Monday, March 30, 2015

Comida Chefs Gallery Café Kamias Road Review: Ilocano-fusion Hole-in-the-wall Snack Bar

It may seem a bit odd for some people to combine an art gallery together with an intimate dining set up. But for some reason, it perfectly jived—and such was the case at Comida Chefs. Located at the second floor of Caballete Art Gallery, along that bustling Kamias Road in Quezon City, Comida Chefs is a brainchild of renowned fashion designer Danny Dela Cuesta, who had traveled around the world and studied a culinary course in Europe. He used to have a restaurant in Lucky Plaza mall in Singapore which served a fusion of Singaporean + Filipino cuisines, but he decided to come home to the Philippines and open up a catering business and a small dining area that serves Ilocano-fusion. This is his specialization as he’s a regional cuisine developer. He first opened up Comida Ilocandia along Timog but he had to close it down when an opportunity to partner with an art gallery opened because such is the trend now. Thus, Comida Chefs was born.

Comida Chefs Danny Dela Cuesta

There are a lot of things I love about Comida Chefs. First of all, they do not use any preservatives on their food—everything is from the scratch, no instant artificial flavorings or anything with MSG. They use only natural stuff, the kind our grandma used to cook. Secondly, I liked the idea that they are leaning towards heritage foods while still giving them a twist of modern cooking. And finally, I liked the set-up as well. They do personal chefs via their Comida Chefs Catering and business development. For a minimum number of 150 persons, they could give 7 variants of food for Php150 per head. That’s a good value for money right?

Beef balls skewered on lemon grass stalks

Comida Chefs isn’t exactly a full blown restaurant but it is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall. The ambiance is rather homey with funny cartoon characters painted on the wall as you get upstairs to the dining area. Upon getting to the second floor, there are huge lanterns adorning the ceiling which creates a bit of romantic mood.

Spaglog-Comida Chef's version of pancit palabok

We were served with Chef’s Spalog (derived from spaghetti luglog). It’s his version of the popular Pancit palabok sans the rich orange sauce. It’s made of the same luglog starch based noodles of authentic pancit palabok but it’s given a twist using pesto sauce mixed with tinapa flakes+ seafood toppings. It tasted okay, but since I could manage to do this in my own kitchen, I’d say there’s nothing quite extraordinary about Comida Chefs spaghetti loglog.

My ultimate fave: Comida Chef's Tangy Rice Stick Soup

What I’d like to really rave about was the other noodle dish called Tangy Rice Stick Soup. It’s made from homemade hearty rice sticks in sour minty and spicy broth with fish balls and squid balls, tofu and salted eggs as toppings. I love its rich flavors and it’s really a comfort food. It brings together all the flavors one can manage in one cup—tangy, sweet, a bit salty with some hint of mint and yes, with a kick of the spice here and there. A real fusion of flavors that gives one’s palate an exercise. I swear, I think I won’t mind eating this Tangy Rice Stick Soup for a week and still not getting tired of it. This is highly recommended on a rainy day, on days when you are tired and feeling sick or you simply want to uplift your spirit. It will leave you wanting for your next cup and the next thing you’ll know, you’re full but not feeling bloated.

Ilocano Longanisa and Comida chefs' chorizo burger

We were also served with Comida Chefs’ Longaburger—a trio of beef, chicken and pork rolled together with lemon grass. Cheese sauce and sour cream. I love it as well. It reminds me of souvlaki, only this time it’s served with authentic Asian flavors.

Chef Danny Dela Cuesta

Spalog, Beef ball and Latija

End your meal with Latija Comida—banana cinnamon trifle which resembles tiramisu. According to the Chef, Latija is an old Spanish pastry served only in Easter. It’s made from milk sponge cake, caramelized banana, custard cream and powdered cinnamon sugar.
Oh, and before I forget, make sure you order Comida Chefs’ Pandan Lemongrass Cooler. It’s pandan lemongrass tea blended with pandan syrup. It tastes really good and so refreshing. Best of all, it goes well with almost any of the viands or snacks you can order from Comida chefs’ menu.

Refreshing Pandan Lemongrass Cooler
Latija Comida

I wish I could try other items which Comida Chefs offers on their menu such as Ensalada/Ceviches, their All-Day Value meals (adobo Antigua, Longanisa with eggs, Higado, bagoong rice bowl, pork bbq, crispy bagnet) etc. There’s more to try and perhaps it’s enough reason to come back to Comida Chefs soon. I’d certainly be back.

Comida Chefs' All Day Value meals

Chef Danny Dela Cuesta shows us his Latija Comida dessert

If you want to experience Comida Chefs Gallery Café degustacion just as I did, come and visit them at the 2nd floor of Caballete Art Gallery, 111-A Kamias Road, Quezon City

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions are 100% my own.


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