Since it opened in early 2015, Tapenade at Discovery Primea has been styling itself as a restaurant serving Mediterranean fare with lots of vegetables, richly flavored main dishes, pizzas and the generous lashings of extra-virgin olive oil.
It quickly became a favorite for diners trying to eat healthy, with its “salad room” where, for about P800, one could feast on couscous, mixed salads, cheeses, cold cuts, assorted nuts and chopped fruits.
The room is still there and remains popular among the ladies who (linger over) lunch. The price for lunch, however, has increased—it’s now around P1,000 per person.
Early this month, a new menu was introduced, one that is still Mediterranean in flavor but designed for sharing.
“We’ve noticed that customers enjoy sampling their seatmates’ orders, so we’ve come out with main courses that can be passed around,” said Discovery Primea’s general manager David Pardo de Ayala.
Before we could dig into these dishes, however, executive chef Luis Chikiamco sent out new appetizers to whet our appetites.
Mozzarella & Friends consists of gobs of white buffalo cheese served with tiny pots of basil pesto (fresh and herby), black olive tapenade, romesco dip and fruit mostarda. Prosciutto & Company has items that go well with salty cured meat like sliced cantaloupe, fresh mango and asparagus.
Seafood lovers can choose from Shrimps en Gambardina, a Spanish-style tempura with aioli dip kicked up a notch with the addition of pimenton. Prawns Saltimbocca with garlic, lemon, parsley risoni and prosciutto crisp. The red snapper topped with stewed tomatoes, cilantro and crisp-fried onions is packed with flavor and texture.
Among the close to 20 new dishes that Chikiamco and his team created is a meaty pasta dish with Italian guanciale, fennel sausage and smoked bacon, and a salmon linguine with dill cream sauce and fresh spinach.
The main dishes we sampled last week included Pork Milanese, the chef’s version of Wiener Schnitzel—pork fillet flattened with a mallet that is then battered and fried. It’s served topped with sous vide, soft-cooked egg and black truffle cream.
The favorite, however, was the Wagyu Beef paella, pan-fried rice topped with strips of premium Wagyu beef.
The one-dish meal is good for two to three people, but Pardo de Ayala said that since the menu launch in early October, he’s known of one diner who finished an entire order with no help at all.
We were too full for dessert, so the chef gave us boxed individual portions of the restaurant’s signature Manchego Cheesecake. It had a pleasant, smoky taste and was delicious with coffee.
Tapenade, Discovery Primea, 6749 Ayala Ave. Makati; tel. 79558888; email [email protected]; visit discoveryprimea.com; follow Discovery Primea on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter