Friday, February 7, 2020

A Taste of Buwan: Celebrate Valentine's Day with a Southeast Asian Tasting Menu

Celebrating Valentine's Day differently can be challenging if you've been with your special someone for years. R and I usually take the practical route and celebrate it another day. But there's this new dining concept that would make braving the Manila traffic worth it. And that is Buwan's tasting menu.

Hello, Buwan.
Buwan is the newest dining concept of Chef Julius Neccor and the group behind BOA Kitchen + Socials.

With the idea of having a unique tasting menu special full moon, the menu's theme will also depend if it's a wolf moon, snow moon, blood moon and so on. And given the group's creative take on dishes, you'll surely have an amazing time!
We were privileged to get a very early sneak peek of Buwan's tasting menu last night and sampled its five-course tasting menu.

We started with Mock Chicken Spicy slider.
Inspired by McDonald's McSpicy, Chef Julius thought of creating something similar without using chicken.

The sambal aioli gave this cute burger a nice spicy kick. I loved that it didn't mask the flavor of the pseudo chicken patty and complemented it instead.
I was able to guess the patty's ingredient based on its texture. But to make things more interesting for you, I won't mention it here. All I could say is that it's one of my favorites!

Dish number 2 was Oyster served with kinilaw na gata (coconut milk) granita, fermented tomato, and grilled liempo.
I liked how the flavors of land and sea were put together here. It was a nice play of sweet, salty and smokey flavors. It would have been great though if the oyster was bigger to even it out with the liempo bits. And it would have been perfect if the liempo was still hot to have this lovely contrast of temperatures too. (Note: The red slush-like bed of the oyster is rock salt. Do not eat it.)

Coconut or Chef Julius take on Pad Thai was one of my favorites that night. 
Made with shredded coconut meat, tofu, oyster mushroom, bean sprouts, and egg, it tasted just the ones you'd get from Thailand. The sweet and savory flavors and addictive combination of textures were spot-on. I noticed was that this one seemed healthier as it was less oily. 

Laksa Risotto was probably the heaviest meal on the menu that night. The generous serving of adlai topped with huge grilled prawn was the highlight of dinner for me. 
As expected from laksa, it had that mouthwatering aroma and a mild heat that would make you eat more. 
We were given Rose Water to cleanse our palates after indulging in rich flavors. And it was pretty good. Unlike other rose-flavored drinks I've had before, this one tasted great. It was sweet and had that nice floral taste.

I was getting full when the fifth dish, Laing, was served. But how can one resist roasted pork belly?
Cooked for 40 hours, the pork belly had this tender meat and crunchy skin that would bring Christmas feels. The laing sauce was thick and had a hint of spice from the sambal shrimp floss. I just found the dish a bit salty for my liking and might have been better with some carbs. Or perhaps that's the Filipino foodie in me talking. 
Our meal ended with a deconstructed Cardamom and Rose Cheesecake.
Though I would have liked the crust more with a bit more crunch, I appreciated the play of textures. The aroma too of cardamom made it a great sweet ending. This would have been excellent if it was served chilled.
Overall, it was a nice meal. Unlike other tasting menus, this one from Buwan will leave you full. I'm excited for this place to find a home (somewhere in Mandaluyong or San Juan) and delight us even more with its creative dishes.
Pair your meal with some of Boa's cocktails! My favorite was Passionfruit Sangria (PHP550, unlimited).

Try Buwan's five-course tasting menu for just PHP1,400 (+ 8% service charge) this Valentine's Day at BOA Kitchen + Socials. Contact them at +63 977 707 8472 for inquiries or reservations.

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