Of baked cheese, oxtail and a young banker abusing an expense account (Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge)

How the heck do you dress up as a young banker abusing an expense account?

That was my biggest concern when I got an invite to try out a tapas bar at BGC a couple of nights ago. Well, I’m young, am “technically” a banker, but I don’t have an expense account to abuse. Haha!

How awesome is the typeface of that R? R!

Anyway, I’ve only been introduced to the culture of tapas just about a year ago. I blame it on a boss who literally has Barcino as her neighbor. (Barcino is awesome, by the way.) Moving into my current company kind of forced me to learn to appreciate the finer things in life too. Read: wine. And what good is wine without tapas, right?

Ironically, I didn’t have wine that night. (But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge is the brainchild of Timo Roxas-Chua and a group of friends which includes Chef Benjo Tuason. Story goes Chef Benjo left everything he had going for him in Australia to indulge Timo’s wishes of setting up a restaurant in Manila. Last Thursday, I found out that the two may be up to something worth leaving Australia behind.

I have a feeling this two here barely consider Relik as "work".

I had a glass of Beck’s and some chicken tenders at Draft before going ‘cause I figured we’ll just be up for some small servings at Relik. True enough, these boards of the usual suspects were served:

Baked Australian Brie: creamy Yarra Valley Brie wrapped in jamon and lightly glazed with honey.

Tasting Board: jamon serrano, chorizo pamplona “Casedemont”, boneless “Diego Martin”, stuffed “Serpis” Spanish olives and Manchego "Artequeso”.

This I chose myself. My default cocktail. Mojito!

I was already happy with these until more food started to come in. My jaw dropped. I wasn’t ready! But hey, who am I to complain about good food right?

BBQ chicken quesadillas served with guacamole and tomato salsa.

Relik mixed paella: Momma Dedet went wild on this one. :-P

Mussels and Chrorizo: New Zealand green mussels sautéed in garlic cream and Spanish chorizo.

300g Benny’s Certified Angus Rib-eye. Meaaaaaaat.

This was too pink even for me but surprise, surprise! Not chewy at all. Yey!

Mother Ann’s braised ox-tail: slow braised Australian ox- tails served with pomme puree and buttered carrots.

Chorizig: crispy chorizo bits topped over Relik's own version of a Filipino favorite - sisig.

Vanilla and amaretto panacotta: cooked cream with a berry compote.

So yeah, they have full meals too. :-P

Of all the good food that was served, I was wowed by three.

The first, and obviously the star of the night, was the baked Brie. If I had to order just one dish off of Relik’s menu, this would be it. The almost melted, creamy and delicately-flavored cheese was complemented very well by the slightly sweet cured ham. I ate it without the crostini and I wasn’t overwhelmed one bit. It was sooo good, I finished off the wheel that was served at our table. (Sorry na…)

Another that got rave reviews from everyone including me was the ox-tail stew. That dish was honest to goodness comfort food. In my book, you can never go wrong with tender and fall-off the bone meat (and fat :-P) paired with a thick, savory sauce. They truly  got serious on this one.

Finally, and totally unexpected, was the panacotta. One does not necessarily expect great sweet endings from a tapas bar, but Relik’s had one of the better versions of the dessert. What I fawned over for was how the chef nailed my preferred consistency. I was telling Allesi and Vince that it reminded me of the texture of a very well-executed and custard-y leche flan (as oppose to firm and stiff). The sweetness was spot on too. Quick tip: don’t save the berries for last. Eat it with the panacotta. ;-)

Some other memorable items to watch out for are the truffle oil chips, the chunky guacamole that’s served with the quesadillas, and finally the “it’s weird at first but it totally works” flavor combination of honey and cayenne covering the Manchego cubes.

Oh! One last thing. I am so bummed out by the fact that I came in late that night, that I wasn’t able to take photos of the place. This I can assure you though: the aesthetics of Relik will not disappoint.  What it lacks in outdoor spaces, it makes up with eclectic yet still very classy interiors. Both the main area and the VIP section was very well-appointed and designed. (Look out for the cool couches. :-)) I really wouldn’t mind hanging out here for a long time either for lunch or another dinner. Or for late night partying, perhaps. I hear the crowd’s good up until four in the morning. (Di ba Chef Benjo? :-P)

And no, you don't really have to be as rich as a young banker abusing an expense account. :-P

In case you’re wondering, I wore a suit over a casual shirt, jeans and black leather shoes. Everyone seemed to like it, from the office to the event, so I guess I triumphed in that front. Now how to build that account… ;-)

***

Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge
2nd floor, Commercenter Building, 31st Ave cor. 4th St. Bonifacio Global City, 1200 Taguig, Philippines (directly across St. Luke’s Global City; behind Mercury Drug; on the same building as Chatime and Singapore Food Republic)
Hours:
Monday to Friday: 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm onwards.
Saturday and Sunday: 5:00 pm onwards.
Offerings:
Executive set lunches for lunch
Main courses from 5:00-10:00pm
Tapas served all the day long and up to 1:00am from Sunday to Thursday and up to 3:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Phone: +639175298333
Email: info.relik@yahoo.com

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