Rustic and Neo Spanish Feasts at ALQUERIA Tapas, Paellas y Bistecas

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I had lunch with a few friends from the blogging industry a week ago. This place is called "ALQUERIA Tapas, Paellas y Bistecas". It's a mouthful for a restaurant's name but what ALQUERIA means is a small rural community. People from the city find refuge in places like these places to unwind, have tapas (appetizers or snacks in Spain), paellas (a popular rice dish), and bistekas (salted or peppered sirloin). No wonder they named it like that! Anyway, I so love Spanish cuisine because of my lineage, and this was all but a welcome sight!

The Interiors

The placed is tiled from the ground up. The patterns would make you think you're in a pub in Madrid or places for tapas in the city. They've also got an open kitchen with several chorizos hanging to dry, plus bread, blocks of chocolate, cases upon cases of produce much like an open pantry. The shelving also contains cutlery, wine glasses, beer and wine. They cook when you order so don't hesitate to watch them prepare your meal while you walk around. I highly suggest you do that, else, just sit and watch.

It also reminds me of a Spanish Chalet, well no, like a room in one of those chalets. The place can sit around 50-60 people, good sized with available seating outside (mall lobby area). The food is simple, rustic, non complicated. You'll see this next!

The Food

Let's start from my favorite on their menu, this is their Chorizo Frito with Manchego Cheese on top. The paprika filled meat was fried crisp on the outside then topped with real good Manchego cheese, then served with the side of Garlic Aioli (I think) and a few crusty toasted baguette on the side. I like the intense smoky and peppery flavor that permeates all throughout the meat and the slightly melted cheese on top. Did I say I loved this?

This is their Champignon al Ajillo, as with the terms used, these are champignon mushrooms with garlic, paprika in olive oil, then finished with white wine. It was good and light as an appetizer but I was really hungry for the next one.

This is called Coca, a Spanish pizza. It's got caramelized onions, green and black olives, tomato confit and slivers of salty anchovies. It's not overpoweringly salty, so it was something I could take. You must however, eat this while it gets served on the table. You can't wait for the crust to get soft, it must be crispy otherwise, it won't be as good. The slight hint of saltiness is good because of the anchovies, it's a good addition to just the usual pizza you get in other places.

This is their Huevos en Marinera. It's like salsa with runny egg and a side serving of spiced paprika chips that tastes like fried filo dough. It's good and perfect for those who love something egg based.

I've always loved Paella, this is their version of the Paella Negra a la Alqueria. There's no other way to showcase hearty fresh seafood but in a platter like this. Squeeze a bit of lemon on top and you'll enjoy the sea, the rice (which I recommend you overcook a bit so you can get stuff stick on the bottom) and everything else on it. It's going to be your Mom's favorite so make sure you order one for her when she's around. If you're on a date, you should get this other one.

For those who love something fresh and hearty, this is their Fisherman's Paella. Aside from the gorgeous seafood on top, the rice has been infused with saffron so you get that earthy, fragrant flavor in the whole pan. My favorite part is the rice that sticks to the bottom so I let everybody dig on the plate then scrape it off, this one is my favorite among the paellas served that afternoon.

For meat lovers like me, this is like a breath of fresh air. This is their Rib Eye, a 300 gram Black Angus Prime USDA Grade Steak. They have it portioned like this just like in Spain, though I do really prefer it not sliced, it's convenient. You may ask them if you prefer, and yes, it was good. If you're here to order one, make sure you eat it while it's hot, no time for Instagram posts as you can't really re-heat meat.

I love the actual Cochinillo served in Spanish dinners but this ones like a twist to the ordinary Crispy Pata that we're used to. This is the Pata Cochinillo. You get a piece of heavenly, crunchy pork leg, with the right amount of fat and meat inside. They serve this with a side of mashed potatoes and a spiced vinegar sauce. It was lovely, we could live here.

Last but not the least, it's desserts! The first one on top is called Canonigo. It's like a hybrid Brazo de Mercedes without the lemon curd filling. It's put on top of caramelized bananas and more caramel syrup plus cherry on top. It's light and airy but is pretty good to share. The other one is called Pudin. It's like brownie ala mode but the chocolate is more intense and probably dark. The consistency is also a bit on the soft side and the vanilla ice cream presents a contrast between hot and cold. It's good and a little fluffy, so if you're on a date, this would be perfect for your chocolate lovin lady!

If you plan to order this, make sure it's hot. This is their legendary Classic Churros. The good part of this is of course, the Chocolate syrup. Alqueria also packaged this very well so you can go out and carry it around conveniently, quite ingenious. The churros are also dusted with granulated sugar, and cinnamon, all available in 3, 5 or 10 pieces. If you're just up for a snack, stop by the 3rd floor of SM Megamall's Fashion Hall and get it. You'll get addicted in no time!

ALQUERIA Tapas, Paellas y Bistecas presents a very good choice for diners in the SM Megamall, Ortigas and Shaw area. If you're up for some good Spanish food, please don't hesitate to visit them at the SM Mega Fashion Hall and try these dishes I recommended. Remember to order the Chorizo for starters, the Fisherman's Paella and Cochinillo Pata for main course, then have the Pudin and tons of Churros for dessert. Remember to make room for that!


For more information about their restaurant:
ALQUERIA Tapas, Paellas y Bistecas
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