Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vask Modern Tapas: A Taste of Modern, Innovative Basque Cuisine

Vask Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine is an innovative Spanish restaurant that serves both traditional and modern tapas inspired by the flavors of Basque Country in Northern Spain. At the restaurant's helm is Chef Jose Luis "Chele" Gonzalez, who has worked in the kitchens of some of the world's best restaurants including El Bulli, a Spanish restaurant that has won the title of the world's best restaurant five times. He also worked for Noma from Denmark, who won the title in 2010. Chef Chele Gonzalez has also worked at Arzak, Mugaritz and El Cellar de Can Roca (won in 2013 and 2015). 

You can choose to order from the restaurant's traditional or modern menu, both prepared using modern culinary techniques and molecular gastronomy - showcasing the innovation and creativity of Chef Chele and his team of brilliant chefs. 

If you're looking for an culinary experience that truly excites the palate, I suggest you head down to Vask Modern Tapas.  We had the pleasure of trying out dishes from their modern menu and here are some of the dishes that I absolutely loved. 

Vask Modern Tapas is certainly proud of winning Esquire's Restaurant of the Year in 2013. To this day, they're still considered to be one of the best Spanish restaurants in Metro Manila.

The interiors of Vask really felt upscale, with the mickey mouse themed ceilings and pieces of art carefully placed around the restaurant. The elegant aesthetics make it such a pleasant place to have nice, intimate conversations over some top-notch dishes. 

The Carpaccio de Wagyu con Helado de Parmesano (Php 475) is Australian mayura wagyu carpaccio served with a quenelle of parmesan ice cream, and crispy pine nuts. I really liked it and I was a bit sad that there wasn't more of it. The best way to eat it is to get a bit of everything so that the flavors really balance - wagyu, pine nuts, and parmesan ice cream. Oh, that presenting parmesan as ice cream is such a great idea! 

Note that carpaccio is raw beef so if you don't eat anything raw then stay clear of this dish. It would be a shame not to have a taste though.  

The Foie Gras on Mango Toast (Php 695) is caramelized foie gras mousse served on top of mango toast. It was the dish of the evening and it's something you should definitely get when you dine at Vask. I know that foie gras is pretty expensive, but I've have had both good and bad experiences with foie gras so I had my doubts with this dish (mango, really?!). 

Surprisingly, I really loved the complex flavors that each bite gives, from the salty and mild bitterness of the caramelized foie gras mouse to the sweet-sour flavors of the mango. It's a combination that I didn't think would work, but is actually absolutely brilliant!

The Pulpo a la Gallega (Php 495) is octopus cooked three ways served with mashed potato, olive oil and paprika. This is my other favorite Vask dish and a dish I'm craving for up to this day. The presentation was hand-down amazing, and since I can't really describe it in words you can just see the video here

The dish was just perfect, just take a bite with a bit of mashed potato, olive oil, and the paprika on the sides so that it balances beautifully. This dish wins in presentation, flavor, and texture. 

The Atun Crukiente con Foie Gras y Cebolla Caramelizada (Php 695) is a crispy pan seared tuna with pan foie gras on a bed of caramelized onions. It's a crowd favorite and it was a dish I also liked (it just wasn't as spectacular as the previous two). The tuna itself was fresh and perfectly pan fried so that it's cooked on the outside and a bit raw and juicy inside. To truly enjoy it you have to pair it with the bed of caramelized onions on the bottom because the tuna itself wasn't seasoned too much. 

The Tomato Relleno sobre Risotto de Setas (Php 495) is semolina mushroom risotto served with a stuffed tomato that's filled with bacon, shrimp, and onions. This is easily my favorite main course, the paella of orzo pasta (yes, that's not rice!) was cooked al dente, creamy, and flavored beautifully. The tomato stuffing also came as a nice surprise.

If you're looking for a photo of the tomato stuffing, you can check out my zomato review. 

The Scallops and Black Ink Risotto (Php 650) is a dish of pan seared scallops, crispy parmesan chips, and some green asparagus on a bed of black ink risotto. A number of my fellow foodies didn't particularly love this dish, but I liked smokey flavor of the rice that goes well with the squid ink. When paired with a bit of the parmesan chips and the pan-seared scallops you get a really nice flavor out of it. 

If you're on a date, you might want to stay clear of this because the black ink really gets on your teeth (but it can easily be rinsed off). 

The Torrija (Php 210) is a brioche doused in milk and served with anise ice cream. I really liked the moist, creamy brioche when it was paired with the anise ice cream. I find that it was a nice dessert to cap off such a flavor filled meal. It wasn't too sweet, but it definitely was a sweet finish. 

After dinner, you can have drinks at the Deck - an outdoor lounge with cozy couches and a beautiful view of the Rockwell Skyline. 

The place is always packed so it's highly recommended that you book a reservation. 

Food Quality: 4.5
Service Quality: 
Ambiance: 4.5

Overall Quality: 4.5

Vask Modern Tapas is one of Metro Manila's most innovative restaurants where the who's who of Manila dine. The culinary experience at Vask is top-notch and you can be assured that you get what you are pay for - from the restaurant's beautiful aesthetics, the amazing presentation of all the dishes, and the meticulously balanced flavors from each dish. 

I will definitely be back to try some of the amazing dishes from their traditional menu. It won't hurt to have a second serving of the Foie Gras on Mango Toast, Pulpo, a La Gallega, or the Tomato Relleno sobre Risotto de Somola de Setas. 

Vask Modern Tapas
Fifth Floor, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue cor. 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63 917 806 5292

Further reading you might like:

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Chef Jay

Vask Modern Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. The author did not pay for any of the dishes mentioned in this article. This, however, does not impair the unbiased opinion of the reviewer. 

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