Txanton: Get Schooled in the Country’s First JamoneriaAugust 18, 2020
Txanton is not a restaurant. This might be the first misconception once you step foot into the place, or when you take a look at either of the three dining rooms found inside the space. Yes, there is an a la carte menu on hand, but a quick look at it reveals what Txanton is really all about—jamon, particularly the celebrated Iberico breed.
This place is a jamoneria—the country’s first. It shows off the porcine stuff of legend, in all its cuts, forms, and grades. The menu here comes second, and serves as a companion to their premium product. There are bocadillos or simple Spanish sandwiches, where the bread is impeccable, and have the simplest ingredients between each slice. There are six small plates on the menu, all which feature jamon—a jamon roller stuffs sweet tomatoes into plump cigars of ham, then adorns it with a pistachio dressing that was profoundly simple and executed with precision. The most complex of the dishes are still straightforward: a croquette studded with jewels of iberico, and a tortilla Española which still had a fluid, eggy center.
The star of the show must be jamon, and while the succinct menu holds its own, it is the tastings of jamon which Txanton is particularly proud of. At the moment, Txanton serves six variations of jamon: reserva, iberico, then guijuelo, extramadura, huelva, and pedroches, which are classified under iberico de bellota. Reserva, at the lower end of the spectrum, comes from the white pig, and has been bred in the farm for 12 months. The distinction between iberico and iberico de bellota mostly lies in their breeding; both come from Iberian black-footed pigs, and have been bred in the region for 24 months. If the pig is underweight by even a fraction, they are slaughtered to become iberico, while those who have made the weight class are then brought to the mountains to be bred free-range on acorns and other natural feed in the area, then slaughtered at 36 months, and are given the tag iberico de bellota. Txanton highlights the subtly different taste profiles of each jamon; guijuelo from Salamanca has well marbled fat, extramadura is salty and mild, jabugo from Huelva is intensely saltier, and pedroches from Cordoba has a long-lasting finish on the palate.
The space itself is beautifully appointed, a study in how the trends of today can be restrained, then presented tastefully so that it looks like something new entirely. Communal seating makes up most of the main room, La Tienda, where wooden benches and large wooden countertops sit between endless rows of wine and liquor. It’s as if you were seated inside someone’s intimate wine cellar, but with a jamon room with legs hanging on one side, and a refrigerated shelf with all sorts of cuts of the ham on the other. The second room, La Sala de Cata, is a more intimate, casual space, made specifically for tasting wine, jamon, and olive oil. What’s most impressive about the tasting room is a display of wine glasses designed for a much more high-end wine tasting experience, from Stoltze to Salto. The final area in Txanton, known as La Gran Anada, translates directly into the great vintage, which could not be more apt as it houses almost 1500 vintage wines, some of which are in minimal production. A reservation at this dining room can be accompanied by a special menu prepared by Txanton’s chef in a full-service kitchen.
Txanton is the antithesis to what is permeating Manila’s culture today. It is smart, elegant, and aims to educate in the kind of way that will make people pay attention. As the country’s only jamoneria, those behind it have tapped into an idea that would do incredibly well in the city; no one can ever say no to more jamon.
Book to Visit: Reservations highly recommended.
Meet here: Intimate dinners with set menus can be booked for meetings and small gatherings.