Menu engineering is a creative process. A lot of things go into consideration before the final outcome. For the reinvented menu of Eastwood Café + Bar, Executive Chef Victor Barangan digs deep from his rich culinary experience, puts himself in the diner’s shoes, and cooks up dishes he himself would enjoy—casual, contemporary, homey and devoid of drama.
The head chef strongly believes in the taste buds of the Filipino chef. “Almost all the chefs around the world today are Filipinos. If you go to Spain, we can cook Spanish cuisine that caters to their palate. If you go the Philippines, what you learned in Spain, you could apply it on the Filipino palate, the technique would be there. For me, we are the best chefs in the world,” he said with confidence.
Chef Victor used to be a sous chef at the trendy café and bar five years ago. But then, he sought to have a grasp of the bigger picture of the culinary world both in the country and abroad. Now he is back, bringing to life his treasured culinary inspirations and philosophies.
New Menu Reveal
The new menu aims to streamline the café and bar’s offerings without doing away with the old favorites its regular guests have come to love.
Whet your appetite with the Adlai Bisque, a creamy soup that pays tribute to the Mindanao barley. The barley is one of the best rice substitute being a low glycemic food. The soup is an ode to chef’s Mindanaoan roots.
On the other hand, the Dapit Hapon (carrot hummus, black quinoa and roasted vegetable) salad has quite a story to tell. It started out as a food competition entry the professional cook made in order to gauge the skill level of his culinary team at the said cafe and bar. The dish earned them first place. The achievement was made sweeter by the fact that it was their first time to join such as contest.
The Cevichow ( tuna ceviche, salmon and red cabbage chicharron, and chillies) is a taste of familiar flavors but with added texture and an eye-catching presentation. This dish goes well with beer.
Who can go wrong with oysters sourced from Aklan? Fresh is best with these Baked Oysters topped with spinach and mozzarella.
The executive chef prides himself as being also a baker, therefore there is no room for bad bread at the Eastwood Café +Bar. Chef Victor goes the extra mile to make one’s carb intake count. A bite of his Artisan Bread (Sourdough bread with tomato marmalade, onion jam and anchovy butter) is all you need to convince you how serious he is.
A stickler for good bread, he preaches the importance of bread to patty ratio, as well as in the sugar content of the bread. He kept this mind when he made the signature Richmonde Burger for all the Richmonde properties in the country. “ You get to enjoy the Gruyere cheese, brioche and 100 percent Angus beef. What else could you want,” the chef beamed.
The Fried Chicken Bun won’t be left out of its share of the good bread. The Pretzel bun gave this sandwich a sophisticated touch.
Pasta lovers should check out the classic flavors of Pasta Catalan ( New Zealand mussels, shrimp, chorizo Pamplona and tomato ragout ) and Palermo ( chicken, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and shaved parmesan cheese ) as the way to a happy tummy.
For a meat-free option, go with Bangers and Mash—made from Quorn nuremberg sausage, onions, peas, and mashed sweet potato.
In support of local produce, the executive chef let the Apahap take the spotlight for the Baked Bass entree.
Poultry fans will be delighted with Pollo Puttanesca served with aromatic tarragon and puttanesca sauce.
Satisfy your craving for meat with Lamb Carbonade—a solid entree on a plate served with onion soubise and beer sauce.
For desserts, savor different levels of sweetness and textures with the bibingka, beignet ( a fried dough food) and Choco Chip Skillet.
Chef Victor hopes to give their diners a memorable experience at Eastwood Café+Bar with the quality of food they serve—the kind of food the well-travelled chef would whip up for his guests at his home—easy to embrace and never intimidating.