One of the best paellas I've tasted...
Okay, granted I may not be the best judge of paellas, especially since I'm not fond of the said Spanish dish; still, I've had my share of them from a few different restaurants, enough to compare or mentally rate, but just solely based on my own palate's predilection.
Going to Cerveseria, I wasn't really expecting anything. Tired from all the packing and preparing that had to be done for our trip to Hong Kong, not to mention the last minute shopping for all those travel essentials (I swear, having kids travel with you makes your checklist grow triple in length) I just wanted to eat, be done with it and go home straight to my bed.
Upon entering the door, white elaborate chandeliers styled like melting candles hang in rows, somewhat brightening the otherwise tenebrous place. To the left stood two large bookshelves acting as dividers to bring privacy to a few tables partly hidden from view. The dim ambiance makes you feel like you're in a set of an old haunted castle, wooden tables and intricately carved chairs in tow. Meanwhile, to the right was the kitchen and a bar sporting different wine bottles lined up along the mirror's length. I'm intrigued by the vast collection of books, which the dining patrons are welcome to pick up and browse through, while waiting for the food to arrive.
We didn't have to wait for too long, though. Moments later, the Paella Cerveseria (P760) arrived in all its 10-inch glory. Covered in clams, red bell peppers, French beans, chorizo slices and soft shell crabs, the bright golden yellow saffron rice was temptingly tasty. I loved scraping off the socarrat from the bottom of the paellera, and just munching on it, slowly savoring every delicious bite. But what made it all the more special were those little soft shell crabs. A slight crunch echoes on your first bite as the saporous shell is gingerly crushed between molars. I usually don't eat crabs as I detest maneuvering my way into its claws and shelled crevices, so being able to devour all of it without the nitty-gritty process of unearthing the crab meat, is a satisfying relief. Don't forget to dip it into the lovely aioli sauce to experience more depth of flavor.
You know when sometimes in a restaurant, you feel shortchanged when they serve you a fruit shake that's just insipid? Kinda makes you think how in the world they could miss on serving good drinks and somehow not translate that same mistake into the food they serve. Well, fortunately, this was not one of those bland beverages. Cerveseria's Apple and Pear Shake (P158) wasn't bereft of flavor at all, its sapidity enabling you to wash down contentedly every savory bite you take. It may not be the perfect pair for paella (I would have opted for the Sangria if only my doctor hadn't ordered me to stay away from alcohol for a whole month), just the same, it was cool, refreshing, and had just the right amount of sweetness.
Next time I hanker for paella, the Paella Cerveseria would surely be the first one that comes to mind.
Spot: G/F Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City
Contact Nos.: 757.4791 or 0917.8944325