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My Square Meter

Latest Spanish resto in BGC, the restos at Solaire

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JAPANESE modern lines with wall art by photographer Tom Epperson at Yakumi Restaurant

In the restaurant space, there is the big opening and the even bigger launch. And all too often, my first impressions of the new restaurant are not about the cuisine but determined by the interiors. And with good reason, for it is my visual sense that first meets the new place, well before the food meets my taste buds.

Vask is the latest Spanish tapas restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. As the name sounds, it comes from the Basque region in northern Spain, from the world “vasok,” meaning man. The place is conceptualized to have three areas.

The Dining Room is an authentic pintxos bar serving “pinches” of many types of comfort food. Chef Chele wanted to make a food revolution and he has done it here, with a fusion of authentic Basque cuisine plus intelligent cocktails.

The interiors are inspired by the tactile quality of cheese—the ceiling in fact perforated with a Swiss-cheese pattern made from oak veneer. The bar is set in Carrara marble to give it a sleek and clean look, overlooking an open kitchen. The color tones are muted monotones of black, white, aluminum and gray.

Quite interestingly, Vask includes The Deck, a 270-degree-panorama lounge deck and sculptural garden. It’s a place to chill during the sunset hour and even into the wee hours of the morning, as the music continues. The music is programmed to be global, funky and sexy—in short, very Basque!

The Deck sports outdoor sofas in enchanting V-shapes, embracing the “V” of Vask and providing versatility in seating options. Iconic “transformational utensils” are scattered about: spoons bend into loveseats, knives become seesaws and forks transform into lighting armatures. The view overlooks Makati and Taguig, and the city lights add to the drama of the entire space.

CHEF’S table at The Strip Steakhouse at Solaire Resort and Casino

The third component of Vask is The Gallery, described as “an ever-changing ‘metaspace’ and inspired from memory, textures, technique and history. Artisanal food concoctions combined with curated, high art to give a temporal and ephemeral experience.”

The Gallery is minimalist in design, with natural satin, concrete floors, silver-gray, veneer tables and metal, wire-mesh Louie chairs. The space allows the art that will be displayed to shine on its own.

After all that, how is the food? Discover it for yourselves! Vask is at the Clipp Center in BGC, a building designed by renowned architect Ed Calma. The interiors were designed by Carlo Calma. For reservations, call 0920-918-5326.

The restaurants in Solaire

And then there is Solaire. The new casino at the heart of Pagcor Entertainment City is inspired by the Manila Bay sunset, thus the name, derived from the French “breeze from the sun.”

Solaire has so many superlatives to write about that it will take me many columns to do justice to the entire integrated resort. So let me start with the restaurants that I have tried so far.

Finestra, the authentic Italian, fine-dining restaurant in the resort, is beautifully festooned with marble floors, and ceilings and walls lined with golden-glass baubles, all framing gigantic, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay. Finestra is well-named, as the word is Italian for “windows,” indeed the restaurant’s strongest focal point.

DRAGON Bar at Solaire with crystal dragon sculpture

To the side of the dining area is a massive, open kitchen with stainless steel equipment and high ceilings, all lorded over by authentic Italian chefs. I was recently on a food trip to the Veneto region in Italy, so I was happy to discover that the cheeses, antipastos, handmade pasta and wood-fired, oven-cooked pizzas are all the same quality you would get in Italy. The chef said that their burrata is flown in daily from Italy, and this mozzarella and cream concoction is worth the visit.

Just beside Finestra is Yakumi by Chef Norimasa Kosaka. This will be the best fine-dining Japanese restaurant in Manila, with authentic ingredients flown in directly from the markets of Tokyo. I had the chance to sample the sushi on opening day together with art consultant Teresa Herrera, and we both had a blast with the unique flavors.

There is so much more to try that I shall certainly be making many more trips to Solaire this next few weeks. Congratulations are in order to the team of tycoon Ricky Razon and his partners at Global Gaming Asset Management. Their billion-dollar bet on our country has brought us to the ranks of world-class gaming cities like Las Vegas and Macau.

Check out www.tessaprietovaldes.com.


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