Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When in Pampanga: Amare by Chef Chris

I have been bugging my foodie friends to organize a Pampanga food crawl as this city is a foodie paradise. But every time we plan to visit, it never pushes through. Hence I was so happy when ForkSpoonManila invited me to his Pampanga food crawl with some of food and lifestyle influencers. It was a mix of restaurants, retail and recreational stops making it a trip to remember. Our first stop… Amare by Chef Chris. 
Hello Amare by Chef Chris!
Our first stop has a fancy feel to it given that it’s at the ground floor of Royce Hotel. 
We were warmly  greeted by the very hands-on Chef Chris and introduced himself in a way very familiar to us… that he used to be the chef of C’ Italian Dining famous for its rollizza. 
Since it’s one of his most famous creations, he served the following: Mini Rollizza Luciano (PHP410), Mini Rollizza Antonio (PHP410) and Rollizza Amare (PHP790).
I enjoyed Antonio most as it had smoked salmon, capers, mushroom and tomatoes, basically, toppings that I love. I really liked the contrast between the salty smoked salmon and capers, the natural tanginess of tomatoes and the blandness of mushrooms. 
I also had fun stuffing my strip of pizza with alfalfa sprouts before turning it into a roll. 
I was iffy to try Luciano as aside from salami, bacon, chorizo, toasted garlic and mushrooms, it had some jalapeño slices. As a person with low tolerance to spicy food, I removed the hot stuff so I guess I didn’t get to enjoy it at its best. It was still pretty tasty though even without the chili. 
We didn’t get to try Amare though as the staff seem to have missed to reheat it after we took photos of it. 
He also served the popular Cozza Arrabiata (PHP490) for us to sample and it was pretty good! The Chilean mussels were fresh and I loved the beautiful contrast of the shellfish with the fragrant tomato sauce. 
Penne Paolo (PHP690) was a cheesy piece of heaven! 
I can’t help smile every time I get a mouthful of the beautifully cooked pasta with chicken fillet simmered in gorgonzola sauce with sun dried tomatoes and garlic! This dish could be a bit too heavy though so make sure you share this with a friend or two. 
I wasn’t too crazy with the Grilled Italian Sausages with Wine Sauce (PHP630) as it was quite dry and not as flavorful as I expected it to be. I enjoyed munching on the olive fried potatoes though. 
The Risotto Fruiti di Mare (PHP760), made with snapper fillet dorado, salmon and shrimp, blended with plum tomato and saffron, had nice texture though it was a bit too fishy for me. The mussels on top were the same as the ones used in Cozza Arrabiata. 
We also had a special treat with Amare’s recommended dishes Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce (PHP1,800) and Oven Baked Imported Baby Back Ribs with Honey Rub (PHP1,050). 
The baby back ribs were so tender and flavorful that it all you have to do is pop a morsel of meat inside your mouth. It had a nice sweet taste from the honey rub. The side veggies added texture to the soft meat. 
Sadly, I was not impressed with the Grilled Flank Steak as it was a tad bland for me. The chimichurri sauce didn’t really help add flavor to the dish. I liked the artichokes, asparagus and zucchini on the side though. 

For desserts, we sampled Lemon Cheesecake (PHP290), Chocolate Mousse and Panna Cotta
I loved Chef Kristine’s famous lemon cheesecake. It was a hybrid of creme brûlée and cheesecake. The top of the cake had a nice thin layer of caramelized sugar. The texture of the cake was on point and I loved the slight tanginess of it. Though steep, it is a must order dessert!
I also liked the chocolate mousse though it was a bit too mousse-y for me to enjoy. 
The panna cotta had nice faint taste but it was too hard to be called panna cotta. I was expecting it to be a bit softer and not have a texture of a jello. 
Overall, it was a great first Pampanga stop. I loved the rollizzas, pasta, mussels and cheesecake! I can’t wait to stuff my face with more of those!

Amare by Chef Chris is located at Ground Floor, Royce Hotel 2023, Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

1 comment:

  1. Your blogs get more and more attentions because of its very informative contents. Need to add this list of my Pampanga food trip. Thanks for the great post! :)


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