OMGD Philippines Dinner
Bailliage of Manila
Manila, July 17, 2018
Congratulations to Gallery by Chef Chele
" Our menu was a seafood degustation to showcase the rich variety of fish and crustaceans available "

Despite rather challenging weather conditions, the Bailliage held its July Ordre Mondial event at the newly opened Gallery by Chele. Formerly Vask, the Gallery has combined the outlets its predecessor into a larger, more conventional restaurant space occupying the former Champagne lounge and old Gallery.

Chef Chele Gonzalez still runs the place. His love for the Philippines and insistence on using local ingredients is very much evident in the menu.

Although it was a dinner paired with wine in the traditions of the Ordre Mondial, the welcome drink was a refreshing, quite substantial, mango and guava mojito.

Chele’s menu consists of many small plates, each one good for two or three bites giving an experience of many different techniques and ingredients. Our menu was a seafood degustation to showcase the rich variety of fish and crustaceans available.

We began with Chef Chele’s “just pop the whole thing in your mouth” bites.
- Black Crisp – a thin black wafer with dots of uni mousse, corn and celery
- Empanaditas filled with fish and green chilies
- Ube chawan mushi flavoured with a tinapa dashi.

The main menu started with rather powerful cured mackerel strips in a mushroom and kombu broth called “Cure Me”. One of my favourite dishes, “Bana-Lu”, followed. It is lobster cooked on banana leaf, topped with eggplant jus and charred okra.

A 500 years-old Spanish recipe was used for the next dish called, appropriately enough, “500”. Fish in an onion, lemon and spice soup, with a paste of almond and raisin called majada.

Another favourite was “Fired! Pulpo”. This is Chef Chele’s Spanish-Filipino interpretation of octopus, with chicken jus and pickled papaya.

Before dessert was a dish of which Chef Chele is particularly proud. Called “Tear Drop”, the description says cheeks, grilled sibujing, on top of “Job’s Tears” risotto, with jamon iberico and leeks. Now from what animal did the cheeks come you may wonder?  In fact, it was tuna made to taste like beef. “Job’s Tears” is a type of barley called adlai locally.

Lastly, we had an excellent dessert of Ube Torrija (French toast Spanish style) with a beautiful coconut ice cream. The original dish features a langka ice cream which is also outstanding.

Congratulations to the Gallery by Chele team for a great dinner!

Jay Labrador