Thursday, February 15, 2018

First Bite: ¡OYE! Tapas & Grill

Is it just me or there is a crazy number of restaurants opening here and there? I used to be able to keep up with the new store openings within my area but I couldn't keep up anymore with the rate it's going. But I prioritize those I've been itching to try and one of the new restaurants I spotted a few weeks back is this tapas place in Uptown Bonifacio.

Hello, ¡OYE! Tapas & Grill!
Located at the very corner of Uptown Bonifacio along 9th Avenue, it would be very hard to miss Oye's bright signage. 
But inside would be a different story as the place is dimly lit giving Oye a more chill and warm vibe. And speaking of warm, the place was literally warm due to the lack of air conditioners. To date, they rely on the mall's centralized A/C but it is definitely not enough. I heard though that they plan to add their own soon. 
I got so confused with the interiors of Oye. The mural of bull and lion on the wall as well as its animal themed chairs do not seem to coincide with what I think Oye wants to be known. But let's put that aside for now and focus on its main offering--food. 
Our host, Oye, chose the dishes for us to sample. And while waiting, we ordered drinks to go with our dinner and Mojito (PHP380) was the popular choice. 
Just like how J described it, Oye's mojito was refreshing and really good as it had the perfect combination of alcohol, lime juice, soda water and mint. I can't help notice though its rather small serving size. For PHP380, I was expecting the glass to be bigger. Overall, though good, I wouldn't order this drink for its price. (I would get two fruit shakes instead.)
To start our meal, we were given a complimentary bowl of bread and pesto dip. And everyone liked it! The bread had a lovely texture and held the oily dip well. 
I first tried Truffled Egg, Potato and Ham (PHP275) which was quite similar to the liquid omelette of Rambla. 
This one though had more texture to it as it had crisp bits of shredded potato and ham. I couldn't get a good taste of truffle though. 
Patatas Bravas (PHP245), a common dish served in tapas bars, was your usual fried potatoes. Though the potatoes are usually boiled in salt water before being fried, I couldn't distinguish it from normal fries. Quite steep too for its serving size. 
I indulged in Chorizo Stuffed Baby Squid (PHP375) next and found it divine! I loved the beautiful blend of flavors from land and sea. The baby squid had a snappy texture too making it enjoyable.
We all noticed that the three grilled skewers served to us had some parts that were noticeably too charred but we figured that this must be how Oye cooks it. 
The Grilled Chicken Majada (PHP365) smothered with the mixture of herbs and olive oil had a lovely flavor. However, the chicken chunks became too dry due to being overly grilled.
Grilled Pork Belly in Black Pepper Sauce (PHP365) was slightly dry too for my liking. I also noticed that the black pepper taste was rather weak. 
I was excited to try Grilled Prawns and Squid with Chorizo and Vegetables (PHP495) as I love seafood. And this one was the most texture and flavor among the skewers served that night.
Not a lot of Spanish restaurants serve fideua. This seafood dish that originated from the coast of Valencia is very similar to paella. But unlike paella which uses rice, fideua uses noodles. 
Thankfully, Oye offers Fideua de Mariscos (PHP290, 5 inch pan | PHP705, 12 inch pan). Oye's version had very strong seafood flavor (most likely because of clams) which could be too overwhelming for some. It is best to drizzle some lemon juice to create a nice contrast of flavor.
My favorite that night was False Risotto with Shrimps and Salmon (PHP290). It had that delectable tangy taste and despite being topped with seafood, it was not as fishy. 
But if you are more of a "real" rice person, go for Oye Rice mixed with chicharon! It will not disappoint! 
To cap our meal, we had a bite of Leche con Galleras (PHP280), Spain's milky version of parfait. The combination of milk and biscuit was really good and something I could finish with ease. I'd definitely order this again. 
Oye is still in its soft opening and there are still some areas that need improvement. Aside from the overly grilled skewers and lack of A/C, the experience would have been a lot better if the servers were more accommodating. They hardly smile and carelessly pour water in our glasses causing some accidental splashes on us. I'd let a few months pass before I visit again. By then, I hope that food and service will be a lot better. 

¡OYE! Tapas & Grill is located at Ground Floor, Uptown Bonifacio, 9th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

OYE Tapas & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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