My friend, Marivic, first spoke about Vask a few months back. I think it was in February or March when she dined there and posted some photographs from Manila’s restaurant scene’s newest baby. She was very fortunate to have tried Vask even before it opened to the public.
The main man behind Vask is Chef José Luís “Chele” González, a Spaniard who was once part of El Bulli, Arzak, Mugaritz, Noma, and El Celler de Can Roca. The mention of these esteemed establishments associated with Sr. González indeed sent waves to Manila’s discerning foodie circles and individuals. Eventually, Vask caught steam and has enticed even the “un-discerning”.
I first tried Vask in May to welcome my “Birthday Week” with a close friend, Nicole. We both felt we were entering into uncharted territory in Manila: molecular cuisine.
Fortunately, we ordered a balanced menu:
Huevos, Hongos y Cebolla,
Pimientos Rellenos De Bakalao,
We also had some tortilla de patata con jamon Serrano
and a complimentary soup of lentejas con chorizo (I think they used morcilla).
How was my over-all first Vask experience?
One word: EXQUISITE.
The food was excellent. Not perfect, but excellent. I found the bacalao a tad too fishy. I don’t know how it was cooked in the pimientos but it retained so much fishy taste I doubted if it was soaked properly. The sauce too was overpowering and the pimientos themselves were wilted and overcooked. Presentation-wise, it didn’t look too inviting as compared to the other dishes.
The Huevos, Hongos y Cebolla was a revelation. It was my first ever molecular dish and the “foam” just mesmerized me. How did it taste? Stellar. At first I didn’t know how to describe it. But soon, as the morsels lingered on my tongue, a whole symphony of flavors played. It was hard to identify at first but soon there was the taste of fresh egg, sea weed, garlic, onions and a bit of spice. The dish, I mentioned, was a stellar performance.
The croquetas were cooked perfectly. Nothing amazing but it was delicious. The tortilla de patata con jamon Serrano was superb. Generous, fluffy and tasty!
What else made the experience exquisite?
Everything else, I could say. From the moment we were greeted by well-dressed greeters (yes! They have greeters! Not security guards! GREETERS. This is a wake-up call to other restaurants.) to the polite and helpful wait staff, the dining experience in Vask was delightful.The ambiance was also enjoyable. It was Dali-esque, in fact! There was a spoon-and-fork seesaw and “hidden Mickeys” on the walls and ceilings of the restos. The deck had a view of Makati and The Fort, and the purple lights there added an undeniable funky and cool vibe to the alfresco area. Even the glasses were reminiscent of Dali! Slanted, you’d think you were either dizzy or drunk!
Fast forward to 6 more dining experiences and I returned to Vask on my 7th time last week.
This time, it was a reunion with a high school friend, Chiara, and her witty novio, Jack. It was also very timely as my date that evening, Moncie, was celebrating her birthday the following day. It was a lovely and cheery birthday salubong, she admitted.
What made it a pleasant evening?
Again, service played a key role. We were allowed to enjoy our drinks at the funky deck, and then directed to our seats inside when it started to drizzle. Glasses of water came automatically.
The food that evening was superb.
First, we have complimentary soup of pulpo or octopus. I then requested that all the other dishes be served simultaneously.
The dishes we ordered were croquetas de pollo,
Kurobota cheeks, Risotto con tinto negro and their famous
Txuleton. Every single dish was of superior quality.
Try out Vask, and “vask” in the delightful dining experience it offers.