Five years since its launch in 2013, Balboa has been a classic favorite among Italian-American food lovers. This June 2018, they are plating up new dishes to take a fresh perspective on their current Italian and New York inspired cuisine. They plan to involve their name in the growing food trends and come up with a rather ambitious menu.
Named after the famed character of Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa – Balboa restaurant gives a rather different vibe. Balboa’s interior gives off a stylish vintage look with its brightly coloured tiles and fixtures that mimics an Italian farmhouse.
The restaurant’s revamped and new dishes were created in collaboration with Chef Jolo Morales. At the young age of 24, Chef Jolo is already well-accomplished and has worked alongside Chef Curtis Duffy of the famous 3-Michelin-stars Grace Restaurant in Chicago. He was also one of the 2018 Asia’s Best Restaurant Awardee.
Chef Jolo’s vision in his new creations is to create Italian cuisine inspired dishes using classic Italian technique but utilising fresh local ingredients. He experimented and played around the usual texture and temperature of food and deconstructed to make the dishes more appealing to the Filipino palate. To make this possible, he tried to achieve bolder flavours and pair local ingredients such as jicama or singkamas, water spinach, sardinella, and free range eggs with Italian techniques of cooking.
We had the privilege to get invited to try their new dishes. For our appetizer, we had their two new soup dishes – the mushroom soup which consists of shitake juice, three kinds of mushrooms ( shitake, oyster, and shimaje) ; and the Roasted Pumpkin soup. The mushroom had a bold taste and a rather thick consistency complimenting well with the little sweetness of the pumpkin soup which has a bit of apple confit and sweet potato chips to it.
We also tried their new Fresh Cut Jicama which was very refreshing and surprisingly light. The taste was well balanced despite having an array of many different ingredients. It has jicama, mango, green herbs, water spinach, arugula, thin slices of prosciutto ham, drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction, and gratings of parmesan cheese.
For the main dish, Chef Jolo reimagined the usual chicken dish and took a new approach with their Chicken Cacciatore. The chicken meat is smoked and cured, and then rolled into small pieces. Served with baked polenta and pureed tomato on the sides, this dish will surely change your perspective about chicken.
Another main dish we tried is the Sole, which is a slab of fish meat, mashed potatoes, and toasted cashews. The combination may sound a bit odd but trust me when I say that this one is really great.
They will also be adding new pasta dishes on their menu. We had the chance to try their own take on the Classic Carbonara. The noodles are al dente and the sauce was really creamy. It’s topped with cubed and seared porchetta, cured egg, fried shallots, parmesan cheese, and parsley oil. This one was actually my favorite among everything we tried, this dish was just too enticing not to rave about.
We wanted to try more of their new dishes but we were so full, you can’t blame us to indulge when the food served are that good. They will also be serving Sardinella, Putanesca, and Vongole, although I haven’t tried any of these I am sure they are as good as the Classic Carbonara.
All in all, they will have 13 new dishes. These new dishes alongside their bestsellers like pizza, US Porterhouse steak, and truffle mushroom linguine, and their signature Balboa Pulled Pork can be enjoyed at Balboa, Level 4, Shangri-La Plaza East Wing.
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