For Filipinos, meal time is always the perfect time to get together. Like many parts of our culture, this has been influenced by the old Spanish custom of “sobremesa”, pertaining to after-meal talks. After lunch or dinner, sobremesa gives you time to have a conversation with the people who you had just shared a meal with. It was an opportunity to socialize, to talk important matters, or just to idle around in talk.
This concept serves as the focal point of “Sobremesa”, a new restaurant located in Ortigas District’s Sapphire Block. Aside from mouthwatering gourmet foods crafted by Head Chef Benjo Tuason, Sobremesa’s main draw is its emphasis on the camaraderie among its diners.
Their menu is wide and varied, and the selection has been well thought-out to cater to different tastes. While emphasizing a fusion of Filipino and South American recipes, there are also other well-loved items. For example, a page of the menu is headlined by a hefty plate of Australian Rib Eye Steak. It’s not the run-off-the-mill variety, too. You can choose among coffee-crusted, herbed, or salt-and-pepper variants.
One food I particularly loved was their Peruvian Roasted Chicken. The plate came with three different kinds of dips, which all served to emphasize the tangy and smoky goodness of the meat. The chicken itself was cooked in cilantro and jalapeno, with a side of chimichurri and garlic yogurt.
They have salads, too. The Shrimp and Mango Salad is an example of how generous they are with the helpings. While other restaurants would serve you a plateful of greens with only a dash of the primary ingredients, Sobremesa serves just what you should be expecting.
And of course, there’s dessert — the Queso Fundido is to die for! It’s like nachos with cheese, except that the nachos are a healthier fried fitas. Dip these delightful little biscuits in cheese, and you’ve got the perfect munch for an after-meal conversation. It’s the sort of food that’s the perfect treat for any party or family gathering. I have a particular weakness when it comes to cheese, and this one just takes the cake.
Speaking of cheese and cake, Sobremesa has a little fun “game” for all its diners. When you enter its cozy wood-tone environs, you would easily notice the little white cages that stand on each table. This is not just a simple decoration. It’s more of Sobremesa being true to its name, encouraging diners to converse throughout the meal. If everyone on the table places their phones inside the cage for the duration of the meal, they would end up “winning” a delicious surprise — a free round of dessert!
We had two types of cheesecake this way. There was the blueberry cheesecake, which was simply delectable. There was also the mango almond cheesecake which rivaled the best cheesecakes I’ve tasted so far. Both were so good that I asked Sobremesa if they also sell the whole cakes. They do! This is the perfect gift, if you want something out of the ordinary that the recipient will surely enjoy. But if it were me, I would just keep the cake and eat it at home. They also have other cheesecakes such as Banana Caramel. For those with the sweet tooth, they also have a taken on the beloved leche flan called “Lecheroon”.
Of course, you won’t go to Sobremesa just for the desserts. Starting March 1, the restaurant is having an Unlimited Steak promotion for only Php 750. This goes out to all the carnivores out there: grab it now, as it’s only while supplies last. If you think that unli-rice was a heaven-sent, wait till you sink your teeth into Sobremesa’s Australian Rib Eye.
As you can see, there really isn’t any expense spared at Sobremesa. Perhaps this is what you get in a restaurant that is owned by celebrities (siblings Daniel and Vanessa Matsunaga). Their reputations are on the line here, and the restaurant is doing right by them. Despite that, all meals are still reasonably priced. The ambience is also well thought-out, reflecting the warm and friendly feel of home. From the comfortable seats to the efficient service, there isn’t anything else to do but sit, eat, and talk. But don’t get the idea that talking is just a substitute for a hearty meal as the generous servings will leave you full.
So leave your phones in the cage and savor the creative flavors of this fusion restaurant. It’s the perfect time to rediscover the art of “sobremesa” in the eponymously named place — it’s surely something that you will bring home with you.