Restaurant Spotlight: Las FloresOctober 16, 2018
- Mikka WeeWords
Probably one of the most significant contributions of Spain to the Philippines (aside from Catholicism, tobacco, and maybe even your last name) is their cuisine. For generations now, Filipinos have been stuffing themselves silly with Lengua, Arroz Caldo, and Callos with nary a thought for the dishes’ Hispanic roots. To this day, Spanish restaurants continue to dot Metro Manila. With so much competition, a restaurant needs to be truly special in order to stand out.
“Las Flores is a new restaurant concept in itself, very different from other Spanish restaurants,” says Lola Puga, Marketing Head of Las Flores Spanish restaurant in Fort Bonifacio. “The three owners come from Cataluña, Spain, and you can feel that heritage in the restaurant’s recipes, menu, and environment.”
Owned by former owners of Barcino, Las Flores (“The Flowers”) opened last July 30, 2012. “New and modern Spanish cuisine,” is how describes the menu. “It’s modern tapas served creatively and with fun. Actually, the name Las Flores was decided on because it holds a lot of vivacity. Essentially, the owners wanted it to be a happy place.”
“As you can see, the overall decoration (from the colors and patterns to the empty wine bottles used as décor) juxtaposed against white-washed walls, wooden flooring, and mismatched canvas chairs give Las Flores a very homey feel,” Lola tells us.
“The owners always stress that the cuisine served in Las Flores is mostly Spanish with a clear Catalan-Mediterranean influence,” Lola informs us before the dishes are served.
The Tazmania Smoked Salmon, which came with ricotta cheese and honey infused with a hint of truffle oil, was served as an appetizer. “The aroma of the truffle oil with the cheese, salmon, and sweet honey blends together so deliciously, creating a combination of flavors that is somehow surprising,” she explains. For our next course, we were served an assortment of Spanish tapas including Tuna Escabeche, Scallop Ceviche, Chorizo Croquetas, and Tuna Tartare.
Marinated tuna in white wine with an escabeche sauce.
Scallop ceviche marinated in olive oil with mixed herbs.
“For those who are new to Spanish cuisine, these croquetas stuffed with Spanish Chorizo are a definite must try,” Lola advises.
Tuna tartare with avocado & tomato jam.
Lola tells us that using very simple ingredients to create something special and truly inspired is more or less one of the trademarks of Spanish cuisine. “We take ingredients that seem small and discreet, and turn them into something amazing. We feel that people need to differentiate quality ingredients from ordinary ones by using the senses: taste, scent, touch, and not by its market price.”
Australian Angus Beef topped with Foie and caramelized apples.
For dessert, a traditional Catalan dessert along with Las Flores’s Chocolatisimo were served to us. “The pastries in Spain have evolved so much in recent years that it it is somewhat an arduous task to describe the desserts. But I could say that the development itself is very traditional. For example, restaurants [in Spain] make their own candy as if it were any other dish. Not only as a mere end for the evening, but also as an ingredient over the entire blend of flavors.”
The Mel I Mato is a signature desert from Catalan. It has ricotta cheese, honey, and walnuts. Lola says this what most customers order if they prefer a not-so-sweet dessert.
The menu describes the Chocolatisimo as a Chocolate Coolant, which made me wonder what a “coolant” is. “The word ‘coolant’ is a reference to one of the most popular desserts created by the masterful Michel Bras. It refers only to the effect of the melted chocolate inside, but it’s actually a dessert based on a recipe for chocolate fondant,” Lola explains. “The green tea ice cream served on the side gives a different touch when mixed with the hot, melted chocolate.”
“What elements make up good Spanish cuisine? The delicateness and respect for the flavors,” Lola tells us. “The freshness and quality of each ingredient, together with the passion of the chef, makes Spanish cuisine unique, different, and not to mention, very addictive. In short, !Rica! (yummy!),” Lola says brightly.