As featured in 10 Best NEW Homegrown Restaurants in Manila of 2019! The Test Kitchen 2.0 moved from the actual test kitchen of the Bistro Academy in Kamagong to the posh neighborhood of Rockwell with bigger space, a la carte versions (vs tasting menu) and the cool kitchen lab playground of Chef Josh Boutwood. We tried most of the items in the menu and here’s what to expect and what to order at the new Test Kitchen in Rockwell… The Test Kitchen 2.0 by Chef Josh Boutwood G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mobile: +63927-958-9727 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @thetestkitchenmnl Related post: THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay)
Prelude The Test Kitchen Menu: Snacks, First | Second, Third | Beverage Menu | Wine by the Glass The menu is now completely a la carte and divided into 4 courses, changing based on season and what’s freshly available. Drink Menu: Red Wine (France) | (Italy, Spanish) | (USA, South Africa, South America) | White Wine (France, Italy) | (Spain) | Rose Wine (France, Italy), Dessert Wine/ Port, Sparkling Wines/ Champagne The open kitchen from the original Test Kitchen was recreated and there are bar counters if you want to watch the action. Make sure to go on a tour of the second floor where they age the meats, ferment the ingredients and store the spices. The tables upstairs are bigger, for groups of 8-10 people because the tables downstairs have smaller fixed 2-6 configurations. They now have a proper aging room for meats aged 6, 3 or 2 months and their own Jamon aged for 3 years. This is where you can geek out on the fermented fruits and ingredients, house-made garum (fish sauce) and special spices. Snacks Add new sensations to your taste buds like how mojama salt-cured tuna tastes like when served canape style on black brioche. Taste the cured thinly sliced meats and eat slowly to appreciate the cured duck breast, homemade spicy chorizo and forrest ham. The bread service is well thought off—Farro Mediterranean wheat bread served with butter with marmite salt and bee pollen.
First A light appetizer of cured cucumbers, thinly sliced squid and vegan chicharon with an emulsion of lumpfish roe. Chef Josh loves natural wines like COS Pithos Bianco from Grecanico grape, aged and fermented in amphora in Sicily, Italy. Tomato salad with different layers of flavors—cured in vinegar, dehydrated or fermented with nuggets from left over bread. Carpaccio topped with a blooming white ensemble of horseradish, cauliflower (puree and raw) and topped with hen egg. Buna shimeji mushrooms which grow on beech trees with cute varying cap sizes braised in beef with artichoke puree. Chef Josh runs his 3 successful restaurants Savage, Helm and Test Kitchen while being the executive chef of The Bistro Group.
Second Two-tone chicken with actual Costales chicken and a farce meatloaf version made from chicken & truffle emulsion. So good! An Animo sea bass version cooked medium with three layers of green fennel sauce in puree and oil form and smoked dashi. Loved their own dry-aged Wagyu steak served medium rare with a delicate oxtail & red wine sauce with unique condiments. A biodynamic wine with —berry notes made from Frappato and Nero d’Avola blend named after a highway in Vittoria, Sicily. Lamb cooked just right with a pinkish center served in ash, caramelized hazelnuts and fried spring onions mesh. The cabbage steak for plant-based eaters, charred then topped with shredded pecorino cheese and dusted with chive and beetroot. Big liempo slices, with apple crisp for contrast and chicharon for texture, paired with homey mustard and apple chutney.
Third It’s not ice cream, just dollops of cream, but the highlight was the honeycomb caramel crunch and fermented honey from Palan. It looks like you are drinking wine but in fact it’s cold drip coffee, a perfect pairing with the dessert. Signature dessert of milk with juniper berries and translucent slices of grapes. Loved that it was not too sweet yet very satisfying. A simple white-themed dessert made from white chocolate mousse with egg white meringue and dusted with coffee.
Final Thoughts Overall, this feels like eating in a Michelin-star restaurant in London with food grounded on aged meats, seasonal ingredients and in-house fermented food. It’s updated with the latest trends (but not faddish) with a nice curated selection of natural biodynamic wines. I love the tour of the test kitchen, aging rooms and different fermented ingredients used in the menu. Start with the charcuterie and bread of the day and order the appetizer of cucumber, squid, dill and beef, horseradish, cauliflower. For your mains, the chicken, seabass and wagyu steak are quite good. Best to eat family style. The desserts were not remarkable so just order what you want to try to end on a sweet note with cold brew. Budget about ₱2,000/head for a 4-course meal plus ₱1,500/head if you’ll get the steak and the wine pairings. Congratulations to Chef Boutwood and team for a job well done with the successful re-opening of Test Kitchen in Rockwell The Test Kitchen 2.0 by Chef Josh Boutwood G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mobile: +63927-958-9727 Email: email@example.com Instagram: @thetestkitchenmnl Related post: THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay) Live an Awesome Life, Founder, Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Josh. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights. P.S. Check out the memorabilia of the cousin of the astronaut in Savage plus a painted tribute to Chef Josh’s dog.