We were just introduced to cacao’s other promising product aside from chocolate: cacao juice. Now another local chocolatier is exploring the uses of this liquid gold beyond desserts.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Auro Chocolates is rethinking this favorite heart’s day gift with a Japanese menu exclusive to Makati restaurant Kazunori.
Japan, of course, is no stranger to chocolate—I mean it has a range of candies that can only be found there (KitKat hello?). But incorporating this cacao product into its cuisine is not something you hear about every day. After all, most recipes tend to be traditionalist, sticking to tried and tested methods and ingredients.
Kazunori’s head-chef, Kuramochi Kazunori, worked with the multi-awarded chocolate manufacturer to create 10 dishes that perfectly blend in the bittersweet taste of chocolate to umami-rich Japanese staples. Now, it is something to create a menu with touches of chocolate, but Kazunori and Auro went even further by using a variety of blends and products from dark chocolate to cacao nibs.
It’s not just chocolate bars as you know it. Auro also used cacao butter used in making white chocolate to add sweetness to oysters with Yuzu jelly (P1,100), and to marinate abalone (P850), which is then topped with uni, caviar, salmon roe and cacao powder for a final punch.
The quintessential sando (P420) meets the crisp and lightly battered karaage glazed with cacao butter and drizzled with 100 percent unsweetened tablea for a bittersweet contrast to the savory combination.
For mains, there are the mind-boggling cacao-infused noodles that figure in two dishes: the light and creamy chicken-based Paitan ramen and the dip-and-slurp tori chashu cacao tsukemen. If you want to treat yourself a little, go for the cacao butter A4 Wagyu soba (P1,200), a duet of Auro cacao butter-based tare and Auro 100 percent cacao powder-infused sous vide A4 Wagyu. There’s also the lamb chop (P1,100) marinated in pure cacao nibs and cacao butter and crusted in cacao nibs before oak grilling.
Rice is also on the menu—with a 64 percent dark chocolate dome, nonetheless. The gyu curry don (P950) is New York beef marinated in cacao butter, cacao powder and nibs.
Ending on a sweet note doesn’t really apply here, given that all dishes are sweetened one way or another by chocolate, but just in case, Auro and Kazunori were generous enough to include two dessert options.
The banana peanut butter cacao tempura roll (P250) employs the technique of frying usually done with seafood and vegetables to add crispness to a roll of 64 percent dark chocolate in toasted dried seaweed. This is paired with banana and drizzled with semi-sweet crunchy peanut butter.
Tiramisu might sound Japanese, but it’s not. Nonetheless, it makes an appearance on this menu with white chocolate matcha tiramisu (P300), because, really, what’s a Japanese dessert without this ubiquitous green tea flavor?
Auro and Kazunori’s Valentine’s Day special menu is available for the whole month of February in its 2301 Chino Roces Avenue (Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati location. Kazunori is open from Monday till Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. To reserve a table, call 0917-8362695.
For those who are still iffy about eating out, a few dishes are available for delivery, thankfully.