Enjoy the mix of hot and cold Spanish cuisine in this restaurant

Published January 21, 2021, 9:39 AM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Rambla, me encanta!

Rambla at Rockwell has always been one of my favorites for Spanish cuisine; and on a recent visit, it was great to experience how it continues to enchant and beguile—turning the little dishes of hot and cold tapas into culinary works of art. The pandemic may still be raging, but with safety protocols in place, and with contactless ordering, there’s much to enjoy when one takes the opportunity to physically dine at Rambla. They have also made enjoying the Rambla cuisine at home more accessible, but let’s talk about that later.

Rambla at Rockwell Makati

I made mention of tapas in the opening paragraph as there are days when I seek the variety of flavors and tastes that ordering an assortment of tapas can provide. On those days, rather than getting full or bloated with a paella dish, I’ll opt to go exclusively with the tapas, mixing the hot with the cold so that a distinctly second level of variety can be arrived at. And that’s what I’ll describe for this feature.

The wonderful Conos de Atun, a cold tapas of tuna and wasabi mayonnaise, in a delicate cone

The conos de atun is raw morsels of tuna, topped with lush wasabi mayo, and expertly filled into a delicately crunchy phyllo cone. At Rambla there are four to a regular order, and they come on a ceramic fish with holes on its back for the cones to be inserted. To complete this seafood opening, I paired it with the traditional gambas al ajillo, given a Rambla twist by the addition of shiitake mushrooms. Putting bites of these two dishes in one’s mouth together is a pleasure that’s hard to beat when dining at Rambla. Try it out, and tell me if I’m wrong!

Gambas al ajillo

Then, order the foie and piña empanadas. The flaky hot empanada shell is a counterpoint to the lush foie and citrus tang of the pineapple. It reminds me of the taro puffs you can order at the high quality dim sum restos. And despite it sounding almost blasphemous to compare Spanish cuisine to Chinese, I say the above in a good way, as I’ve always loved this Rambla empanada for the mushy texture of the foie.

The delightful foie and piña empanadas

For the second round of hot accompanied by cold, I’d recommend ordering the wagyu bombas, little balls of minced wagyu beef in a bread crumb casing, paired with the salmon and cream cheese pillows. Here, it’s the cream cheese and not the salmon that leaves the lasting impression, as the seemingly air-filled ‘pillows’ are actually stuffed with the cream cheese.

The wagyu bombas

Among the new tapas is the callos con garbanzos, a callos stew, with chorizo and chickpeas. This is the one to order if you want something hearty and hot. On the other hand, with the summer months fast approaching, I’ve always had the penchant to order a chilled soup to feel refreshed and restored. I know it’s not something most Filipinos tend to order, given how we immediately associate soup as something piping hot, but if you’re ready to take my suggestion, order the salmorejo. It’s a cold tomato soup, with quail egg, ham, croutons, and extra virgin olive oil. Some of you will thank me for this!

The salmon and cream cheese pillows

For desserts, if you’re looking for something sharp and tart, order the tarta de calamansi, with merengue. Along with the chocolate tart that comes with stewed berries on the side, it’s the new desserts on offer at Rambla.

The Bikini sandwiches: iberico ham, mozzarella cheese, in truffled buttered toast

I know there are those who prefer to dine in the safety of their homes, hardly venturing out. Recognizing that the virus is still out there, Rambla and its mother company Bistronomia, have curated special to-go boxes. They’re for easy delivery, or for pick-up and dining elsewhere. There are three types of boxes and they’re as follows:

  1. Charcuterie box of jamon iberico, salchichon, chorizo, brie, murcia al vino, manchego, coca bread, crostini, bread sticks, grapes, and walnut.
  2. Favoritos box is trio de chorizo, gambas al ajillo, jamon croquetas, and payatas bravas.
  3. Clasicos box has callos, roasted chicken, paella negra, and churros with chocolate.

And these To-Go Boxes are available at all Bistronomia outlets: Rambla, Las Flores, BCN, and Tomatito. They’ve been on offer since December 2020, as Rambla and its sister restos moved to make their cuisine easier to enjoy and indulge in during these times.