The best discovery recently is a very good new Italian Restaurant, Francesco’s Kitchen. Located in a beautifully restored house A. Mabini in San Juan, it is the newest loved restaurant in the area. In partnership with Tita Trillo, Chairperson, Titania Wine cellar, Chef Patron Francesco Rizzo formerly Head Chef of Paparazzi Restaurant of the Edsa Shangrila Hotel, brought his Mother’s dining tradition to the discerning Filipinos.
Guests were welcomed with a wide array of antipasti and bites freshly made from the brick oven. It was a great beginning as guests tried each item Chef Francesco personally served. Later guests were ushered to their assigned tables for a family style dinner. Starting off with a cappuccino-like soup with snap peas roasted garlic foam. It was an unusual but delectable soup you sip from a cup just like a cappuccino.
For the rest of the dinner, Chef Francesco wanted to share his family tradition of enjoying a meal from Puglia, Italy. And Titania Wine Cellar accompanied this concept with wines from the Old World and New World, displaying the versatility of food and wine pairing.
The first set of meal, served per dish, as Chef Francesco’s mother would do it, is composed of grains and pasta specialty. Seafood fregula on tomato water is the first to come out. It was explained by Chef Francesco that fregula may look like a risotto, but is actually a filling pasta from the province of Sardinia. The guests’ curiosity was piqued and satisfied with its light tomato seafood flavor. Next on the table was Maccheroncini with lamb ragout and aged ricotta, followed by the well-received asparagus cream risotto with pancetta. This first course set was perfectly paired with the light and flexible Three Wishes Chardonnay, and Three Wishes Merlot from California.
Come the main meats for the night, guests raved about the braised beef short ribs with negroamaro, shallots, rosemary, and spices with mushroom casserole complemented by Escudo Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon by the prestigious Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Chile. And then an excellent example of food and wine pairing was the roasted sea bass with balsamic herbs roasted tomato salsa with capers and olives, and Argentina’s award-winning winemaker, Opi Sadler’s signature wine, Opi Chardonnay. The lightness and oil of the dish balanced well with the full-bodied white wine. Which also showed great pairing with the Cotechino stuffed chicken in lentils stew.
Before dessert was served, a nice strawberry marsala trifles paired with crowd-favorite Natalie Sweet Chardonnay from Spain, Chef Francesco was given a well-deserved round of applause and praises. It was an enjoyable dinner, and gathering of old and new friends. Exactly how an Italian meal should be!