Consummate contemporary small-plates Catalan cuisine & sublime cocktails at celebrated Manila restaurant
November 3rd, 2013
Among the most notable restaurant openings in Manila last year, contemporary Spanish restaurant and bar, Las Flores continues to garner considerable buzz within the local dining out scene. With its exemplary execution of contemporary Catalan cuisine- mostly small plate style- matched with first rate mixology and good music for a vibrant, enjoyable dining and socialising experience, Las Flores is firmly on trend with the global culinary zeitgeist. In major food capitals world-wide- New York, London- and here in Asia- Hong Kong and Singapore, the ever increasing number of younger, affluent diners crave relaxed sociability and accessible, authentic cuisines. This is exemplified in the small-plates dining trend- where diners enjoy a flexibility of meal structure- sharing numerous dishes from an authentic cuisine- in a stylish, contemporary setting that is both relaxing and exudes informal sophistication. A description manifested admirably by Las Flores.
The all-Spanish team behind the uber-chic Las Flores have successfully channeled this trend, offering an engaging dining experience of contemporary Catalan cuisine, served mostly as small plates, complemented by first rate mixology, and overlaid with the congenial vibe of good music and a friendly service team. Well located in a street level space in the commercial heart of the rapidly expanding Bonafacio Global City precinct of Manila, Las Flores is easily accessible for both office workers and nearby residents, and is open daily from 11 am in the morning until late in the night. The interior design exudes a relaxed chic, “Barcelona” demeanor- sparsely sophisticated- with a clean, attractive white and natural timber toned palette, highlighted with decor elements of retro-meets-modern.
Las Flores cuisine
Ensuring authenticity for the contemporary Catalan cuisine, the recently appointed executive chef heading up the culinary team at Las Flores is Barcelona native Pepe Llopez Martinez, brings his extensive cooking experience at leading restaurants in Barcelona to the kitchen at Las Flores. The stylishly presented menu encompasses both classic tapas dishes such as patatas bravas, chicarrones and croquetas, but predominantly features contemporary, innovative dishes that highlight traditional flavors, but are prepared with modern cooking techniques and presentation. Excellent examples of the contemporary approach are small plates such as Pulpo al la Gallega – boiled octopus with paprika, salt, and potato base; and the signature dish Carparccio de Calabacin con Calabaza Asada y Salsa de Pimientos del Piquillo- zucchini carpaccio stuffed with pumpkin cream and roasted red bell pepper sauce. Desserts are also highly rated at Las Flores- particularly the signature XO Colate Pa Oli I Sal- chocolate ganache with extra virgin olive oil, salt and bread- which is a delightful ending to a meal.
Las Flores mixology
A sophisticated cocktail program introduced by Hong Kong based, internationally renowned, mixologist and bar consultant Giancarlo Mancino- is founded on his appreciation and masterful execution of classic cocktails- creating sublime drinks- expertly crafted from premium ingredients. The art of creating well-balanced, solid drinks without the complexity and fancy combinations of multitudes of ingredients is the hallmark of the cocktails served at Las Flores, manifested by its finely tailored blend of vintage and contemporary cocktails. Among the well executed classic cocktails on the drinks list are the Negroni- a bold combination of Mancino Vermouth Rosso Amaranto, Tanqueray Gin, Campari Bitter; and Las Flores Gin & Tonic- London No.1 Gin, Japanese fox grape liqueur.
In addition to the cocktail list, a well-curated selection of mostly Spanish wines pair harmoniously with the cuisine. And other beverages from the bar include a concise list of local and imported craft beers, and small batch spirits.
Las Flores interior
The interior decor at Las Flores harmoniously blends retro and contemporary elements to create a restrained sense of urban chic. Natural timber furnishings and polished concrete flooring contrast comfortably against the white timber paneled walls and ceiling, while suspended industrial pendant style lamps light fittings are incongruously matched with modern chrome lights over the bar, and minimalist wrought iron chandeliers.
Mis-matched styles of dining tables are generously spaced across the floor for a comfortable dining experience.
Mirror-backed banquette settings are featured in the center of the room, with an installation of white, floor-to-ceiling pipes, partially delineating the space.
An elegant semi-private alcove adjacent to the front reception counter comfortably accommodates up to 10 diners. Framed botanical prints reference the restaurant name.
Occupying one corner of the main dining room, the intimate bar features a handsome dark timber “L” shaped counter, topped with a colorful vintage Gaudi-inspired ceramic tiles.
The popular outdoor terrace offers the additional option of casual, open-air table settings- with a series of overhead fans circulating the balmy air.
“Mixologia Clasicos”- highlights from the bar
Preparing the sublime NEGRONI- one of the standout Las Flores classic cocktails.
NEGRONI- Mancino Vermouth Rosso Amaranto, Tanqueray Gin, Campari Bitter .
WHITE SANGRIA- White wine shaken gently with some Spanish secret, pairing with chorizo bite.
GIN & TONIC- THE LONDON N0.1 served with fresh Japanese shiso leaves
OLD FASHIONED- Bourbon Whiskey, Bitters, Home Made-Brandied Cherries, Orange peel.
PAN-ASIAN GIMLET- Tanqueray Gin, Lime and Lemon Pressed, Kaffir Lime, Leaves and Cardamon. (for sharing 2 – 4 persons)
Selections from the Las Flores food menu
PAN CON TOMATE- Tomato Bread.
ATÚN EN ESCABECHE DE VINO Y ACEITE DE OLIVA VIRGEN- Marinated tuna in white wine with a delicious escabeche sauce.
SALMON SALMON- Tasmania smoked salmon with ricotta cheese, truffle olive oil, honey and lumpfish caviar.
TARTAR DE ATÚN CON CREMOSO DE AGUACATE- Tuna tartar with avocado cream.
CROQUETAS DE CHORIZO CASERAS DE LA ABUELA- Home made croquetas stuffed with Spanish chorizo.
BOTIFARRA CATALANA- Catalan sausage with baked potatoes, caramelized onions and shitake mushrooms.
MINI HAMBURGUESAS DE FOIE Y TERNERA CON PARMESANO- Angus foie mini burgers with parmesan cheese. (Signature dish)
CARPACCIO DE CALABACIN CON CALABAZA ASADA Y SALSA DE PIMIENTOS DEL PIQUILLO- Zucchini carpaccio stuffed with pumpkin cream and roasted red bell pepper sauce. (Signature dish)
Las Flores- modern Spanish tapas & cocktail bar- Bonifacio Global City, Manila
Address: Ground Floor Level, One McKinley Place, Fort Bonafacio 1200. Metro Manila. Philippines
Reservations: +63.2. 552 2815
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 am ~ 02:00 am
Dress Code: Casual