VASK Modern Tapas and Gastronomic Cuisine is one the most happening restaurants in Metro Manila. Located in a quiet corner of BGC, it hosts 4 different dining concepts under one roof. The only time I’ve been to VASK was to attend a Nespresso event where they specially created some dishes incorporating the product. I was quite excited to get an invite to sample everything in VASK in one evening.
Chef Jose Luis “Chele” Gonzalez runs the kitchen at VASK Modern Tapas and Gastronomic Cuisine different dining areas. He has worked in the kitchen of the world’s top restaurants like Noma, Arzak, El Bulli, Mugaritz, and El Celler de Can Roca. The first time I encountered him in the Philippines was at now defunct Fever Luxe Lounge in Sofitel Manila.
Our culinary journey at VASK Modern Tapas and Gastronomic Cuisine started in the DECK, a lounge area with nice views of BGC. They are comfortable lounge chairs where you can have a drink while watching the sun set. There are also plenty of interesting art objects like the functioning fork and spoon see saw set.
After drinks, we headed to the VASK Dining Room where they serve modern and traditional tapas the authentic Basque way. The Dining Room is also open for lunch where they have a (3) three course lunch set for only P695.
We started the meal with VASK version of Pintxos (P95). They are traditional placed on the bar area where patrons can just come up and pick what they want from the offerings that day. My favorite was the Salmon and Crab Tartare and the Jamon Iberico mousse.
Other appetizers we tried were the Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo, Carnitas, Rabas (P395) and more Pintxos. Their croquetas are stirred by hand upon order only so it may take a bit of time to be served, this is how dedicated they are to quality. The taste really shows as you bite into the creamy globes. The Rabas (fried squid) is paired nicely with the basil mayo.
Crispy Shrimp (P495). At first glance it looks like a simple fried spring roll but a bite will dispel that notion. Plump shrimps wrapped with Jamon Iberico for a umami flavor explosion heightened by the Jerez reduction.
Huevos con Txistorra (P290). A 62 degree sous vide egg with chistorra chorizo, breadcrumbs, mushrooms and truffle oil. Break the delicate egg and mix it with the breadcrumbs and chorizo for an enjoyable plate with different textures and flavors.
A duo of risottos was next, Mushroom Risotto and Scallop with Squid Ink Risotto (P590). The above plates are sampler sizes with the regular serving size, 2-3 times bigger. Both plates were rich and delicious but I’ll have to say my favorite was the earthy mushroom risotto.
Wagyu Carpaccio, thinly sliced wagyu beef, with pine nuts, crispy parmesan and Parmesan ice cream.
Atun Crujiente, crispy tuna with caramelized onion, black sesame seeds and sauteed foie gras. Pinkish tuna which pairs interestingly well with the foie gras for a little surf and turf action.
Cochinillo (P2750/quarter). Crisp young porcine skin with a thin layer of fat to keep it tender and a impossibly soft yet flavorful meat. They serve this with some greens to wash away some of the richness.
Tenderloin, grilled US tenderloin cooked to a perfect medium so its still tender and retains all the tasty beef flavors. It’s paired with bacon mashed potatoes and sweet beet root and finished off with a Port wine demiglace.
We moved to Gallery VASK for pre dessert. Gallery VASK is where Chef Chele unleashes his creativity in a 14 course degustation dinner. There is a limited seating of 20 people only.
We had a Palm Crisp (coconut sorbet) and a Taho. The coconut sorbet are created in a aluminum bowl with liquid nitrogen, which quickly freezes it. It’s like a meringue in texture create using modern techniques. The taho on the other had is not the usual one we get from the streets. This uses sheep milk tofu as a base with caramel syrup filled tapioca and a dash of ginger syrup. You sip this dessert and feel the tapioca break releasing the soft liquid inside.
Last stop on our journey thru VASK Manila is the recently opened Curve. The Curve serves a classic menu with premium items like caviar, lobster, oysters and pigeon. The Curve is open from 6:30pm onwards and can also serve as a space for private functions.
I loved this hidden table with a beautiful chandelier, separated from the main area by a wall.
You can find lots of interesting artistic pieces from chairs designed by well known artists including this table filled with teddy bears by Carlo Calma.
We had a flurry of four desserts, each artistically plated, a perfect fit for the Curve. The first was the Chocolate Caramel Lava (P290) which has ducle Valrhona chocolate, financier crumbs, pine nuts and a dollop of coconut ice cream. The 2nd was the Deconstructed Lemon Cake (P295), pistachio sponge cake with crushed golden biscuits, Greek yogurt mouse and lemon custard. I love the coconut ice cream from the first one and enjoyed the tartness of the 2nd which washed away all the rich flavors from our previous dishes.
My favorites were the Calamansi Tart and the Torrija (P210). The Calamansi tart was paired with cream cheese ice cream to balance the tartness. The torrija is a Spanish brioche bread soaked in milk served with a anise ice cream. The torrija is a perfect contrast of hot and cold and the bread get even better once you eat it with the anise ice cream.
My culinary journey was finally complete after almost 4 hours, taking a dip in all of its different dining experiences. I enjoyed everything and can really appreciate the attentive detail and technique the kitchen employs in every dish it serves. I’m eager to go back and try the 14 course degustation at the Gallery.
If you are a bit intimidated by the crowd and the menu then check out their reasonable lunch menu at only P695, a perfectly good price to try out the VASK Manila experience.
VASK Modern Tapas and Gastronomic Cuisine5th Floor Clipp Center 11th Avenue cor. 38th Street Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Contact No.: (632) 217-6563 Operating Hours: Lunch Service: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Dinner Service: 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM
After Dinner Service: 10:30 PM onwards