Gallery by Chele’s 22-Course Tasting Menu 2022—Is it Worth it?

Gallery by Chele is back with a new degustation menu this 2022—inspired by his travel back to his roots in his hometown Cantabria, Spain during the pandemic, after 11 years of living in the Philippines. The 22-course tasting menu entitled “RE-Encounters” features the flavors of his Northern Spain heritage including the San Sebastián and the Basque regions but uses Filipino ingredients expressed through their unique food philosophy.

Invigorated by the challenges of the pandemic and sheer hard work, Chef Chele is at his best again with the RE-Encounters tasting menu. It is a more personal voyage into hometown heritage flavors transported to Manila to offer a rewarding dining experience after 2 years of lockdown. Is it worth it?


GALLERY BY CHELE

It’s awesome to see the vibrant scene in Gallery by Chele which is fully booked everyday with 70-80 diners enjoying the new flavors. They are now offering an al fresco dining experience.

GALLERY BY CHELE
5F Clipp Center, 11th Ave. corner 39th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
Email: reservations@gallerybychele.com
Phone: +63 917 546 1673
Instagram: @gallerybychele
Facebook: Gallery by Chele
Visit https://gallerybychele.com/

You have the option to sit near the bar, close to the open kitchen.

The main dining area features artworks, air-conditioning and white linen tables with good social distancing between tables.

The preferred place to eat is at the al fresco dining area covered with a tent and air-cooled with Iwata fans. There’s comfortable seating with spacious distance from the next table.

Gallery by Chele new menu: Tasting Menu | Ala Carte Menu

You can decide to have the ala carte menu of the full Ten Courses Re-Encounters menu which can take about 3 or 4 hours to complete with cocktail/wine pairing. For efficiency, they require that you order the same course per table.

RE-Encounters (TEN COURSES) ₱4,400/ head
• Cocktail Pairing +₱1,600
• Wine Pairing +₱2,600
• Cocktail & Wine Pairing +₱2,400
• Non-Alcoholic Pairing +₱995
• Vegetarian Menu ₱3,400


TAPAS – First 5 Bites

Calimocho
Sangria – Fruit Juices – Soda

We started the degustation at the bar for Cantabria’s sangria version with fruit juice and soda to open the palate for the first 5 bites.

#1 Bravas

Bravas is the most iconic tapas in the Cantabria region—with fried calamari, small brioche bun with anchovy and parsley. It’s just one bite, but it’s full of different flavors and textures that dance in your mouth.

#2 Tortilla de Patatas

A mini-pie version of Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) with lots of caramelized onions.

#3 Pulpo La Gallega

Bits of octopus in a potato foam topped with crispy fried tapioca and paprika. Loved the creamy flavors with pulpo bits with crunchy spice.

#4 Gambas

Suahe crackers with gambas al ajillo on top and shrimp head mayo. Reminds you of sosyal na okoy with hints of garlic and mayo.

#5 Croquettas
Cebu Lechon – Chicharon

Bechamel-based croquettes with Cebu lechon, vinegar mayo and chicharon.

All of the bites were quite good but these Cebu Lechon croquettes were our favorite because they embody the Spanish heritage with Filipino ingredients food philosophy of Gallery by Chele.


PINTXOS – Last 2 Bites

From the bar, we proceeded to the San Sebastian room that features the San Sebastián Cathedral and pays homage to the Basque Pintxos culture.

#6 Crab Canape
Meringue Bread

This crab pintxos made of crab canape with meringue bread is always a staple in the pintxos bar, a nice savory bite with a crunchy base.

#7 Pastrami

Loved their homemade smoked pastrami made light with tomato, basil, tomato jam served canapé bite style. The savory bites keep you wanting for more, preparing you for the next 10 courses.


RE-ENCOUNTERS – 10 Courses

The RE-Encounters Menu features a Northern Spain souvenir map with Chef Chele’s San Sebastián Pintxos Bar and Michelin Star restaurant recommendations and the chef’s favorite places in the Cantabria regions. It’s a great gift that entices you to go explore the Basque region.

#8 RAW
Tuna – Piparras – Gazpacho

The first main course is cured tuna carpaccio with pickled shallots, piparas chili and gazpacho sorbet of strawberry and watermelon.

Loved the contrasting flavors of raw tuna and cold fruity soup.

#9 PILPIL
Bangus Belly – Garlic – Collagen Emulsions

While inspired by the famed kokotxas in the Basque region, this one features bangus belly in a collagen sauce made from belly fat emulsified in garlic and olive oil.

