Hello, Grape Escape.
It was a bit hard for me to spot Grape Escape during daytime when its signage is not lit. But thanks to Waze and its informative Instagram account, I was able to get dropped off at the right location. [Tip: Look for the building with Bo's Coffee and Anytime Fitness.]
I was greeted by dark hues of brown and a strikingly beautiful chandelier as soon as I entered Grape Escape. The second floor gave me an even better view of the lighting fixture made of a tree stump.
We started our long lunch with Chicken Fritters (PHP175) or crunchy chicken skin paired with a spiced soy sauce dip.
I loved the crunch of the chicken skin and the soy sauce reminded me of crispy pata.
Another appetizer served to us was Salpicao (PHP349) which was so succulent that each bite was oozing with delightful garlicky flavor. I actually wanted to eat this with rice but we were learning how to pair this scrumptious dish with wine. So rice had to wait.
I was overwhelmed when I was given my own Antipasti Sampler (PHP625). This platter of meats and cheeses is not exactly to be enjoyed solo but hey, I can't be choosy when I'm actually being given more.
And I actually loved each and every bit of what's on the platter with Hungarian sausage and brie cheese as my favorites.
The Carbonara Pizza (PHP449) was pretty good too. This dish is like hitting two birds with one stone as one gets to enjoy pasta and pizza in one bite. Now you don't have to toss a coin to decide which of the two to order.
If you're not fond of cream, you might want to go for Aglio Olio (PHP189). I fell in love with this dish as it had a lovely garlic flavor and a hint of spice. The flavors were delicate and perfect for those who are not fond of bold flavors or heavy sauces on their pasta.
But if tomato-based pasta is your thing, Grape Escape's Spaghetti with Meatballs (PHP295) and Arrabbiata (PHP255) are the ones for you.
The Spaghetti with Meatballs is like an adult version of the staple dish in a kiddie party as the pasta is topped with spicy pomodoro sauce. Fret not though as it's not that spicy. It just have that slight kick that'll make you want more. The meatballs were juicy and flavorful too.
The Arrabbiata is just like the Spaghetti with Meatballs sans the meatballs and replace spaghetti with penne.
The highlights of our lunch though were the Osso Buco (PHP695) and Pork Chop (PHP575, 1 pc. | PHP800, 2 pcs.).
Bone Marrow... what's not to love about this? I went to meat lovers heaven after a bite of the succulent slow-cooked beef shank. The meat was absolutely tender that I don't even have to chew it! The sweet and salty flavors made my taste buds dance the waltz. It was a real treat to have this dish. It also went really well with mashed potato and mixed vegetables.
Pork Chop was pretty flavorful too and it's hard not to be when this dish is pan seared in herbs and garlic butter. Though lighter in taste compared to Osso Buco, this one is perfect for those who like simpler and straightforward dishes.
To cap our meal, we each had a serving of Blueberry Tiramisu (PHP225). I have to admit, it was not a love at first bite. My first impression was that the cake was bland. However, it was because I had Osso Buco right before I tasted this dessert. The strong flavor of the meat lingered and overpowered the cake. After a gulp of water and another bite, I was able to appreciate the light but sweet taste of the cake. The chiffon was soft and each layer has blueberry filling. It's really good and a great way to end the meal.
Overall, it was an awesome and educational lunch. Service was great and we were able to enjoy our meal while learning which wine goes with which food. If you are interested to learn more about wine, do follow Grape Escape on Facebook or on Instagram as they will be holding more events in the future.