Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar (OTKB) is the newest concept by Chef Rob Pengson of Goose Station fame. OTKB bills itself as a freestyle anitpasti bar, the first in the Philippines. I’m actually been here before but this time I was invited, together with the KTG to taste some of their new tasting menu (more relaxed compared to Goose) as well as regular ala carte items. The tasting menu can only be availed thru advanced reservation because the ingredients takes a bit of time to prepare and not always available in their kitchen.
OTKB occupies the space formerly occupied by The Stock Market beside Friday’s in Bonifacio High Street. You won’t miss the brick facade as you walk thru High Street. The nearest parking is an open lot behind it and Two Parkade.
The restaurant extends the brick facade into the interiors but blends it with high ceilings and wood finishes. The feeling is relaxed comfort with the comfortable chairs and high ceiling plus pretty drop lighting.
OTKB has a bar that is not only beautiful visually but produces great looking libations like the Lychee Mojito, Manila Mule and Amaretto Sour.
While some people were focused on the bar, the open kitchen and rustic family style table caught my attention.
I’ll focus first on the items from the Tasting Menu (P1900). The first was an appetizer trio of Foie Gras Popsicle, Caponata Macaron and Eel and Apple Galette. The foie gras popsicle is coated in amaretto almonds which adds a nutty dimension and contrast to the soft foie gras, a pineapple and Masala glaze cuts the richness of the foie gras. The Eel and Apple Galette felt and tasted like a savory pastry filled with umami flavors. The best of the three was the Caponata macaron, a crusty bite releases an intense black olive flavor thats slightly tempered by some beetroot gel. The texture and flavor just lingers in the taste buds.
The next dish was the Coffee Cured Salmon with textures of carrots and ikura (salmon roe). This is a beautifully plated dish, look at all the bright and happy colors, it’s almost a shame to disturb it. The salmon was cured in some coffee and orange rind for a nice sweet and smoky flavor. There are different textures and implementation of the heirloom carrots, from pickled to roasted to caramelized dust. The ikura is there to give it some flavor of the sea and to add a little fun pop in the mouth.
The Pork Trotter with Chicken and Porcini Mousse and Garden Pickles should get the hearts of many porcine lovers a fluttering. Deboned, braised, stuffed and then braised again to make it soft and tender but packed with interesting flavors.
I’ll hold off the last dish from the tasting menu for the end in the form of dessert. Here’s the dishes we had from their regular menu.
Pumpkin and Bacon Bruschetta (P255), lardo, panchetta and bacon marmalade on top of pumpkin puree. A crisp starter that is perfect for their array of drinks or just to keep the hunger at bay. You can’t go wrong with flavorful meat with some smoky pumpkin puree providing some contrasting sweetness. This should be wiped out in the blink of an eye, so best to reach out your hand and grab one.
Chopped Salad (P295), a pretty generous serving of greens topped with salumi, candied walnuts and finished with a pepperoncini dressing.
Pizzas, cooked at 700 degrees in their oven for a character filled pie with charring all over. I tried the margherita before and enjoyed it, this time around we had the Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza (P435) and the Honey, Truffle and Egg Pizza (P420). Of the two, I actually liked the sweet and salty flavors of the apple and gorgonzola but I’m perfectly happy having the classic margherita every time.
No two pizzas at Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar comes out exactly the same, the way it is made is dependent on the chef to give a unique character. It is unevenly shaped and has noticeable charring because of the speed and high heat. The staff are more than happy to acquiesce if you prefer less charring, they just cook it slower.
Soprano’s Sunday Gravy (P430). From the name alone you might conjure up images of gangsters cramped up in a kitchen with some one’s aunt over the stove cooking a big vat of this (ala Godfather). Humongous Angus meatballs with a tomato meat sauce that is a mix of ox tail, tripe, bone marrow, liver pate and sausage. Hearty and filling that is perfect for sharing.
We had two roast chicken dishes, Sunday Roast (P470) and Roasted Chicken Diavolo (P490). With its red coating, I avoided the spicy chicken diavolo at all costs. The sunday roast was a bit bland, needs a bit more seasoning for my tastes. It was the mountain rice with its interesting crunch and textures that I enjoyed.
The 250g Hanging Tender Bistecca with Potato Puree (P945). Tender and cooked perfectly, look at that pinkish meat, no shoe leather here. Don’t sleep on the potato puree as it’s a nice compliment to the beef.
We finished with something they call Chocolate Terrain, a beautifully plated slab of chocolates in many forms. I may not really love chocolates but I almost finished off the whole plate. There was chocolate in the form of gateau, cake pop, brownie, mousse, rock, soil, meringue, shards and shavings. Chocolate overkill that would have you weep in joy.
Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar has a warm and inviting ambiance with a stunning bar and some comfort food offerings like the Sunday gravy pasta and artisan pizzas. For something a bit more structure but creative, you can try out their new tasting menu.
OTKB is a nice place to hang out as well as have some nice, familiar food given a playful twist by Chef Rob Pengson.