Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beso Cucina Vinoteka by Chef Carlo Miguel

I think it’s never too late to post a review about a good Spanish restaurant that I just found out last Feb 10th.  Thanks to my friend, Tracee of traceeats.wordpress.com and to Vhal of candidcuisine.net for inviting me to share my thoughts about Beso Cucina Vinoteka located at High Street.

As I was invited just the night before (or nights before, can’t really remember) and was busy with my current online business, Esther, I wasn’t able to research about the restaurant and what to expect.  And so I went to Beso after my deliveries that day.
It’s summer all right.  Good thing I wore my long purple skirt and a tank top that matches the weather and the restaurant’s theme.  And a good Spanish cuisine definitely sums up my day.

Chef Carlo Miguel

I was greeted with a sincere welcome by the restaurant’s hostess and was escorted inside towards the table where other bloggers were situated.  I was then introduced to Chef Carlo Miguel of Beso and we started talking about his influences and what made him put up the restaurant.  It was a great privilege to have met the owner of Beso, Draft, The Distillery, Imperial, and Opus.  He surely is grounded and his family is his backbone as they influenced him in the art of culinary.

While we were chatting about the restaurant and a brief background on how Chef Carlo got into this business and why Philippines, we were then served with Kalamansi Sangria to quench our thirsts from the scorching heat of the metro, and the dishes were then laid on our table and started off with the appetizer, of course.  On the latter part of our gastronomic experience, we were given another drink called Red Wine Sangria.  Boy, oh, boy, it's really, really good.


Red Wine Sangria

Cocktail drink at 1PM?  Oooh yeah!  Something to beat the summer heat!  Their Sangria is soothing and I loved the way it was subtly sweet, sour and has a tiny hint of a kick from alcohol.  It really goes well with the dishes, honestly speaking.  It cleanses the palate for the next dish.

Crispy Mussels with Jamon, Garlic and Bacon Foam - Php 290

Never had breaded mussels before, and this was a good start.  Surf and turf for appetizer is really my thing.  The distinct taste of the mussel intertwined with the taste of jamon, a kick of garlic and a hint of bacon really played well in my mouth that kept me wanting for more.  But I had to control myself as there are more dishes to try out and the fact that I’m with co-bloggers, so, yeah, share what you have! 

Cured Meat Platter - Php 410

These thin slices of cured meats lack something, and I think it is cheese.  Maybe I’m used to eating meat and cheese (sometimes with crackers) so that’s why I was looking for something else.  Personally, I can’t just eat meat alone.  But if you are a meat lover and sipping red wine will do the trick, then try this Cured Meat Platter.  Too bad, I’m not into wines—and I don’t whine.  :p

Crispy Pork Belly Chicharones with Chili Lime Aioli - Php 395

I find these crispy pork belly chicharones too hard and not crunchy nor crispy at all.  Overcooked?  Maybe.  Not a fan though.

Mushroom Croquetas with Truffled Aioli - Php 270

And down to my favourite, let me rephrase it, down to OUR favourite appetizer of all, Beso’s Mushroom Croquetas.  Potatoes and mushroom are two of my favourites, and I loved the fact that they recently included this item on their menu.  Words are not enough.  Four thumbs up (toes included)!

Salad of Crisp Oyster Mushroom, Feta, Marinated Onions and Tomato – Php 235

Why haven’t I thought of this -- adding crisped oyster mushrooms in a salad?  No need for strong vinaigrette for the salad as the mushroom will do its purpose.  Definitely a must-try.

Peri Peri Chicken Slider

If you’re not a fan of Spanish food and just wanted to drink beer and have some good ol’ casual meal, then these sliders are definitely a good match with your drinks.  The bread is soft and the chicken are perfectly cooked—moist, crunchy, and lightly salted.

Bacon Blue Cheese and Onion Jam Flat Bread – Php 285

Just so you know, everything is made from scratch at Beso’s.  I totally agree with what Chef Carlo told us that the key to pizzas and flat breads is its bread.  I’m a fan of this dish too as I love its subtlety.  I don’t like too much flavours in a dish so this is a winner.

Beso Paella (2-3 Persons) - Php 635

I can definitely say that their Beso Paella roots back to Chef Carlo’s family recipe.  I never had this kind of paella before.  Its tomato sauce made a mark on my palate that I can still recall its taste.  It has this overpowering taste of tomato, with herbs, beef stock, and red wine that I'm craving for to this day.  And the rice..ugh..something to die for.  I prefer this paella compared to the next dish...

Squid Ink Paella (for 2-3 Persons) - Php 635

Their squid ink paella tastes like our ordinary adobong pusit.  But I'm not saying it's not good.  I just prefer the Beso Paella.  Enough said.

Gambas and Clams
Their gambas and clams are winners too!  What I love about their dishes is that they serve a good amount of ingredients.

Crispy Skin Pork Belly with Mojo Verde and Rice Pilaf - Php 435
 I find this dish above too bland for my taste.  Okay, next.

Lamb Shanks Braised in Tomato, Peppers, Chorizo and Chickpeas with Rice Pilaf - Php 695

Their lamb shanks killed it.  It is perfectly cooked and I really love the house's tomato sauce.  It's really, really good!  I'm a rice pilaf aficionado and I'm very particular with my rice.  This is something you should try.


We were also privileged to taste Beso's Valentines Specials for the entire month of February.

Braised Beef Brisket

It's one of those briskets that really melts in your mouth.  It is best eaten with its pumpkin puree.  Definitely a must-try.

Grilled Salmon Fillet

 I find this salmon fillet dish overcooked as it was kind of dry and found nothing special on the dish.  It was just a-okay.  Nothing to rave about.

Vanilla Semi Frio

And for the dessert, their vanilla semi frio caught my eye.  It's perfect for my sensitive taste as I don't like too much sweetness on my dessert.  The different textures of the chocolate soil and almonds compliments the softness of the semi frio.  Thumbs up for this dessert.

Aside from their Valentine's Specials, we were also given other desserts from their menu, such as:

Crema Catalana

Their crema catalana, or also known as creme brulee, is just right.  But it lacks creaminess to its custard.

Dulce de leche Natillas
I find the cake too dry in this dessert.  The overall sweetness is just right.

I wasn't able to take a good photo of their chocolate flan.  It was just okay.  And I think their dessert line is something that they should need to work on as it lacks the creaminess that I'm looking for.

 But to sum up the entire gastronomic experience at Beso, I will give 8 forks out of 10.  It's a good place to indulge, have an interesting conversation with a date, and at the same time dine and unwind.

It's good to be back in the blogosphere after a long hiatus.  Fingers crossed for more food adventures in and out of the metro.


  1. Thanks Apple for coming to this event! :) Thanks also to Tracee

  2. Thanks, Vhal and Tracee, for inviting me to this event! Much appreciated!! :D

  3. awesome foood photos!! Ohmygod! <3

    1. Thanks, Shugah Pauline! :) I'm quite envious of your adventures. Great stuff! :D