Loved the fatty flavors of the milk fish coated with a glutinous consistency. Sarap!

#10 HUEVOS CON JAMON
Local Peas – Organic Egg – Iberia

Poached organic egg from Bataan with beef truffle jus and texture of Baguio bean jus finished with a local texture of Iberico and green peas.

Truly enjoyed this egg course with a soupy egg white and yellow yolk mixed with flavors of beef, beans and peas and crunchy jamon.

Another souvenir is this black squid ink recipe featuring the Filipino version in contrast with the Spanish counterpart with an art collaboration cover by Carlo Calma and Jay Yao featuring an algorithm of the texture of calamares.

#11 HYBRID
Squid – Ginger – homemade vinegar

Cultural blending of slow-cooked Adobong pusit with Calamares en su tinto squid sauce with caramelized onions, steamed onions and ginger.

The squid has the texture of savory nata de coco with an onion-flavored squid ink—interesting hybrid of flavors, technique and culture.

#12 SALSA VERDE
White snapper – Sayote – Parsley

White Snapper with salsa verde with mussel and clam flavors plus a green sauce of parsley, white wine and fish stock served with sayote and local mussels.

This seafood course was our least favorite because of the parsley which is a very traditional Spanish flavor.

#13 MONTAÑES
White beans – Stew meats – Parsley

This is a famous dish in Cantabria, their version of beef stew made from pork, chicken, beef wrapped in kale on a bed of pavada (white bean) puree served with cocido broth.

We had mixed reactions to this winter dish from the Cantabria region—interpreted as deconstructed with the chorizo and morcilla in a separate dish and with the use of kale that has a bitter flavor.

#14 Chorizo Brioche
#15 Morcilla

Loved the small siopao-like brioche with chorizo inside and the combination of blood sausage with mayo.

#16 MACEDONIA
Fruites – Citrus – Mint

This is inspired by European fruit salad which serves as a palate cleanser made with calamansi sorbet with the texture of fresh strawberries, mango and pomelo bits.

Refreshing with fruity citrusy flavors which get your palate ready for the steak course!

#17 TXULETA
Steak – Potato – Confit Bell Pepper
(Add ₱550 Wagyu Tenderloin)

Steak served with beef Jus with crispy potato skin on a bed of potato foam and confit bell pepper.

The steak was tender and you can taste the beef enhanced by the beef jus and the potato skin provides a nice crispy texture and a light potato foam. Quite good!


DESSERTS

#18 SOBAO
Cantabria cake – Forest berries – Milk Ice Cream

Butterscotch Cake with mixed berries coulis with cake crumbs served with homemade smoked ice cream.

Our only comment was “Bakit ang sarap nito, Chef?”

#19 BURNT BASQUE CHEESECAKE
Grated Truffle – Chantilly

Their signature burnt Basque cheesecake served with Chantilly cream and more umami from grated truffle! Good to pair with black coffee.

#20 CORTE DE FLAN

The tasting menu finishes with three famous elaborations that are common in the Philippines and Spain, starting with leche flan, ice cream in between crackers. You have to eat this immediately because it melts quickly and it tastes good as soon as served.

#21 SAGO CON LECHE
#22 QUESADA

Finally, ending with Cassava Cake and Arroz con Leche with sago and cinnamon. Loved all the desserts, all with a balance of sweetness, texture and flavors of the Philippines and Spain.


FINAL THOUGHTS

We love the integration of Philippine and Spanish flavors, and it feels like a personal journey of the culinary DNA of Chef Chele which is Filipino at heart and Spanish in form.

The food is not fusion, and it is founded on a deep understanding of both the Philippine and Spanish heritage to create something new. We love all the tapas, most of the main dishes (except the parsley green sauce) and they are all perfect with the dessert!

We’ve been to the Basque region and we love getting re-acquainted with the flavors of Northern Spain. The menu is like an invitation to explore the Cantabria region.

This new tasting experience in an al fresco setting will make you forget about the pandemic, and the flavors will fuel your passion to explore new tastes and conquer your own challenges. It is definitely worth it!

GALLERY BY CHELE
5F Clipp Center, 11th Ave. corner 39th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
Email: reservations@gallerybychele.com
Phone: +63 917 546 1673
Instagram: @gallerybychele
Facebook: Gallery by Chele
Visit https://gallerybychele.com/

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Thank you to Chef Chele Gonzales for our awesome RE-Encounter experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Congratulations to Chef Chele for the awesome homage to his hometown flavors and the Cantabria terroir as well as the loving tribute to his mom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.