Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dulcelin Gourmet @ U.P. Town Center


Dulcelin Gourmet: Dulcelin’s First Ever Restaurant Proves that They’re Not Just About Desserts

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The name Dulcelin is synonymous with great desserts. Their Mango Torte, in particular, is so popular that it’s been known to cause heavy traffic in Times Square, QC, during the peak season. It is a well-loved institution that has loyal fans from all over the country. These loyal fans, and everyone else in Metro Manila for that matter, have cause for celebration because for the first time ever Dulcelin has its very own restaurant.


Mango Torte: Dulcelin's definitive house specialty

Dulcelin Gourmet is situated in the U.P. Town Center. As of our visit earlier in November, the place was still partially unfinished, with an exterior that is plain and simple. Same could be said of the interior; as of writing, there were no pictures hanging on the walls. But do not let this keep you from going inside and eating there, because the food at Dulcelin is truly phenomenal. It’s the kind of restaurant where if you hold the menu, close your eyes, and point to something at random, you can be sure that it’s good. So good, in fact, that you might have a hard time deciding what to eat. Let me give you a few ideas so that, when you visit Dulcelin Gourmet, you will be prepared.
 
Dulcelin’s first restaurant located in UP Town Center's second floor
 
The Red Rice Shiso Duo (P240) is a good dish to start with. Four shiso leaves are served with two different toppings. The first two are topped with seared tuna and shrimp. The other two, with SRF Wagyu skirt steak and pickled Radish. An aji tamago quail egg and Japanese rice mixed with Korean spices sit on top of all four. The dish comes with a delicious spicy mayo sauce. It was my first time to try shiso leaves and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they taste kind of minty. Pick the whole thing up, dip it in some sauce, eat it whole, and get ready for an explosion of flavor.
Red Rice Shiso Duo
 
Dulcelin Gourmet has a wonderful selection of mains to choose from. One of them is the Scotch Egg (P200 single serving / P350 good for 2-3 pax). This dish is so mind-bogglingly good that it had my photographer sighing wistfully for days after our visit. A double yolked egg is marinated, encased in Italian garlic sausage meat, breaded, and fried. The yolk is perfectly gooey and creamy, the meat flavorful, and the crunch from the breading makes for an extremely satisfying eating experience. The Scotch Egg is served with miso corn rice and topped with a yummy seaweed salad.
Scotch Egg
 
The Chili Oil Poached Halibut (P399) is a light but flavorful meal. A nice and flaky piece of Halibut fillet is poached in chili oil and topped with fried shallots and kaffir lime leaves. Slightly spicy, a little tangy, and plenty delicious. It is served with chorizo rice.
Chili Oil Poached Halibut
For chicken lovers out there, the Stuffed Chicken Breast (P299) is a musty-try. Dulcelin Gourmet’s take on the Cordon Bleu is poached chicken breast stuffed with a smooth and silky cream cheese & garlic filling and U.S Smithfield ham. It’s served on a bed of bell pepper sauce, with Chorizo rice, pickled corn relish and bacon sautéed French beans. A piece of fried chicken skin sits proudly atop this delectable dish.
Stuffed Chicken Breast
 
The owner of Dulcelin Gourmet, Ricky Morelos, is known for his expertise on meat. It is no wonder that the meat dishes in his restaurant are all top notch. Take the homemade Angus Corned Beef (P280), for example. Thin slices of beef brisket interspersed with fat are thinly sliced and marinated in 10 different spices. When I tried it, my eyes may have rolled back in my head a little as an oh-so-tender slice of corned beef practically melted in my mouth. I cannot stress enough how good this is. Please, try it for yourself.
Angus Corned Beef
 
Another meat masterpiece is the Wagyu Tri-tip and Short Ribs Duo (P500). The best kind of meat dishes take time to cook. This is no exception as the short ribs take 2 days to prepare and the tri-tip, 6 hours. The result is soft and juicy meaty goodness. Dip the short ribs in wine and port sauce and the tri-tip in the Japanese style skid sauce. It’s served with insanely good truffled mashed potatoes.
Wagyu Tri-tip and Short Ribs Duo
 
Another crazy-good dish is the Pork Inasal with Lechon Skins (P275). Marvel at the pork skins that have been pressed flat for maximum crispiness and the extremely tender lemongrass marinated pork that will bring lechon lovers down on their knees. Dip the skins in the accompanying lime-patis sauce for an added oomph.
Pork Inasal with Lechon Skins
 
In the short time that it’s been open, Dulcelin Gourmet has already established some crowd favorites. Two of those are the Dulcelin BBQ Rice (P195) and the Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese (P330). The BBQ rice is filling and perfect for those who love sweet-style barbecue. The Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese is filled with pulled pork shoulder, caramelized onions, and topped with BBQ sauce. This interesting take on the cheesy classic is a huge hit with kids and adults alike.  
Dulcelin BBQ Rice
 
Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese
Just in case I haven’t presented you with enough tempting meat options, here’s another one: Roast Beef Belly (P220 single serving / P499 good for 2-3 pax). Succulent slices of beef belly are served with a red wine and mushroom gravy, French beans, and white rice.
Roast Beef Belly
Another must-try dish is the Uni Pasta. As the time of our visit, it wasn’t on the menu yet but if you see it there, don’t hesitate to order it. The rich buttery smell will make your mouth water. Al dente pasta, properly cooked shrimp and uni butter all make for a truly extraordinary dish.
Uni Pasta
And of course, don’t pass up on dessert. This is Dulcelin, after all. Their cakes are available whole or by the slice. Now, there’s the famous Mango Torte and there’s no doubt that it’s delicious. But if you want to try something different, go for any of these three: Strawberry Cake (P140/slice), Callebaut Chocloate Ganache Cake (P165/slice), and my personal favorite the Irish Cream Flan Cake (P130/slice). I’m told that the Strawberry Cake is their second best-selling cake. When frozen, the cake’s pure dairy cream filling has the same consistency as ice cream. The chocolate ganache cake, on the other hand is perfect for chocoholics. Its premium Belgian chocolate icing, chocolate icing, and almond bits make for a very chocolatey dessert. What really caught my attention though, is the Irish Cream Flan Cake. Its dense butter cake is studded with chocolate chips and walnuts, soaked in a bit of rhum, and topped with a hefty flan made with real cream. It’s the stuff that sweet dreams are made of.
Strawberry Cake
 
Callebaut Chocloate Ganache Cake
 
Irish Cream Flan Cake
Now that I’ve managed to make you hungry over these dishes, there’s nothing left to do but drop by Dulcelin Gourmet. Whatever you decide to order, you can’t go wrong. That’s just how good their food is!


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Photos by Albert Peradilla; additional images courtesy of Dulcelin Gourmet.

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