Before the surge of modern Spanish concepts, Alba Cocina Español was the place to be for the cuisine. The restaurant opened on Isaac Peral (now U.N. Avenue) in 1952, and became such a hit, founder Don Anastacio B. de Alba opened several more restaurants and clubs. His locations were playgrounds for Metro Manila’s elite, as well as opulent tourists. After some ups and downs, the restaurant chain has now re-surfaced as Alba Restaurante Español. They continue to proudly serve traditional Spanish cooking, staying true to the vision of its predecessor.
Cow, got your tongue.
As a sort of ode to the generations before us who are still loyal patrons of Alba (and those who love lengua), we hacked their signature Lengua Sevillana—stewed ox tongue in sherry sauce. We think our version cuts it pretty close. Although we couldn’t quite get the color, the taste and consistency are spot-on. Try to make it for your next family lunch. We’re sure your lolos and lolas are gonna love it.
Note: Alba has shared the recipe of their Lengua Sevillana in their own cookbook. But we’ve adapted it to reflect what we tasted at the restaurant.
Serves: 3-4 people
Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 3 hrs
1 whole ox tongue, about 800g
1 cup white onion, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup celery, chopped
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup ham, diced
2 tbsp. white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup button mushroom, sliced
1 jar green olives, drained and sliced
2 tbsp. flour
½ cup red wine
3 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place ox tongue, white onion, carrot, and celery in a pot and cover with water.
Add the peppercorns, soy sauce and vinegar.
Set pot over high heat until boiling, then turn down heat to a simmer, covering the pot.
Let cook until ox tongue is tender, about 2 hours.
Remove tongue from liquid then set aside to cool slightly then peel off the skin and slice into half inch pieces.
For the sauce, add oil in a shallow skillet over medium heat.
Cook ham and onions until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add butter, mushrooms, and olives to the pot, and stir.
Remove ½ of the mixture and set aside for garnish.
Add the flour to the remaining ingredients in the pot and stir continuously until flour begins to color.
Whisk in wine and stock, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook sauce until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add back the sliced tongue and cover pot.
Let simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and serve.