He only has two days left before he flies to Spain to represent the Philippines at the 21st edition of San Sebastian Gastronomika, but celebrity chef and author Sau del Rosario just had to go with a bang.
Collaborating with Discovery Primea executive chef Luis Chikiamco, the two heavyweights of the Philippine culinary scene cooked up a night celebrating glorious meat-based fare with “Carnivore: A Four Hands Dinner” at Flame Restaurant on Tuesday night. The dinner also showed off Chef Sau’s talent for pairing his food with free-flowing wines from California winemakers Wente Vineyard, the oldest family-operated winery in the United States.
By 7 o’clock, the first course was served: Home-cured Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Brisket Sinigang sa Bayabas with market vegetables, guava, and Dalisay rice. The Sinigang broth was punchy and aromatic, making you crave another spoonful. The beef was tender and flavorful, readily yielding to any utensil with minimal effort. The light and citrus-laced Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc went beautifully with the dish by highlighting the acidity of the Sinigang broth.
The second course exudes of Chinese influences and it was presented in such an adorable way. A Flame Restaurant take-out box (think of Chinese take-out from your favorite U.S. sitcom) on its side, spilling some Kurobuta Pork Belly Char Siu with sweet and savory egg noodles, bok choy, leeks, and cucumber. The notes of Jasmine in the paired Morning Fog Chardonnay complemented the sweetness of the exceptionally tender Char Siu and the hint of spice from the egg noodles.
The two chefs amped up the heat with the third course: Snake River Farms Beef Sirloin Lechon Baka with Malunggay Pan de Sal and Tomato-Chili Jam. First of all, that Tomato-Chili Jam must be bottled and sold to the public as soon as possible. It was such a delight to the palate, making the slivers of lechon baka (roasted beef) burst with flavor. Chef Sau paired it with a glass of Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir because of its subtle hints of spice.
The Sinampalukan U.S. Rack of Lamb was the fourth course. The grilled lamb shone with tamarind glaze, its tartness offset by the creamy sweetness of sweet potato and pumpkin puree. The dish was paired with moreish Ginataang Sigarilias (winged beans in coconut cream; reminiscent of a milder take on Gising-Gising) and a glass of Sandstone Pinot. The piquant tamarind glaze took care of the gamey taste often associated with lamb, while the Pinot’s berry-laced notes worked well with the flavors of the meat.
For the fifth and last meat course of the night, Chef Sau and Chef Luis served Josper-grilled Snake River Farms Wagyu Rib-Eye Cap with Bistek Tagalog Sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and Dalisay sinangag (garlic fried rice). The hefty piece of beef was infinitely tender and every bite felt like a hug your grandma. The Bistek Tagalog sauce was a nice touch and the sinangag made this pitch a home run, winning points for nostalgia. The earthiness of the Charles Wetmore Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon went well with the savoriness of the beef and sinangag.
The finale of the “Carnivore” dinner was Chef Sau’s signature dessert: Brazo de Mercedes con Mais. Imagine your favorite brazo de mercedes infused with sweet corn custard — it’s the perfect way to end such an evening.
According to Chef Sau, there are already plans of having a second run of “Carnivore”. So make sure to stay tuned for future announcements.