At Dulce Magat-Gibb’s A Table, It’s Both a Visual and Delicious FeastOctober 11, 2015
Dulce Magat-Gibb has been around for ages, but almost always under the radar. She spent many years as a chef, most notably at Pinoy stalwart Via Mare, but relegated most of her culinary skills to her private kitchen after starting a family. In recent years however, many know her as one of the secrets behind Pepita’s Kitchen, styling the degustations, and talks of her famed food would often circle the table. One dinner had others mentioning the lavish spreads she’d produce for her daughter’s school, and another, a Moroccan feast she’d made for a private dinner with friends. The food, however legendary the rumors, was unattainable to many, with Dulce’s goods unavailable to any market.
With much prodding from friends however, Dulce launched “A Table”, a concise menu of some of her best, which can be ordered for delivery, and will be the star of any spread instantly. You might even convince her to hold a private dinner for your friends, which you’ll want to do after reading what she has to offer from start to finish. She is the very definition of a perfectionist, so everything is made by Dulce herself, from the yogurts, to the sauces, to the cheeses, down to the crackers she serves alongside them.
It’s a cross-cultural menu which shows off the depth of Dulce’s culinary knowledge. There’s Middle Eastern labneh, tinged with the sweetness of piquillo peppers, and ricotta whose creaminess is brought to a more conplex level with layers of sundried tomato and pesto. The crackers she made herself are a highlight, so addicting that these crisp, cheesy, buttery things should be sold in giant tins for the holidays. Another appetizer, the layered sushi, sounds more about kitsch than flavor, but Dulce makes itan eating experience. Instead of mangoes, she uses grapes for sweetness, which makes one wonder why it’s never been done before, as they retain their crispness instead of devolving into mushy texture. It’s served alongside bowls of fresh uni, spicy tuna, nori, tempura flakes, and a kecap manis mayo, so you can adjust it to your liking.
Things get more impressive once you go down the menu; a giant salmon is encrusted in salt, and there’s ceremony in revealing the slightly pinkish flesh before the table. The massive pork belly is something that should be carved before many a Christmas table, and makes an arguable case for one of the best things you should be ordering this season. It is done so well in fact, that even a day and a half later, leftovers still presented slightly crispy skin. But when fresh, it seriously shatters, no joke. Eat it alone or douse it in gravy then dip it in equal parts mustard, lingonberry, and applesauce, for something even more festive.
Desserts make for edible centerpieces, with the Kransekake being the most visually impressive. It’s a tall tier of almond rings that are a cross between cake and cookie, and taken apart to be shared amongst your dining companions. There is also a honey cake with layers that alternate between fluffy and crunchy; what’s best is that her sweets are never too cloying.
It may be a few months until December, but this is something you need to bookmark for the holidays. Scratch that, make it every time you have an occasion you need to celebrate, a party you need to bring a dish to–Dulce Magat-Gibb is making some of the best homemade goods we’ve seen in a long time. Superlatives are warranted.
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A Table by Dulce Magat-Gibb