Friday, August 17, 2018

Love at First Bite: Gallery by Chele

I always look forward to visiting restaurants that give our usual fare a modern take. Though more often than not, restaurants fail to deliver a unique gastronomic experience worthy to be called "new" or modern. But one restaurant blew me away with just one bite. The flavors I grew up with were transformed into something different yet the same, making me crave for more.

Hello, Gallery by Chele.
Gallery by Chele is a concept that evolved from Gallery Vask, one of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

If you have been to Gallery Vask, you would immediately notice the missing crisp white linens on the tables. Now with its predominant wooden furniture and homey elements, Gallery by Chele has a more inviting and casual ambiance. 
Chef Chele Gonzales, the chef behind the successful restaurant, was there to host us and explain the food we were about to eat. 
We started with some Bites.
Served on beautiful plates that were bought and hand-carried from Indonesia, these small dishes are packed with bold flavors. 
Tomato Mochi (PHP260) is made with cheese and basil enveloped by this thick wrapper that would make you reminisce about the famous Japanese treat. I love the slight chewiness of the dish and the blend of flavors that contrast and complement each other at the same time. 
Black Blinis (PHP295) would remind you of the Filipino classic dinuguan. Made with blood rice cake topped with sour cream and salmon roe, this is a fantastic way to introduce someone unfamiliar with dinuguan in a less intimidating way. This dish impressed me a lot as it kept the flavors intact despite using different ingredients. 
Meringue de Sal (PHP160) is another dish that I'd consider mind blowing. One bite of this dish made me think of adobo and true enough, it was what it was suppose to represent. Light in texture but bold in flavor, this chicken, soy and mousse combination was an instant hit for me. 
And if you love kuapao, you'd enjoy Gallery by Chele's Steamed Brioche. This one is a bit more straightforward than the other three dishes. 
I am a big fan of uni and I go crazy with anything with this delightful prickly sea creature. And Black Crisp (PHP200) was no exception. Thin squid ink shrimp crisp topped with uni mousse, corn and celery, it was a lovely marriage of land and sea. And despite its thinness, it had an enjoyable bite to it. 
Yet another creative dish presented to us is Breakfast (PHP200). A minuscule of what we know as longsilog, this dish uses longganisa, pickles (in place of atsara) and quail egg. For rice, it uses rice crispies which I recall from local grains. Adlai if I'm not mistaken.  
Another bite that I quickly guessed was Empanada (PHP250). This bite-size version is  stuffed with fish bits, green chili and emulsion. 
The last bite for the night was Moringa Brioche (PHP380). Brioche flavored with malunggay topped with bone marrow and local corn made me appreciate moringa even more. I just found the brioche slightly dry. Then again, we took our time taking photos of it so we might be at fault here too. 
We continued our gastronomic adventure with a bowl of Tiger's Milk (PHP395) made with oyster ceviche cashew. Its slight tangy taste whet our appetite for more of Chef Chele's brilliant innovations. 
I was so excited to sink my teeth into 8-10, a plate of grilled pulpo paired with vegetable mash and pickled shallots. As a fan of pulpo, I'm always on search for it. Texture-wise, it was perfectly grilled. There was not a hint of gumminess. However, some parts were too charred and left a bitter taste in my mouth. 
With ube being one of the most popular ingredients these past years, Chef Chele turned the usual chawanmushi a bit more "extra" by adding ube. The purple yam added color to the usual egg custard dish. Topped with tinapa dashi, it gave the delicate dish more flavor. 
Silly Too Na (PHP750) reminded me to never judge a book by its cover. This simple looking dish gave me goosebumps and an intense gastronomic orgasm! The tuna belly grilled in josper was very flavorful and juicy. Topped with pickled green chili and served with malunggay pesto on the side, it is one dish you have to order. 
Also, make sure to indulge in this bowl of fresh red wine cherry tomatoes tossed in malunggay pesto and paired with ricotta cheese.
Cochinito was your usual grilled pork but the jackfruit gave it an interesting flavor. Sweet yet salty, it's one delicious combination. Don't forget to take a bite of bokchoy for crunch. 

The last savory dish served that night was A La Parilla, Snake River Farms steak charcoal grilled served with vegetables and sweet potato mash. I love that the steak was served free of other seasoning letting us savor its natural beefy taste. 
Best to pair this dish with wine!
We had a handful of desserts to cap our meal. 
Torrija (PHP350) was love at first bite. The coconut rum brioche with slightly torched top was spectacular. It had the right level of sweetness and each bite was oozing with coconut taste. 
Coco-Nuts (PHP295) is something those who love jackfruit and pomelo would love. 
We also had this delightful coconuty chocolate treat and pastillas.
If I were to choose just one of the two, I'd go with pastillas. 
We also had several cocktails to pair our meal with. 
Most of the cocktails had citrus flavor and two had dragonfruit in it hence having this deep red color. 
But the one I loved most was Gin Tonic which had a nice sweet flavor from... butter balls! 

You can enjoy these delectable dishes a la carte or go for its set course meals. Three course meal starts at PHP1,500; 5 course meal at PHP1,950; and 8 course meal at PHP2,900. There are options for wine or cocktail pairing to complement your dishes. There is also a vegetarian option. 

Gallery by Chele opens at 5 P.M. for cocktails and bites every Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations for dinner is accepted from 6:00 P.M. to 10:15 P.M. while bar and lounge are available for walk-ins. After-hours drinks and bites are served from 10:30 P.M. to 1:00 A.M.. To reserve, visit or contact them at +63 2 218-3895, +63 917 546-1673 or

Gallery by Chele is located at 5th Floor Clipp Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Gallery by Chele Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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