After our first 2 attempts at food blogging, the first at S.O.C.O (which we absolutely loved) and the second at The Goose Station (which left us a little underwhelmed), we excitedly leaped at the chance to feast on our third multi-course dinner, this time with Chef Popit. Unlike in the previous restaurants, Chef Popit had a lot of sets to choose from. Me and my friends had to do a votation to decide on just one set, and we ended up with the Amelita set.
We were supposed to have this dinner a good month ago, but last minute it was postponed because Chef Popit had to be hospitalized. Thank goodness he’s back in good health and so we finally pushed through. The dinner was going to be in his mom’s condo, where the set-up was done in a room that looked like a former library.
We had just one waiter, since the deal is, Chef Popit only serves one group per day. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re just a couple or a big group, he only serves one group at a time. So as soon as we were settled, the parade of flavors began:
Fried Tomatoes With Polenta Crust Topped With Tapenade
Our appetizer was an interesting crunchy little number. It was completely new, yet there was something familiar about the whole thing. It was funny because I was finishing up the last piece before I realized I was eating tomatoes. It was a nice start, and it gave a peek at how unique this little culinary journey was going to be for us.
Turmeric Lentil Soup With Popcorn Shrimp
This was an easy sell for me, because it tastes very similar to my all-time favorite soup, lobster bisque. My untrained palate doesn’t really know what the difference between the soups are, but same or different, I love both. The soup was served in a tiny rectangular dish which would normally be a too-small serving, but knowing that this was an 8-course dinner, the amount turned out to be just right.
Cheese Soufflé On Salad Greens With Balsamic Vinaigrette
Again, the salad was perfect for me because I don’t like creamy dressing. It just had balsamic vinaigrette (which is my usual dressing of choice), and it was basically regular salad, but with a twist. The pièce de résistance of this dish was the cheese soufflé on top. The closest I could think of describing the taste is a cross between a muffin and scrambled eggs. I love eggs, so it was a hit with me. It mixed well with the leafy taste of the greens and the tartness of the vinegar.
Tuna Carpaccio With Lemon-Sesame Oil Dressing
My experience with carpaccio is limited at best. It’s basically maguro sashimi, pero maarte. Carpaccio is usually raw meat or fish, so I was glad the chef chose fish because I’m not big on raw flesh of any type of animal, so fish is the least of the evils. And although I don’t even eat maguro sushi, I must say, I enjoyed this dish, maybe because of the dressing or the preparation, because I didn’t get the usual gummy texture I usually get from raw fish (which I hate).
Spinach Gnocci With Pomodoro Sauce
The dishes that had come out have been bundles of surprises, and the next one was no exception. It’s basically like taro, or radish cake, with spaghetti sauce. The gnocci itself has a very mild flavor and that starchy texture that perfectly balances out the full flavor of the pommodoro sauce. The dance of the different textures and flavors was delightful! It was a fun dish to explore and it was something I actually wanted a second serving of.
Seared Mahi Fillet With Mustard Béchamel Sauce
This was basically a fish fillet over some raw beets and with a cream sauce. I don’t like beets at all, but I decided to eat all of it anyway to experience the dish the way the chef wanted us to. It was quite unique, because I’ve never eaten raw beets before and never sliced this way. It’s like singkamas but less sweet. I still don’t like beets, but at least it wasn”t so bad. My least favorite of the dishes, not because it was bad, but only because the other dishes were exceptional.
Easily the most unique, the most bizarre, the most unfamiliar of all the dishes presented. And to my surprise, it also was my most favorite of them all. It’s so hard to describe, mainly because I’ve never tasted anything quite like it; nothing comes close. It’s not exactly delicious, but it’s delightfully interesting! It’s not tasty in the conventional way, in fact the flavors are downright odd, but for some reason my taste buds were quivering with enjoyment. And after you swallow a portion, a swift spiciness suddenly darts through your mouth then disappears as quickly as it came. I never tasted the spiciness while I chewed, only after I swallow. Fascinating!
Baked Fillet Of Chicken Breast On Spaghetti With Pesto Sauce
Everyone had chicken breast, but because I don’t eat chicken, Chef Popit did the same dish for me, only with fish. This was an okay dish, nothing fancy, plus I’m not so hot on pesto. Those are the 2 pasta sauces I like the least: pesto and carbonara. But to be fair, the pesto was really good, I just don’t like pesto in general. Plus. I guess it suffered in comparison to the dish right before it, the show-stopping beetroot roulade. And we were reaching the limit of our stomach’s capacity as well, reaching the end of the meal.
There were 5 of us who partook of the dinner, and it was unanimous: this was the BEST crème brulee we have ever tasted in our crème brulee-filled lives! We couldn’t believe how incredibly creamy that little concoction was! It was sooo good, verging on orgasmic. This is what I’m talking about, if I’m going against doctor’s orders and eat sugar, this is the dish I will cheat for!
This was what I was referring to when I was discussing what I felt was lacking when we ate at The Goose Station. With this 8-course dinner, I felt like I took a journey, a culinary one, where I was taken to places I’ve never been to before. I felt excited with each new course, to see if I’d get to taste something new, like the beetroot roulade, or be wowed by a delicious version of something familiar, like the crème brulee. I also appreciated the hands-on approach that Chef Popit took, by coming into the dining area every now and then to see how we were doing, entertaining questions we might have with the different dishes, and generally making us feel at home. There’s something to be said about chefs who take time out to fraternize with the clients who patronize his craft. It’s personal and it’s effective. But in the end, no matter how gregarious a chef may be, it all boils down to the taste of the food. And in this aspect, Chef Popit did not disappoint. If I were shelling out good money on food, I would definitely splurge for a dinner like this. The only reason I chose a least favorite dish is because the other dishes were stellar. Overall, highly recommended for taste buds craving for something different. If you’re looking for new gourmet explorations, I wouldn’t think twice pointing the way to Chef Popit’s condo. Money well-spent, and taste buds that are happy for it.