Cazuela: A Spanish Restaurant In The Heart Of Ortigas Center

The Cazuela Restaurant is a food haven of Spanish cuisine in bustling Ortigas Center Business District. One of Sapphire Block’s (along Sapphire Road) best dining options, the Cazuela serves beyond the traditional Spanish fare that showcases local ingredients of various countries involved in the Spanish galleon trade to produce Spanish flavors. And it’s easy to see why it has become a local cause célèbre among the sociable office workers at Ortigas center.

Cazuela, we learn, is a clay pot used in cooking and serves as a vessel for combining ingredients to make sumptuous dishes. References to the mother country are plentiful: Dali-like paintings adorning its walls, a map of the old world, vintage-like wrought iron chandeliers and wine shelves that adorn the walls. Displays of Machuca tiles, Cazuela vessels and cup lanterns herald what is a reliably impressive modern bohemian feel.

The menu is solidly grandioso as the food is serve in imaginative variances, revealing a good deal of culinary expertise and sophistication, not to mention enthusiasm in the kitchen. Their main Chefs, Mon Urbano, Day Salonga, Andrew Espiritu and Cristina So are stars of their stage as they work out on the orders, grill, fry and plate up their creations in their smallish kitchen.

The pan-seared mackerel served on a bed of mashed potatoes was a surprisingly nice take on a traditional fish; the Costillas Asadas is  grilled pork spare-ribs, deliciously browned on the outside and tender on the inside. The Callos or ox-tripe was stewed to perfection bashed in flavorful tomato sauce while the Ox Tail Estofado was stewed in red wine, so tender you could feel it melt in your mouth!

Pan seared Mackerel (Served over mashed potatoes) – P 328.00

Costillas Asadas (Grilled Spareribs served with saffon rice) – P 428.00

Callos (Ox Tripe served with rice) – P 389.00

Ox Tail Estofado (Stewed and served with rice) – P 387.00

Their signature main course dish, the Veal Caldereta is a 400g veal shank, stewed and simmered in rich tomato sauce served on a bed of potatoes had a richness and subtlety worthy of much fancier venues. Muy delicioso!

Veal Caldereta (Veal Shank) – P 708.00

Tapas make excellent companions to lovers of wine and other spirits. Their selection are prepared with flair and creativity, and peppered with local niche ingredients (clams, home-made chorizo, truffled mushrooms, fresh baby squids and shrimps) with Pinoy influences. I took on the Sangria which were served with the classic tapas and nearly finished a pitcher-full of it!

My Sangria! – P780 (pitcher)

Gambas al ajillo – P 328.00

Baby Squid al ajillo – P 235.00

The Gambas and Baby Squid al ajillo came in small cazuelas, roasted in garlic-infused olive oil while the Tuna Ceviche came in a large platter covered under heaps of sliced greens and cucumber in vinaigrette dressing. The Paella Negra, a paella rice in squid ink and clams didn’t have the punch to stand up to the preceding dishes however, as the color must have been a turn-off to those not in the know but would be appealing to the more adventurous! And it tasted good!

Tuna Ceviche – P 229.00

Paella Negra – P 365.00

For dessert, the menu included the mouth-watering gypsy cake (Brazo De Fernando), the ultra-rich, ultra-“umay” Kesong Puti Cheese cake and the all-time favorite, Churros Con Chocolate.

Gypsy Cake – P 160.00

Kesong Puti Cheese Cake – P 220.00

Churros Con Chocolate – P 160.00

There are a few options for vegetarians here which is often the case for meat-centric Spanish restaurants but their Enselada Cazuela, topped with assorted greens, watermelons, candied wallnut tossed in chipotle cranberry dressing is a very good entree.

Similarly looking was the Orange and Crispy Duck Salad with Citrus Vinagrette. I tried this out mainly because it came with the promise of shredded duck. A promise it remained – whether they forgot to add it or sliced it too thinly it’s hard to say, but any iota of its taste was completely lost on me. Anyway, i’ll just try to concentrate on eating the greens, next time!

Enseleda Cazuela – P 238.00

Orange and Crispy Duck w/ Citrus Vinaigrette – P 256.00

Cozy, relaxed, and not taking itself too seriously, Cazuela exudes the true spirit of Spanish dining. Food prices, like the overall quality, are a little above your average restaurant but you’ll be having such a good time, it won’t seem to matter.

Great selection of Spanish and Italian wines

The restaurant is located at G/F The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It is open from 11:00 am to 12:00 midnight from Mondays to Wednesdays and at 11:00 am to 2:00 am from Thursdays to Saturdays.

For inquiries and reservations, you may call (02) 590 5460 or (0995) 5510424.

Soon To Open: 100 Miles Cafe At The BGC

The Bonifacio Global City continues to be a popular venue for road races every Sunday and finding a place to eat could sometimes be a chore, as there are lots of restos to choose from. The fast food joints are still the ones to go for a fast, no frills post-race fare although food options here are quite limited to the usual burgers, pancakes and value meals.

Coming up in a few days is a new restaurant called 100 Miles Cafe which will be located at the 2/f of Fort Pointe Building, just across Fitness First. A brainchild of Ultra runner Jael Wenceslao whose family (the Wesceslaos and Antipordas) are restaurateurs, this cafe will be an unassuming hang-out not only for runners but also for habitues who love good food.

A few weeks ago, i together with ultra runners Tin Ferrera and Alfred Delos Reyes  were invited by Jael to have a sampling of the dishes they will be serving-in at 100 Miles Cafe.

So here we are, sitting at another restaurant that Jael’s family own, the ORIANG, a newly opened eatery just outside the Market! Market! Mall where we are to sample a delectable array of dishes like their Seafood Salad, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccini, BBQ Spare Ribs, Fish Fillets and other great eats.

Their menu is extremely wide ranging, catering for everyone from the fuzzy veggie, various pastas for runners right up to the ravenous carnivore and it lives up to its promise.

Now, a word about the food. As a starter, we had the Bouillabaisse Soup which is suitably rich and creamy. Then i go with the Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine which is spicy flavored with only a hint of sauce and is served with bread sticks.  Alfred relishes the Fajita Platter with strands of greens like lettuce and tomatoes while Tin has all the green salad to her liking.

An artist’s perspective of 100 Miles Cafe

I won’t go into the details anymore but i would recommend all the pastas in their menu and what runner doesn’t love pastas, anyway?

The other menu items are detailed below and i will be announcing in this blog when their doors will be open to the public. Bon Appetit!

Bouillabaisse Soup

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

BBQ Spare Ribs

Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccini

Seafood Salad

Your choice of dressings for the salad

Oglio Oglio Marina

Fajita Platter

Fish Fillet with Marsala Sauce

High Protein Noodle Soup

L-R: Jael Wenceslao, Tin Ferrera, Alfred Delos Reyes and moi.