Tri­umphant Trio

The La Lola Group’s Span­ish-themed restau­rants sate the taste buds’ crav­ings as eas­ily as their name rolls off the tongue

Red Magazine - - DEVOURED - WORDS TISHA RAMIREZ PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JOSEPH PAS­CUAL ART JANINA DAVID

In 2003, Sergi Ros­toll, Dani Aliaga, and Uri Singla de­cided to bring true Span­ish cui­sine to the Philip­pines. Bring­ing with them their ex­prience in tourism and ho­tel man­age­ment, they first opened Bar­cino, where they of­fered good wine and food at an af­ford­able price. Af­ter three years, they found that the Philip­pines was ready for some­thing dif­fer­ent. The re­sult: Las Flores, a cock­tail and ta­pas bar. Since form­ing the La Lola Group in 2006, the three have launched two other restau­rants that give a Span­ish flair to lo­cal din­ing.

Las Flores

This con­tem­po­rary Span­ish res­tau­rant fo­cuses on four key el­e­ments: ser­vice, in­te­ri­ors, music, and of course, food. With its wood ac­cents and pat­terned table­tops, Las Flores’ in­te­ri­ors ex­ude rus­tic charm. But while the wel­com­ing staff and the cozy set­ting can lure a diner to come in and have a seat, it is the food—a wide range of ta­pas, sal­ads, and cheese plat­ters—that makes them want to stay and come back.

Served on a wooden tray, their Salmon & Salmon is mar­i­nated salmon topped with salmon caviar and ri­cotta cheese, served on a bed of baguette and driz­zled with truf­fle oil vinai­grette; it is the per­fect start to a Las Flores meal. The dish is in­tended to be shared, but don’t be afraid to scarf down ev­ery last piece. Pair the food with one of the res­tau­rant’s cock­tails such as the Moscow Mule, a mix­ture of homemade gin­ger vodka, cala­mansi, cherry blos­som flower, and gin­ger beer served in a cop­per mug and gar­nished with slices of gin­ger.

Ram­bla

Named af­ter a street in cen­tral Barcelona, Ram­bla is a cock­tail bar with an open kitchen con­cept lo­cated at Rock­well in Makati City. Its main fea­ture, the afore­men­tioned open kitchen, is how pa­trons get to see their food be­ing pre­pared as well as in­ter­act with the chef. Al­though this res­tau­rant has some ob­vi­ous Span­ish touches, its cui­sine has a de­cid­edly broader Mediter­ranean scope, tak­ing in­flu­ences from French, Ital­ian, and Greek dishes. Span­ish fla­vors aren’t left out, how­ever, with their se­lec­tion of paella, from the Paella Ne­gra with Squid and Salmon to Fideua, a pasta-based dish with Bu­ti­farra sausage and cut­tle­fish.

Try the Oc­to­pus Carpac­cio with Hum­mus and Sweet Pa­prika, and wash it down with a Baquira Daiquiri, a re­fresh­ing blend of gin, ap­erol, water­melon, cilantro, and le­mon. As any meal won’t be complete with­out some­thing sweet, cap off your Ram­bla din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with their Dessert Plat­ter, fea­tur­ing a se­lec­tion of chur­ros, choco­late ganache, tiramisu, chesse­cake, and pas­sion­fruit sor­bet.

To­matito

The new­est ad­di­tion to the La Lola Group, To­matito com­bines the aes­thetic of an ’80s Span­ish bar with a more con­tem­po­rary ap­peal, its vi­brant pat­terned wall­pa­per match­ing the aroma of de­li­cious food waft­ing from the semi-open kitchen.

Lo­cated in the bustling city of Taguig, it is a place for af­ter-work drinks and even lunch break meals. The menu lists a va­ri­ety of Span­ish ta­pas— and cock­tails to match—such as Salmon TNT, Mon­ta­dito de Gam­bas, and Cro­que­tas de Tr­ufa y Pollo, which is their ver­sion of grandma’s truf­fle and chicken cro­quettes. From their cock­tails, try the Trinidad Mule, a mix of aged rum, homemade gin­ger beer, lime leaf, fresh pineap­ple juice, and cherry syrup. •

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