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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Taste of Catalan Cuisine

This happened several months ago, but every time I have the occasion to dine in La Tienda, the experience stays in my mind for long. After all, La Tienda is probably the only one serving authentic Catalan cuisine here. Authentic would mean, their ingredients are actually imported from this region of Spain. Thus, for so many years, the restaurant has had, and continues to have, quite a loyal following.

                       (photo courtesy of  telwanders.com)

Located in one of the comparably quiet streets of Makati, the restaurant has ample parking space and a very inviting homey facade. The staff, starting from the guard that assists you in parking, to the attendants, you are given warm greetings and assistance.

La Tienda is a place just right for celebrating something, either as a big group or just for two. And live music provides the last touch for such an ambiance.


For our meal with a visiting relative from abroad, we had the Ensalada La Tienda (Php350/USD7.95) which is just a simple salad of fresh greens, olives and cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette that refreshed our palates after the complimentary bread basket. 


Then came the required Callos con Garbanzos (Php625/USD14.20). This slow-cooked tripe stew is a favourite delicacy that cannot be missed, served with either your choice of bread or rice.


Another good choice would be to try their grilled Lamb Chops served with Pimiento Pequillo (Php695/USD15.80). However, on its own, you can taste the succulent tenderness and care they cooked the meat. My daughter absolutely enjoyed it medium-rare. 


La Tienda is quite famous for its many Paella options, and for our choice, we had the Paella de Mariscos (Php695/USD15.80) or the seafood paella, brimming with squid, shrimp, clams and mussels, and sea crab served in a paellera good for 4 to 6 people.


And without a doubt, another dish that one certainly never forgets from this place is the Cochinillo Asado, or the roast suckling pig, ordered a day in advance and roasted to tender perfection (Php4,500/USD102.27).


So tender that one needs only a plate in order to chop the deboned porcine to biteable morsels.


The method of cooking maintains the juiciness of the pork inside, but the skin is crackling golden goodness all throughout. No need for sauce to accompany this one - you're there to taste the fresh succulence and nothing else.


Of course, it isn't over til the fat lady sings in the form of two desserts. Always, my heart calls for the Crema Catalana and the Tocino del Cielo (Php160/USD3.64 each). Even if one is very full after that fantastic meal, one cannot leave without tasting these pieces of heaven even if you just share it.

Crema Catalana

Tocino del Cielo
And true to the restaurant's name, one way to work off that beautiful meal is to check out their Gourmet store tucked in one corner and find out just exactly the imported products they use in their own kitchens. From canned fish, vegetables and fruits, to olive oils, Spanish wines (also listed in their menu for on-site consumption), freshly baked breads and cookery (you may be enticed to buy your own paellera, or ceramic dish to serve your own recipes in).

Everytime one leaves La Tienda after such a robust meal, one is sure that it has left a lasting impression that can only be surpassed by the next visit.

La Tienda Spanish Spanish Restaurant
43 Polaris Street Bel Air Village Makati City
Landline: +63 2 890 4123

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