focaccia

I didn’t expect that there are quite a number of good restaurants at A.Venue, because I don’t think a lot of people go there… During a meeting I had, a co-model suggested that we transfer to focaccia. I actually didn’t eat since I was heading to Tsumura after for dinner, but I told myself I was going to come back because the food looked promising. So after spending the day with my son in Makati, I decided to take him there.

The following photos though, were not taken at their branch at A.Venue, but were taken at their branch at The Fort Strip. This was when we availed of their promo at MetroDeal.

First of all, I would like to commend their branch at The Fort Strip for allowing us to use our vouchers there, even if my boyfriend mistakenly selected A. Venue, as to where we will use our vouchers.

For starters,

 

Complimentary Focaccia Bread

We were given a complimentary basket of focaccia bread, with EVOO+balsamic vinegar. It was a good thing that a restaurant named focaccia has good focaccia bread! 😀 It was definitely something to boast about. Their focaccia bread was soft and had a nice crunchy crust, evident of a freshly baked focaccia bread.

 

Prosciutto Tartufo (P460)

Truffled cream sauce with prosciutto & mushroom slices.

I originally wanted to order their Cannelloni al Funghi, but because the waitress said it was not available, we settled for this instead. As soon as our order arrived, we immediately distinguished the lingering scent of truffle. And because of that, I was happy to know that they did not scrimp out on the truffle oil and made the P460 price worth it. The pasta was al dente, the sauce was very rich. In fact, we thought it was too rich because there was too much cream.. I don’t remember if they used fresh button mushrooms, but basing from the photo, I think they didn’t. I wish they could have used more prosciutto too, to cut the richness of the dish. But this was not bad 🙂 There was just too much cream.

Pazza Rollio Maranello (P399)

shrimp, sundried tomato, salami & cheese sauce

What actually piqued my interest to eat here was their Pazzo Rollio–their thinner version of Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla Pizza. It was literally paper thin! And like Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla Pizza, this also came with

Arugula & Alfalfa Sprouts

The pizza was very good 🙂 And though it was paper thin, it was very filling. The stuffing and rolling added that fun factor too 😉

Chicken Pancetta (P280)

Pancetta slices & cheese wrapped in chicken roasted in olive oil served on farfalle noodles.

The breading they used on the chicken was the same breading they use on their Mozzarella Fritta, which I got to try at their A. Venue branch. I prefer crispy breadings, so this didn’t completely satisfy me. However, the boyfriend loved it. Like they say, “Different folks, different strokes.” The portion was generous. The components made the whole dish well-balanced. The farfalle noodles, in itself, were delicious.

I like the ambiance at The Fort Strip better. However, the service at A. Venue was much better.

We had to wait for a looong time at The Fort Strip before our food finally came. I was watching the chefs/ cooks from my seat, and they were moving soooo slow! If Chef Ramsey was there, he probably would’ve whooped their asses 😀 We also didn’t like how the waitress (there were only 2 of them: 1 waiter & 1 waitress) (what to us felt like she) disregarded us when she was chatting loudly with (we assumed to be) her co-workers who were on a day off. Their children were everywhere too! Walking with those squeaky shoes that were ANNOYING AS HELL. That, for me, was what made our experience traumatizing.

Despite the good food, I can’t help but take into consideration the extremely slow service and the inconsiderate staff. And for that, I sadly give focaccia at The Fort Strip a 3 out 5 spoons. However, their branch at A. Venue definitely deserves a 5 out of 5.


Va Bene Pasta Deli

As I was browsing through Anton Diaz’ blog on where to eat next, I decided to try Va Bene Pasta Deli, after seeing his blog about it. Two things that caught my interest & influenced my decision to eat there were: 1. It is a hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant, situated at Petron, Dasmariñas Village. 2. It serves authentic Italian food–those were enough to convince me that it was worth going to. So the next day, I went there for lunch & didn’t expect ALL the tables to have been reserved already! 😦 Despite that, Va Bene was kind enough to accommodate me, since most of their guests who reserved a table weren’t there yet. Unfortunately, during my 1st visit, I wasn’t able to bring my camera, so I wasn’t able to take photos 😦 After a very satisfying lunch, I told myself I would go back very soon, so I could try their other offerings & take photos of it for this blog 🙂 The following week, I went back for lunch, without any reservations, AGAIN 😀 It was a good thing I went there around 11:30, because there were only 6 vacant chairs left (6 out of 40–Imagine that!)! The waitress was kind enough to let me switch places with the one of the reserved tables, which had long, cushioned chairs.

Interior

The restaurant is relatively small, with a seating capacity of 38 to 40 pax. It would be better if the chairs & tables were all like the ones on the left. I particularly don’t like the peach, weaved chairs on the right, which leave nasty marks on your legs, if you’re wearing a skirt or a pair of shorts.

As soon as you enter the door, you will immediately see this book shelf on your right, which showcases an array of different celebrity & specialty cookbooks! From Gordon Ramsay to Mario Batali to Jamie Oliver. It is truly a treat for culinarians & foodies alike! 😉

Next to the book shelf are these shelves, which display items that are for sale 🙂 They have canned peeled tomatoes, wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bottled pasta sauces, carrot juice, sparkling water & more [I will take a look at their items next time, when that lady isn’t sitting there anymore ;p Lol!–And yes, I plan to frequent this place from now on ;)]

They also sell an interesting variety of fresh pasta, of which they make everyday 🙂

Va Bene houses Paradis Natural Ice Cream, which offers Signature, Soybet & Traditional ice cream flavors 🙂 It’s too bad I wasn’t able to try this, because my son & I already ordered 2 different desserts. I will be sure to try this the next time I come back, & order the Thai Milk Tea variant 🙂

Menu

Prices are quite expensive. They obviously cater to the upscale market, especially those who live around the area, like at Dasmariñas Village & Forbes Park.

