Molecular Gastronomy Bar VASK Has A New Tasting Menu

January 2, 2019

VASK’s culinary team is lead by Executive Chef Jose Luis Gonzales, “Chele” for short. His stellar resume includes stints at several of the world’s best restaurants such as elBulli, Mugaritz, and Noma. Whether he’s delicately trimming herbs to use as garnish, carefully smoking foie gras, or handling each plate personally (with such care you would think it was made of glass), you see a person who is incredibly in love with his work. His work, in return, loves him back, as evidenced by his meticulously and intricately prepared dishes. The best part? We all benefit because we’re the ones who get to eat his creations.

VASK uses molecular gastronomy to make chocolate bubbles, beet snow, and gelatinized cheese.

VASK is a tapas bar that is ballsy enough to further the flourishing Metro Manila food scene through the use of molecular gastronomy in their food. Molecular gastronomy is a sub-discipline of food science that applies the principles of modern technology to various edible ingredients. Imagine chocolate bubbles, beet snow, and gelatinized cheeses. Basically, this is what food would look like if Gordon Ramsay decided to hang out with Dexter to cook in his laboratory.

The concept of a 14-course meal might seem overwhelming at first, but you have nothing to worry about. You’ll  quickly spot familiar homegrown ingredients (such as tocino, kalamansi, and mangosteen) to make you feel at ease about what you’re getting yourself into. Though I did have to Google what membrillo (quince marmalade) and toothfish (sea bass) were, the rest of the menu was very straightforward.

Magellan’s Dimsum: Parmesan Xiao Long Bao, Gorgonzola Moshi, Apple Wanton

We started off with Magellan’s Dimsum, which comprised of two different cheeses and a palette cleanser. The Parmesan Xiao Long Bao was gelatinous and mimicked the texture of Jell-O, while the Gorgonzola Moshi reminded me of a slightly-melted savory marshmallow. The crisp Apple Wanton served as a fitting neutralizer after the cheeses.

Tuna Pod: Kalamata Olives + Basil + Tuna + Lemon Grass Ice Cream + Moroccan Sauce

Boquerones: Marinated Anchovies + Beetroot Frozen Powder + Kalamansi Marmalade + Bread Crumbs

Beer Urchin: Sea Urchin + Beer Clams + Foie Gras + Orange

The Beer Urchin was a bold statement as it was served in a unique plaster bowl that resembled a sea urchin. As Chele explained the elements present in the dish, he described how he wanted to depict the yin-yang relationship between the earth and the sea; ergo, a Foie Gras crumble and Beer Clam Foam. Dig deeper and you’ll find some uni with flavors that’ll remind you of the ocean, combined with the bitter notes of the beer and the rich taste of the foie gras. The citrusy caramelized oranges afterwards are there to even out the experience.

Cochinillo: 16 hours Sous Vide Baby Pork + Pumpkin Gnocchies + Vanilla Sauce (Photo by Pamela Cortez)

School of Peas and Toothfish: Grilled Seabass + Green Peas Basil Jus + Iberian Tocino + Sherification Peas

Palm Crisp: Coconut Sorbet

Foie in a Rock: Banana Textures + Chips + Coffee Sauce + Grilled Foie Gras + Sous Vide + Smoked

The Foie in a Rock comes in spherical bowl that’s made exclusively for VASK (in fact, all plates in VASK are exclusively made and designed by Carlo Calma, partner of VASK who’s also an architect and interior designer). Foie Gras is cooked sous vide-style and smoked. A thick coffee sauce, bananas, and banana chips are added to transform the dish into a playground of texture and flavor.

Radish Garden: Wagyu + Apple Wasabi Sauce + Radish + Steamed, Sliced

Roger Rabbit: Baby Carrots Sous Vide + Nutmeg + Greek Cardamom + Yogurt + Truffle Crumbs + Tomato Basil Sorbet

Cheeze: Fondue + Ice Cream + Snow + Cheese + Membrillo Cream + Apples + Nuts

Shooters: Warm Chocolate Balls + Strawberry Oregano Coulis + Ginger Ice Cream + Mangosteen

These Shooters are chocolate lava-filled chocolate bubbles. On your first bite you’ll get the partially solidified chocolate, soft enough to sink your teeth into, then the Strawberry-Oregano coulis starts dancing with your senses, providing a subtle floral and herby flavor. The Mangosteen adds depth to the dessert, while the ginger ice cream serves as a nice finale to wrap up the dish.

Summer Breeze: Creamy Tapioca + Café + Cardamom + Violet + Kefir Lime + Green Tea Ice Cream

Chocolates, Chocolates, Chocolates

VASK knows how to flirt with the idea of modern cuisine and delivers with expectations met.

Chele’s dishes manage to create a strong impression on diners, exposing them to new sensory experiences in terms of taste, touch, and scent. As all tasting menus and degustations go, Chele is bound to change the set eventually. If you want to try the current incarnation, you better make that VASK reservation soon.

Pepper.ph was invited to try this 14-course meal by VASK, but the entire tasting menu is normally priced at PHP 4,900 per head. This price includes the 12% VAT, but not the 10% service charge. For reservations, you may call +632 217 6563.

VASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine
5th Floor, Clipp Center
11th Avenue Corner, 39th Street,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Store Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11:30am -2:30 pm, 6:00 pm-1:00 am
(02) 217 6563 | vaskmanila@gmail.com
For more information, check out VASK’s Facebook Page or follow VASK on Twitter

Mikka Wee Mikka Wee

Mikka Wee is former editor of Pepper.ph and was part of the team until she got whisked away to Singapore in 2016 where she worked in advertising and eventually found herself back in the food industry. She currently does marketing work for two popular Singaporean dessert brands and is a weekly columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s lifestyle brand, Preen.ph. She has always been crazy about travel, food, and her dog Rocket.

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3 comments in this post SHOW

3 responses to “Molecular Gastronomy Bar VASK Has A New Tasting Menu”

  1. Pamela Cortez says:

    I cannot stop squeeing after this meal. To have something like this in Manila just means that our culinary scene is going to get better and better. So proud of the chef too, amazing meal and the caliber pwede pang hk or singapore na. Just as good as this place in london which just earned a Michelin star last year. Excited!

  2. Raxenne Dosher Maniquiz says:

    WOW o.o

  3. Babe for Food says:

    I can’t even grasp the idea of having a Michelin-trained chef on Philippine grounds, serving up masterpieces for the developing palates of Filipinos. This will be a great contribution to culinary recognition for our country! Who knows, it might be the first Michelin-starred resto here.

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