In the Philippines, our food on the table would often include what we call as Spanish dishes or at least, influenced by the Spaniards who colonized the country for so long. But when looking for authentic Spanish cuisine, the best option is to dine at a Spanish restaurant. That’s exactly what I did and experienced more at Oye! Tapas & Grill.
¡Oye! Tapas & Grill is located at the ground floor of the Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig near the fountain area. It’s a restaurant aiming to offer Spanish cuisine with a modern touch. When I learned about the “twist” I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical as I was hoping for some true-to-the-core traditional dishes.
But as soon as I get to taste the dishes that started to arrive for our degustation, my skepticism turned to approval. It’s no surprising because the restaurant has 2 Spanish chefs, and 1 Filipino chef working on the menu. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the people behind Oye! Tapas & Grill are the ones behind XO 46 Heritage Bistro.
The Food at Oye! Tapas & Grill
Our degustation started with Truffled Egg, Potato and Ham. This is the restaurant’s version of Torta de Patata and a surprising one at that. The usual dish is totally different from the one at Oye!. Then I was reminded that the restaurant is not offering your usual Spanish dishes. They take the traditional, and give it a twist. From that point, I suddenly understood.
To enjoy the dish you have to scoop from the very bottom and take as much of it to your mouth. It’s light and creamy with a hint of saltiness, and the texture of crispy potatoes. There’s a balance of flavor, including the truffle which did not overpower the dish.
Ensalada de Sandia, Quezo Azul y Jamon (Watermelon with Jamon and Blue Cheese) came along, which became one of my favorite dish of the night. It’s refreshing, and bursting with flavors. Eat the entire slice to experience that explosion of flavors that’ll hit you and makes you wanting for more. The dish reminded me of Spanish tapas which actually means small bite of food which you can eat with a glass of wine.
Steak Tartare con Helado de Mostaza (Steak Tartare with Mustard Ice Cream) followed suit. It’s lovely on the plate, and lovely to eat!
As we ease into the mains, we were served a small bowl of OYE Fried Rice with quail egg on top. The dish is also known as Chicharon Rice, because it’s cooked in chicharon oil. I have to say they were wise to serve small or I would have eaten the entire thing. Yes, it’s that good!
The rice is perfect with Pollo ala Brasa con Salsa de Pimienta (Chicken Barbecue with Sweet Peppercorn Sauce). This chicken skewers are cooked perfectly. It’s tender, juicy, and the chicken flavor was not overpowered by the black pepper sauce.
We also had Fideua de Mariscos. It’s Spanish spaghetti cooked in a rich seafood broth with seafood. It tastes like Paella, but this is not ¡Oye!’s modern version of one of my favorite Spanish dish. I mad a quick search and discovered that this is also a traditional dish in Spain. I really enjoyed this one because of the flavor profile.
Although not supposed to be in our tasting menu, Chicharon del Veedor which actually delightful. This golden brown treat is so crunchy yet not oily.
For dessert, we had Leche Con Galletas. This milk and cookie parfait is a delicious layers of homemade brownies, cream, and classic Marie cookies. I love that it’s not too sweet, but really creamy. And the brownies and cookies gave the dessert a playful texture in taste and feel.
We were told that Marie cookies, which is part of my childhood memories, originated in Spain. Apparently, the cookies were part of the memories of the kids in Spain too.
In between bites of delicious Spanish dishes I sipped on Calimotxo – it’s a mix of Red Wine, Cola and a hint of Lemon. They say it’s a drink you order when trying to pretend not drinking alcohol. But I say, it’s a cocktail that one should have if you’re not fond of alcohol.
The Oye! Triumvirate
As I mentioned, 3 chefs are in charge to bring in Spanish cooking with a modern twist. The secret to the successful menu are world-class culinary experts.
There’s Chef Joseba Sola as the restaurant’s head chef and acknowledged expert in modern Spanish cooking. Chef Joseba has mastered the art of infusing traditional culinary styles with younger, more modern culinary flavors.
He’s joined by Chef Juan Montel, a master of traditional Spanish cuisine and was classically trained in Switzerland and worked extensively in Madrid.
And then there’s Filipino chef Tanya Dizon, who brings to the ¡Oye! team authentic traditional and modern Filipino culinary ideas that can only come from someone who truly belongs to and understands the local market.
Aptly personified by the three chefs, this curious mix of the old and the new, of the traditional and the modern, of Spanish and Filipino, is what gives Oye! Tapas & Grill that unique character.
In English, Oye! roughly means “hey!” or “listen up!” And from my dining experience, everyone should pay attention to Oye! Tapas & Grill. The restaurant is offering fusion cooking, but instead they’re offering traditional Spanish recipes with a fresh take. This brings a new and exciting dining experience.
The restaurant has that lively Spanish vibe but rendered in a sophisticated way. The place is not big, and I like that because it’s less crowded and allows for a more intimate dining experience. It also means that you’ll be attended to properly even if the place is full. The restaurant is near offices which makes it an ideal spot for lunch, or when unwinding after work.
I’m glad to have discovered Oye! Tapas & Grill. It’s been sometime since I’ve been to a good Spanish restaurant in the Bonifacio Global City area. The last that I’ve been to in 2014 is already closed. Now there’s a new place to wine and dine.