They can also make other Italian pasta sauces, not found in the menu, such as bolognese, carbonara, arrabiata, puttanesca, etc. 🙂 The appearance of the menu could be better, instead of a laminated sheet of paper.

Food

Complimentary toasts with salsa

I liked how it was presented atop a small, wooden board 🙂 The bread was perfect! I now understand how all the bloggers who have a post about Va Bene raved so much about this complimentary antipasto. The bread was crispy on the outside, yet perfectly soft on the inside 🙂 The salsa, which I’m guessing was a melange of diced tomatoes, white onions, basil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper & olive oil, was also delizioso.


Fresh Orange Juice

Despite precautionary pieces of advice, I started giving my 5-year old fresh orange juice even before he started eating solids. So I am not surprised how he has developed a fondness for it now. Unfortunately, most of the fresh orange juices in the restaurants we have had in the past tended to be sour.  Va Bene assured us that their’s wasn’t. And they were right! This wasn’t sour at all. It was definitely fresh & you could taste the sweetness from the ripe oranges.

Salamino Pizza Al Taglio (P90/slice)

Chef Massimo, owner & Executive Chef of Va Bene Pasta Deli, was hospitable enough to approach me & explain how their pizza was different from the usual ones we have here. He said their square pizza is what you can typically find in the streets of Italy, where they are made beforehand, & then reheated for selling–thus the stale-like (makunat) texture of the bread. Nevertheless, it was interesting & unusual, in a good way 🙂 Though, I prefer the freshly-baked ones.

Organic Eggs Tagliolini with Portobello Mushrooms, White Wine Cream Sauce & Truffle Oil (P360)

The best tartufo pasta for me was that of La Nuova Pasteleria‘s, which is located at San Antonio Plaza, Forbes Park. But just a few days ago, a couple of days to be exact, it was easily overthrown by Va Bene‘s Organic Eggs Tagliolini with Portobello Mushrooms, White Wine Cream Sauce & Truffle Oil! 🙂 It was truly VA BENE! Which means very good in Italian 🙂 The tagliolini alone, which was made with organic eggs, was absolutely delicious. It was perfectly al dente, which reminded me of the somewhat similar texture to Japanese soba. This dish was enveloped with the seducing scent of truffles, beautifully married with the creaminess of its sauce made with white wine & cream, topped with slivers of portobello mushrooms. This was absolutely DIVINE. A definite best-seller & favorite of food fanatics like me 😛

Potato Gnocchi with Four Cheeses Sauce, Fresh Arugula & Wild Nuts (P310)

It was my first time to try gnocchi (pronounced as /nyoki/) & Va Bene‘s was soft & creamy. The wild nuts gave a beautiful contrasting texture to the creaminess of the Four Cheeses Sauce. However, I found the sauce a bit bland. The strips of arugula gave a freshness factor to this seemingly simple, yet comforting dish.

Panna Cotta Pudding Topped with Marinated Mangoes (P140)

Va Bene‘s panna cotta made me forget about my former favorite panna cotta from Aubergine. The sweetness & creaminess of this typical Italian dessert was perfectly well-balanced and was complimented well with the sweet & slight sourness from the marinated mangoes. Another definite addition to my top 1 favorites! 😀

Marinated Strawberries in Balsamico with Vanilla Ice Cream (P180)

This was an interesting dessert, wherein all the components surprisingly went well together. The slight sourness from the strawberries, which were bathed in balsamic syrup, was toned down & balanced out with the sweetness & creaminess of the vanilla ice cream.

Just to include the pasta I had during my first visit, I had their Ricotta Pumpkin Ravioli with sage, lemon & Italian sausage with veal reduction. It was really good. You get to appreciate the dish all the more because of the perfect tenderness of the fresh pasta. The ricotta pumpkin filling was creamy, which tasted even better with the accompaniment of the Italian sausage, thinly doused with the veal reduction sauce. You could also taste a hint of lemon, which I liked.

Service

During my first visit, I must say, the service was terrible. The waiters & waitress were not attentive enough & the food, including the bill, took forever to come. I understand though, because the place was really packed then. On my next visit, it was the complete opposite, & perhaps this was because there were only 4 customers at that time (me & my son, included). One of the waiters, I’m not sure if his name is Ehmz, took the liberty to suggest & explain to me what their Specials were, & even made a couple of recommendations with regard to the food items that are not included in their menu 🙂 He was very accommodating, & his knowledge was truly impressive! Unfortunately, one of the other male waiters was the complete opposite.

Overall, I had another happy & satisfying lunch at Va Bene 🙂 And for that, I give them 5 out 5 stars! 🙂

To ensure a table, make reservations ahead of time by calling:

Va Bene Pasta Deli
2/F, Petron Gas Station, Edsa Corner Pasay Road,
Dasmarinas Village, Makati City

Telephone: (02) 556-9442/ 904-6063
Mobile: (0917) 3456869
Email: vabenepastadeli@yahoo.com

Operating Hours:
Tuesdays-Saturdays only
11:30AM-3PM & 6-9:30PM

(Late-night dinners after 9.30 are possible with prior reservation.)

Parking is available at Petron.


Truffle Cream Tagliatelle with Black Truffle Carpaccio

This is definitely my favorite pasta dish. So simple yet so decadent!

For the recipe, kindly e-mail me at inez_bernardo@yahoo.com 🙂 Cheers!