this in the printed flip cards on the table. We were sharing some chit-chats hoping we get served this steak, and imagine our surprise when we got to see it personally.
I don't like my meat bloody (I don't eat raw / rare meat), but this kind of steak I love. I don't really care if it's still pinkish inside as long as there's no traces of blood oozing out. I prefer steak cooked like this because the outer layer is firm yet the inside part is still tender. The steak itself tasted good. No need for dips and seasonings, but it tasted great when eaten with the side salad greens.
After eating a slightly bland fish and rightly seasoned steak, I found this a bit on the salty side. The lamb was cooked in the same doneness as the steak, and because it was a little salty for my taste, eating it with the creamy mashed potatoes balanced the flavors. It had the typical lamb aftertaste, so I didn't eat a lot of it.
Frozen Lime Souffle.
Ending the wonderful celebration was this dessert. This wasn't love at first taste, but it gets better and better as I ate it. At the bottom of the dish was a layer of frozen lime flavored souffle, which had the slight tang that cleansed the palate. On top of it was the airy lime infused souffle, which was so light that the whole dessert was perfect to eat during summertime. What caught my attention was the candied lime... it didn't have the usual lime zest flavor and it went well with the rest of the dish.
We were given our own choice of drinks. My choice was the V Tea. I just wanted something cold and refreshing, and this was the first one I saw. I didn't bother reading the description on the menu so I was surprised when I tasted alcohol in it. The first sip was a bit strong (but it was refreshingly good), and as I let the ice cubes melt, it became better for my liking.
Cha ordered a bottle of Hoegaarden beer, as per friends' suggestion. I still loved the Cerveza Negra better than this one, but tasting a foreign beer brand was a welcomed experience.
Before we left, we all asked for a cup of tea. They don't prepare the tea, by the way... we were served our own cups and little pot of hot water and a saucer of tea and lemon wedge. I don't like the flower infused tea flavor (we were served jasmine and chamomile among the mix), so I went for the English Breakfast Tea, which tasted really good. It wasn't too strong, but not really mild either.
All of the dishes served (except the drinks and the nachos) were new to Village Tavern's menu. As they welcome a new year, they also incorporated new dishes to satisfy both new and regular diners, although they still retained some of the bestsellers. My favorite dish that night was the Tomahawk 35oz and the Fully Loaded Romaine Heart.
By the way, every Wednesdays, Village Tavern offers 50% off on wines by the glass, cocktails, and liquors, so if you fancy some wine and cocktails as part of your dining experience, do drop by during Wednesdays. Happy anniversary, Village Tavern!
2nd level, Bonifacio High Street Central
7th Ave. corner 29th Street - Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63 (02) 621-3245