Food

What to order when Tomatito Manila opens tomorrow, Dec. 19

Shanghai's beloved tapas bar is making its much-anticipated Philippine entrance.
IMAGE Majoy Siason
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We expect this Christmas to be filled with wine and tapas. Tomatito is scheduled to open to the public tomorrow, December 19. The long-awaited launch of the "sexy tapas bar" from Shanghai introduces a new kind of bar experience for Filipinos who enjoy Spanish bites. 

"It's a restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously," says co-owner Sergi Rostoll. "It's fun, a bit naughty. It's our most youthful concept." Sergi, together with Uri Singla and Dani Aliaga, also owns Las Flores, Rambla, and churros powerhouse Churreria La Lola. Their latest eatery, Tomatito, offers a different aspect of Spanish cuisine—colorful, casual dining with affordable prices and a more modern menu.

Sergi lived in Shanghai for some time, enjoying restaurants by award-winning Spanish chef Willy Trullàs Moreno, who received acclaim from his restaurants El Willy, Elefante, El Ocho, Fofo, and La Paloma (scattered around Hong Kong and Shanghai). El Willy has been recognized by the Diners Club International as a must-try in Asia. Tomatito, on the other hand, is one of his newer projects, which is also slated to open in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.

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The fun-loving Willy Trullás Moren

"Apart from Chef Willy being my wife's favorite chef, Tomatito is unique because it has all the usual Spanish elements but presented in a unique way," says Sergi. Chef Willy is actually in the Philippines until January to oversee the first few weeks of operations. 

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Designed by Chef Willy's brother, Max Trullàs (MTM Design), there's a vintage appeal to the restaurant's look, but the dishes are definitely contemporary. According to Sergi, they didn't have to adapt much of Tomatito's flavors to fit the local palate. 

"We try to make it the most authentic that we can, you know, like grandma's recipe. Filipinos love Spanish food and the flavors are very familiar to them," he explains, adding that they did add some details that can be found in other locations. Their chef is Mexican, so some Mexican influences make it to the final menu. 

In true tapas fashion, the dishes are served as bites, but each is a waiting bomb of flavor. Take it from the Salmon TNT, which, according to the menu, is "an explosive smoked salmon with honey and truffle...BOOM!"



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Salmon TNT: explosive smoked salmon with honey and truffle...BOOM!

This well-loved Spanish dish uses local tuna. It's called atún con gazpacho y olivas or semi-cooked tuna loin with gazpacho and olives.

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Montaditos de gambas: their amous sexy prawn snacks


Chef Willy's tip when enjoying the tiradito de pescado blanco? "Use a spoon from bottom up to get the juice. We like everything juicy here." It's a tanigue tiradito in Peruvian citric marination.

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A taste of Mexico, these croquettes (Croquetas Don Julio) are filled with spicy chorizo and cheese.

Filete a la parilla or premium tenderloin steak, with spring onions and truffle

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The pimientos rellenos de costilla, setas y Manchego is essentially stuffed piquillo peppers, with fork-tender beef shortribs, mushrooms, and Manchego cheese.


Slow-cooked for 12 hours is the secreto Ibérico con romesco y espárragos composed of pork, tomato, almond and pepper, and Spanish sauce.


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Filete con airbag, otherwise known as cheese and tenderloin steak air baguettes

Arroz meloso de mariscos al estilo de alicante or mixed seafood juicy rice famous in Alicante, Spain

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Cooked on the fly is this Paella Valenciana, a traditional dry variety with chicken, rosemary, and snow beans. According to Chef Willy, "It's more traditional...honest, rustic, and pure—a dish straight from the heart!"


Las locuras de Carlos, sexy mixed dessert plate by the resident chef.

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Panacota de vainilla con fruta de sangria (yes, that's a sangria-flavored cream)

Tomatito Manila is at G/F BGC Corporate Center, 11th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph'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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