Dec 26, 2019

In April, we trekked to Poblacion, Makati to a then-newcomer Filipino restaurant called Esqinita, chef Rob Pengson’s comeback. As we ate our way through its colorful and karinderya-inspired menu, Pengson also shared his plans to take up the entire space: a Japanese concept, a dessert bar, and a fine dining restaurant called Beso Beso.

Esqinita has since closed and the space once an empire to Pengson now vacant. But that’s not the last of him. It turns out Beso Beso just needed more space and a new neighborhood to wow.

Now on the other side of town along Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Beso Beso flourishes and even becomes better, and with an acclaimed chef on board to boot.

Alongside Pengson is chef Kim Valones whose culinary portfolio includes stints at El Celler de Can Roca and Gaggan. As Beso Beso opened its doors at its new address last Dec. 10, it proved to be one of the most promising concepts there is in the metro right now—earning recognition from Inquirer food writer Angelo Comsti who hailed it as one of the six restaurants that pushed Filipino cuisine forward this year alongside Poblacion favorite Lampara, chef Tatung Sarthou’s Talisay Garden Café, and fellow Chino Roces Ave. Extension newcomer—and our Southern Living Wrap Up Issue cover restaurant—Metiz.

It’s not hard to imagine why despite a tumultuous start, Beso Beso is still on everyone’s to-watch-out lists. Apart from the star chef billing, it also boasts of intentive takes on Filipino fare featured on their express menu (starts at P1,500) and a tasting menu (P3,500).

Take their trio of Visayan seafood favorites plated into one called the Sutokil or sinugba, tola or ginger soup, and kilaw. Served on top of round pebble rocks lined with seaweed, the dish has oyster kinilawsinugbang tahong or mussels, and clam in ginger soup.

A standout is a starter deceivingly simple to look at and humbly-inspired by the Filipino street snack “dirty” ice cream but savory. The small cones of coconut crisp peppered with chia seeds are filled with cured foie gras “tocino” mousse tempered with the sweetness of Baguio strawberries and topped with shaved pili nuts for added crunch.

The duo of Pengson and Valones also serves up a version of relleno that’s a crab stuffed with taba ng talangka, crab meat, corn, salted egg, and seaweed.

Describing their approach to Filipino cuisine, Pengson says, “[Through Beso Beso they] aim to upgrade the world”s opinion on Filipino food. if we can’t do it, then we’re not doing our jobs right.”

Beso Beso is open every Tuesday to Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. For reservations, call 0917-1792562.


Header photo courtesy of chef Rob Pengson and Beso Beso Instagram page

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TAGS: beso beso dirty ice cream filipino restaurant filipino-european kim valones rellenong talangka rob pengson