Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rastro Tapas Bar - Taps King of Burgos Circle BGC

Rastro Tapas Bar and Restaurant: Meet the Tapas King of Burgos Circle

Local foodies will remember Rastro was one of the restaurants of the late great chef Ed Quimson. The tapas bar recently underwent some changes, taking a nouvelle approach on some dishes while retaining some long-standing favorites.

When in Spain, tapas are usually comprised of a small plate of olives, anchovies, and paper-thin slices of jamon enjoyed with a caña or two (okay, three… at least). These snacks would tide one’s hunger, as Spanish dinners tend to start late in the night. Think of it as an extended happy hour or a nightly block party!

One of the popular dishes retained from Chef Ed’s days is the Huevos Rancheros (P180 - regular P160 - for sharing), made out of fried shoestring potatoes, Spanish chorizo, and garlic aioli, decadently topped with a fried quail egg. Trying to have just one is a struggle, so it’s best to just write the meal down as a diet cheat and move along.

Huevos Rancheros
Here’s a tip when dining in Rastro: don’t expect any raw celery and carrot sticks. Instead, welcome the Gambas al Ananda (P250), which are gambas topped with rich, deadly aligue or crab fat. Apparently, a little girl named Ananda loves the dish so much that she would order it with extra sauce and a plate of rice. Ah, to be young, foolish, and gifted with efficient metabolism!
Gambas al Ananda
Paella negra lovers, or refined carb lovers for that matter, will adore the Bolitos Negro (P140). These are deep-fried paella negra rice and squid, drizzled with the creamy garlic aioli. Another deep-fryer favorite are the Croquetas (P130). Rastro has two versions, one made out of creamy potatoes and tiny chunks of chorizo, and another of deep fried béchamel and chicken.
Bolitos Negro
For those who prefer protein pulutan, the Chistoria (P260), flown directly from Spain, and the Salpicao (P265) are the way to go. A word of caution though—they may induce cravings for white hot, fluffy rice as many garlicky, spicy, artery-clogging dishes tend to do.
Salpicao and Chistoria
Rastro is also well known for its cocktails, with the ultra-refreshing Mojito (P180). This classic cocktail is made up of muddled mint leaves, lime, and sugar with rum and club soda. Papa Hemingway would definitely approve of Rastro’s version. The Guavatini (P180) is another popular drink with both the ladies and gents. Despite the rosy color, this fruity concoction gives a mighty kick! For those who prefer their drinks fizzy and light, then the White and Red Wine Spritzers (P190) are the way to go.
White and Red Wine Spritzers
After many, many cañas and tapas, it’s time for dinner. For the good livin’ Spaniards, dinner is anytime between 10pm to midnight. After several rounds of salty appetizers and sweet cocktails, only a hearty meal filled with creamy white carbs and steaming, fork-tender meats will do… paella for instance.
Paellas Negra and Catalana
Rastro has several paella flavors, but the favorites are the Paella Catalana (P550 - small, P995 - medium, P1,395 - large) and the Paella Negra (P520 - small, P945 - medium, P1,300 - large). The Catalana is twist on the paella mixto, featuring prawns, mussels, chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. The negra is loaded with garlic aioli, squid, mussels, and fish fillets.
Paella Catalana
Paella Negra
The Iberian Chicken (P635 - small, P1,150 - large) is one of the standout dishes in Rastro. A whole chicken is marinated for 36 hours in olive oil and whole garlic cloves. It is then cooked with roasted baby potatoes and spices. The result is a silky-textured chicken with an aroma that can work up an appetite.
Iberian Chicken
Always make room for dessert. If the stomach is unwilling, grab a digestif to make way for at least a few bites of Rastro’s delectable Turrones Pastor (P180) and the Triple Chocolate Silk (P150). The turrones are delicate flutes of custard that are deep-fried and dusted with sugar. Like many of Rastro’s dishes, it’s impossible to have just one. Lastly, the Triple Chocolate Silk may sound like a toothache waiting to happen, but it’s actually more refined. This cool and creamy dessert is made up of layers of white chocolate and unsweetened milk and dark chocolate, on top of a crumbly chocolate cookie crust. The addition of sweet-tart mango slices gives just the right amount of contrast. Along with a cup of tea or coffee, these desserts could signal the end of a long and delicious dinner or start of a hot night!
Turrones Pastor
Triple Chocolate Silk
While most of the menu items are definitely on the rich and indulgent side, it’s worth noting that the Rastro prides itself on using only grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, and organic pork and vegetables. They also support many local farmers and suppliers.
Oyster Nights every Tuesday
Rastro also has weekly events that are sure to add a little more spice and oomph to the usual parties. Because Tuesday is the day after Monday, they celebrate it with Oyster Night, where guests can enjoy oysters prepared according to their preference. Choose them freshly shucked with squeeze of citrus, or baked with cheese and other toppings!  On “Hump-day” Wednesday, there is Jazz and Paella Night, where Rastro fires up the paelleras and cooks up new and exciting paella flavors. Because of its prime location along Burgos Circle, diners may enjoy al fresco dining along with live jazz music. Lastly, during hot Saturday nights, sexy Salsa Dancing is on the menu, along with sangrias at sunset.
Establishment Info


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