Recuerdo, La Condessa’s reservations-only event in April, evokes memories of your firsts

The first time you had steak or the meal you spent your first paycheck on or your mom’s cooking.

Quezon City-based restaurant La Condessa invited The Post to taste a dining experience they’re introducing called Recuerdo, a reservation-only event that will highlight experimental dishes that aim to trigger a certain memory.

Memories are rich in food stories—the first time you had steak, your mom’s cooking, or the meal you spent your first paycheck on. La Condessa wants to weave a story through their seven-course dinner using these memories.

La Condessa Australian black angus striploin
Every course from start to finish includes beef, like this Australian black angus striploin
Photos by Jar Concengco
La Condessa Minced picanha, stuffed egg pasta and beef consomme
Minced picanha, stuffed egg pasta and beef consomme

The restaurant is designed to feel like a rich aunt’s house. Encaustic tiles and a multi-tiered chandelier usher you in to a staircase. There’s a new al fresco area that is perfect to enjoy a few cocktails at sunset as the sun’s rays pass through it beautifully.

La Condessa has enlisted chef Vic Barangan, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years, to imagine and create the dishes for Recuerdo.

“For the first Recuerdo, we wanted to highlight beef. Every course from start to finish will all include beef,” Barangan says. Beef comes from Black Tyde, a sponsor of the event.

La Condessa
La Condessa is designed to feel like a rich aunt’s house.

It might seem overwhelming, but in some instances it wasn’t as extreme as it sounds. For instance, the starter “El Girasol” features sunflower seed bread with maple bacon butter and a side of tallow garlic butter. Tallow is a rendered form of beef fat, resembles butter and is very mild in flavor.

The salad course “Hamon & Keso” has a house beef belly ham, mozrella, walnut brittle on top of a lettuce leaf. Even people who despise vegetables will love this dish as it was refreshing and light. “We kind of wanted this to have a feel of a ham and cheese sandwich in salad form,” adds Barangan.

La Condessa Grilled rump steak
Grilled rump steak with tallow rice and soy-cured egg
La Condessa Sunflower seed bread
Sunflower seed bread with maple bacon butter and a side of tallow garlic butter

Housemade ravioli stuffed with minced picanha (a beef cut popularized by Brazilian barbecues) is then turned into a soup when the server pours a consommé made with beef bones. The salty consommé is reminiscent of the broth from packaged instant noodles (possibly a memory from days cramming for a test in college). The ravioli itself was so flavorful and good, it would be worth ordering again on its own.

One of the heavier courses was the tapa, which isn’t anything like the tapa you have in mind. This one has succulent slices of grilled rump steak blanketed over a mound of beef tallow rice and topped with a soy cured egg yolk. It’s a reminder that this is not a tasting menu with small portions.

Recuerdo welcomes big appetites and wants this event to be less formal than found in degustations.

Barangan was not kidding when he said that they wanted to highlight beef as the main course. He served a handsome portion of 7-day dry aged Australian black angus striploin topped with minced chives. Entitled “Bistig” – an elevated version of bistik – the ponzu and butter sauce it comes with was to replicate the salt and acid balance that traditional bistik has.

La Condessa Salad with beef belly ham
Salad with beef belly ham, walnut brittle and mozzarella

Dessert also included beef—beef jerky coated in Belgian chocolate standing on Yorkshire pudding and custard cream.

Recuerdo provides a fun take for La Condessa to experiment and have their customers try new dishes before adding them as mainstays in their menu.

Upcoming dates for Recuerdo are April 5 and 25. Follow @lacondessaph for more information or to book a reservation.

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