Tapenade Isn't Just for Pizza Lovers Anymore

Discovery Primea's new menu is serious fun.
IMAGE Discovery Primea

Pizza is often delivery food. It's just one of those things, well-loved because the value of the comfort it offers finds roots in the fact that it comes to you. There is no effort: not in getting it, not in eating it. And that's how we know that the pizzas at Tapenade are extra special. As one of the signature restaurants of Discovery Primea, it does not have a delivery hotline. It's not available in third-party delivery services. Despite that inconvenient detail, a sliceor eightis worth enduring Makati traffic.

It was never just a pizza restaurant. Salads were always a strong point and, as the name suggests, anything that had to do with olives. The goal now, according to general manager David Pardo de Ayala is to try to steer customers to flip through the rest of the menu. It's a strategy that begins with the rigatoni al sugo

Rigatoni al Sugo, the pizza that became pasta

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Mozzarella & Friends puts together the Italian cheese with all its best complements. Another item on the menu is Prosciutto & Company.

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Photo by Discovery Primea.

The new dish highlights al dente tubes of pasta coated with a zippy tomato sauce, morsels of Italian guanciale and smoked bacon, and chunks of fennel sausage. It is no doubt a crowdpleaser, not only because it can sway fans of meaty sauces like bolognese, ragu, or even Filipino-style spaghetti, but because it mimics the taste profile of the restaurant's best-selling pizzaa delicious pull that can sway pizza lovers to a different albeit the same carb-loaded treat.

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Tapenade has decided to take a friendlier approach to woo customers. Dishes are light-hearted, familiar, and, as Pardo de Ayala puts it, ""whimsical." One addition, called "mozzarella and friends" takes creamy marbles of that delicate Italian cheese and pairs them with garlicky basil pesto, an especially robust black olive tapenade, smoky romesco, and a fruit mostarda. It's a choose-your-own-mozzarella adventure. Its chips, called "patatas crunchy," are potatoes baked, smashed, then deep-fried before being dunked in a brighter-than-sunshine cilantro mojo.

As Pardo de Ayala put it, tempura actually began in Portugal and was brought to Japan by the Portuguese. Like everything else, the Japanese perfected it. The Shrimps en Gabardina is a Spanish version of that.

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Is there ever a more perfect pairing than salmon and dill?

Photo by Discovery Primea.

This pork is a little American, a little Milanese. The truffle cream will have you salivating before you even get handed a slice.

Photo by Discovery Primea.

A typical pork milanese is a pounded piece of pork that's been breaded and deep-fried, but Tapenade does it to the extreme, stretching that U.S. pork fillet so wide and thin, it looks like a pizza set to extra crunchy. Waiters prepare it tableside, lathering the surface with a creamy soft-boiled egg then painting it over with a heady truffle cream.

Mushroom Risotto

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Wagyu & Mushroom Paella

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Roast Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Photo by Discovery Primea.

Easy enjoyment is the theme: crunchy paella with two-inch rectangles of rare Wagyu and dollops od black garlic aioli, creamy salmon linguini with a heavy dose of its favorite partner, dill; Spanish-style tempura that pays tribute to tempura's real origins: Portugal. Each dish flaunts a new tweak to keep things exciting, but in general, they all fall under a category of comfort food that you'll always want to order.


With the new paralyzing choices, we'll probably end up with pizza again, but it's always nice to have options.

Tapenade is at G/F Discovery Primea, 6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati.

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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