Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Bite: En Tirage

Gone are the days when wine is reserved for fancy or special occasions. With establishments redefining wine drinking and making it casual and less intimidating, more foodies grow to appreciate this drink that is said to be good for the heart. And last Saturday, I decided to swing by this newly opened wine shop in Mandala Park for a glass of my favorite sangria and sample some of its bestsellers.

Hello, En Tirage.
Tucked inside the drinking hot spots of Mandala Park, En Tirage (pronouced as en-ti-haj) has this undeniably chill vibe with its cold interior color scheme and dim lights.

The first thing that will greet you when you open the door is its spacious dining area with high ceiling, drop lights and a bar displaying its wide selection of wines and hard liquor.
During our visit, we sampled the Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings (PHP285), Mozzarella Balls (PHP195), Grilled Gambas in Garlic Pepper Sauce (PHP385), Lasagna Verde (PHP360), and Paella Negra (PHP670). For drinks, R went with House Iced Tea (PHP60) while I went with my favorite Sangria (PHP180 per glass).
First served to us was the piping hot plate of mozzarella balls with marinara sauce.
I loved the light and crunchy breading and the gooey and tangy mozzarella. It was good as is but it was great too with the marinara sauce. (I had some leftover to go and ate it two days after and it was still great!)
The vegetarian lasagna was pretty good too. I loved the generous serving of pesto cream sauce and slices of zucchini. This dish was also very cheesy and will surely delight cheese lovers who happen to like greens too. Skip the parmesan cheese as the mornay and mozzarella sauce are all you need for that delectable cheesy taste.
I also enjoyed the tangy lemon pepper chicken wings. Each bite was packed with the delightful contrast of sour and salty flavors. This dish is a great bar chow and I'd definitely order this on my next visit.
It was my first time to sample grilled gambas as I usually order sauteed prawns in oil. Though En Tirage's garlic pepper sauce was great and would delight garlic fans, I wasn't very thrilled with the shrimps. 
I found it overcooked and the consistency of the shrimps were quite off for me. It didn't have that nice snap or resistance to bite that I look forward to when eating shrimps.
The Paella Negra took a long time before it was served. Though we were told that it takes 45 minutes to prepare this dish, it took them a bit over an hour before it was served to us. It turns out that En Tirage does everything from scratch to make their paella. They also use actual (liquid) squid ink and refuse to use powdered kind for their paella negra. Hearing those words made me think that this dish must be stellar.
And after an hour and a couple more minutes, a big pan of dark paella graced our table. Despite being full from all the other dishes we tried, I still couldn't help drool at the sight of the assorted meats and seafood toppings. I was also very impressed with the generous serving size as one order seemed to be good for 7 to 8 foodies.
But my first bite was underwhelming. I found the short grain rice to be a bit too soft and it didn't have that delectable tangy taste I love. I only get that sour kick whenever I eat a spoonful of rice with grilled pork. I tried to put lemon zest on my portion but it still wasn't tangy enough for my liking. The seafood toppings were fresh though.
The sangria was pretty good. But I think I drank it too fast as I got woozy right after finishing my glass. 
The iced tea was your usual brewed drink. But I wish that the glass was a bit bigger.

Diners started to come in at around 7 p.m. but En Tirage is open as early as 4 p.m. so swing by early if you want to get the comfy couch seats!

Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience. The appetizers and pasta were great. Though I'm not too crazy with the paella, those who prefer their Spanish feast on the not so tangy side might fancy En Tirage's Paella Negra.

En Tirage is located at Unit 6, Ground Floor, Building C, Mandala Park corner Shaw Boulevard, Barangay Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong City. It is beside Punta.

En Tirage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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