For the natives of Mediterranean countries, the versatile tapenade will never go amiss in their pantries.
This centuries-old recipe of olives, capers, olive oil and anchovies forms a rich thick paste when pounded together with an old-style mortar and pestle. It is traditionally enjoyed as a dip, spread, or used as meat stuffing and seasoning.
For its characteristics that represent that vibrant, light and refreshing flavors of the region, Discovery Primea in Makati decided to name its inhouse Mediterranean restaurant after the famous recipe.
Restaurant Tapenade opened in February 2015 and has since then established itself as one of the main attractions of Discovery Primea. For instance, salad-fanatics flock the latest gem of Makati to have a feast on its much-talked about Salad Room. Foodies alike brave the traffic just to get a taste of Stone-Baked Feta, Salumi Pizza and Bistecca Fiorentina that have become synonymous with the name Restaurant Tapenade.
“We really wanted to make Tapenade an independent restaurant that happens to be inside a luxury hotel,” Discovery Primea General Manager David Pardo de Ayala told The Manila Times.
And now, just before its second birthday, the team behind Restaurant Tapenade has already decided to hit the refresh button and introduce a new batch of dishes, all still carrying the distinguishing characteristics and flavor profile of Mediterranean cuisine.
Pardo de Ayala explained that the new additions to their menu are still meant for sharing by family and friends, one feature that both Mediterranean and Philippine cuisines share.
In formulating the “refreshed menu,” Discovery Primea’s Executive Chef Luis Chimkiamco told The Manila Times that he took his cue from the Mediterranean triad.
“The latest additions in our menu focus on the most familiar flavors of the Mediterranean—the Spanish, French and Italian flavors. In formulating the new menu, we did research on the chefs that we admire and their techniques, and also considered the trends in the culinary world. With these inspirations to start, we then made it our own,” Chimkiamco related.
For the new Antipasti menu, Chicken Wings “Alla Diavola” can be an easy favorite most especially for diners who have a liking for spicy food. The restaurant’s take on the popular Buffalo wings, meanwhile uses a spicy Italian marinade and balances the heat with a mint yogurt dip.
The chef is also ever proud of Tapenade’s pasta and pizza menu for his kitchen only uses freshly made dough and noodles. Every day, they make both from scratch believing that the bases, and not the sauces or toppings, are the stars of these Italian favorites. And by the way, diners also have the healthier option for pizza and pasta and go for gluten-free and whole wheat options.
For the mains, Chef Chimkiamco considers Tapenade’s Whole Roasted Chicken as his personal favorite as well as the US Baby Back Ribs made with Calabrian glaze—a combination of spices such as chili, cilantro and coriander—which he serves alongside a grilled corn and Scallion risotto. For both dishes, Chimkiamco made sure to give different twists for the refreshed menu, but at the same time decided to keep some of their familiar tastes.
But of course, the meal will never be complete without a sweet ending. Besides the crowd-favorite Manchego Cheesecake, the menu now has Italian Cannoli made of crispy Sicilian pastry shells, chocolate-ricotta filling and citrus sauce; and the Butterscotch Budino with salted caramel pudding and light whipped cream, best paired with sesame cookie.
To sum up what the direction they decided to take for their updated menu, de Ayala finally noted, “What we now offer is a balance between innovation and the dishes that have made us famous, so far.”
With a new menu and its ever a relaxing motif—plush seats, classic wares, wall-to-wall art pieces and lush Mediterranean garden—the dining experience at Restaurant Tapenade is not only refershing but can only get more exciting.