Teak at Rockwell used to be a bar owned by Beaver Lopez. It’s still owned by him, but it’s recently been renovated into a bistro and restaurant. Expectedly, the lighting has been cranked up considerably, and what used to be the bar is now a large see-through “holding room” for plates. The kitchen is also very visible from the dining area.
Teak is a collaboration of five chefs: Ed Quimson, Dundee Magallanes, Jane Paredes, Heny Sison, and Jill Sandique. Each has left his/her personal mark on the menu and it shows: pastas such as bihod (fish roe) pasta (P210) and gourmet tuyo pasta (P240) are the work of Heny; Ed, Dundee, and Jane created culinary curiosities ”“ ham, caramelized apple and onion sandwich (P280); gambas with guava butter (P340); lamb shank adobo served with mango salsa and potato puree (P750); the scintillating-sounding 7-spiced pork belly with chestnut rice and pickled vegetables (P355).
Teak still has much of its old bar self, evident in the long list of “bar chow,” one of which includes something called Parson’s Nose, deep-fried pork cheek with soy ”“ a twist on sisig, I’m sure.
As far as food goes, ”˜chopped liver’ doesn’t score very high on the scale of euphonious-sounding menu items. But how does chopped chicken liver with capers, anchovies, balsamico (vinegar) and Parmesan cheese sound? It’s what the restaurant calls Fegatini (P180). While I was expecting something that could perhaps be speared with a toothpick (this was a bar after all), Fegatini turned out to be a chunky kind of spread served with crudités. Quite good.
When I told Chef Ed that I was on my way to Teak that night, he told me to try the Yellow Submarine (P480), lamb curry rice good for two. It’s one of quite a few dishes that needs two hours’ lead time, but the kitchen had it in stock, so we didn’t have to wait too long. Deeply fragrant, the Yellow Sub was a showcase of several good things that summed up the dish: raisins, onions, parsley, lamb, and what I thought was a refreshing taste surprise ”“ fresh diced tomatoes.
Chef Jill Sandique is the master behind the desserts at Teak, of which there are many. I honestly wanted to try a little of everything, but my eyes are notoriously larger than my stomach. My good friend and fellow food writer, Kaie, was at Teak’s food tasting, and she highly recommended the Devil’s Island (135) ”“ a molten chocolate cake swimming in chocolate lava, and topped with homemade marshmallows and a dollop of cream. For all its smoldering good looks, this dessert disappointed me with its dry texture and chocolate sauce that was heavy on the palate. I preferred the more sophisticated Jamaican Rhapsody (P200), a moist chocolate cake with ganache paired with bananas Foster and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Seeing how excited I was over the desserts, the kitchen was so kind to send over more ”“ the banana cream pie (P160) and the Brownie Overload Cheesecake.
I love bananas in anything, more so when they’re in a pie. I wasn’t too happy with this one however. The bananas were mashed up, and it didn’t go so well with the crust, which was a little tough.
My favorite dessert of all was the Brownie Overload Cheesecake. As if cheesecake wasn’t rich enough, Chef Jill gilds the lily by adding chunks of fudgy brownies. The rectangular patterns of brown on white is startling and seducing.
Teak just opened last November 5, and has yet to hold its grand opening. Every new restaurant must be given a grace period where it finds its footing and sets out to show what it’s capable of. Teak is well on its way to doing that.
Teak Restaurant and Bistro
G/F Power Plant Mall