I’ve known the restaurant owners, Sandee and Andrew Masigan, for ages. Classic entrepreneurs and a fantastic husband-and-wife team, they are perpetually starting new and interesting businesses based on things they love. Well, one of their passions is food and this new Japanese-Philippine venture is truly a welcome addition to the neighborhood dining scene in this side of Makati.
REAL RAMEN AT RAKU
I still have to try Raku, their Japanese restaurant – and when I do, you’ll certainly read about it here – but I hear that their ramen is winning rave reviews. They did extensive research in Japan and the Philippines to try and get a very delicious and original ramen flavor. I did peek into it on my way to dinner at X/O, which is just next-door, and noticed that the small place was practically filled with Japanese! That’s a stamp of approval, if I ever saw one. So I hope to go and eat there when I return from Europe at the end of the month.
OLD-FASHIONED FEEL AT X/O
Now back to X/O46. From the moment I set foot here, however, I was completely charmed by its interiors which are a combination of old-fashioned accents like carved banisters and banquettes, and modern pieces like giant chairs and stylish lamps. It’s all done in browns and woods, giving it a warm and comfortable feeling.
For a small place, it’s got a pretty extensive menu, however. Lots of it are traditional goodies, but there are also many items on the menu that you might call “traditional with a twist.” It’s not nouvelle cuisine, though, but rather a creative take on dishes that everyone knows.
KARE-KARE WITH A TWIST
You shouldn’t miss their tapas, if you go, as they have quite an array. Some people even go just for the tapas alone and end up ordering the entire production for dinner instead. Interestingly, these tapas aren’t served with rice at X/O but with puto! Sandee’s puto is legendary among her friends, and it’s a really interesting combination with tapas and aligue butter that works. It’s the kind of thing you just can’t stop eating.
JUST LIKE LOLA'S
The other day, too, I stopped by for breakfast. X/O 46 actually isn't open for breakfast (yet) but Sandee had invited so I dropped by on my way to work on Monday. Gosh, we had a complete feast of Spanish and Filipino breakfast specialties that I think I ate enough for three people -- and I still had a Thai lunch, a Spanish merienda and a Peking duck dinner that day. Breakfast that day began with their specialty puto, and then we had incredibly garlicky longganisa and equally garlicky fried rice, a rich goto and a beautiful Spanish omelette. I'm not even an omelette person, but I jsut couldn't stop eating this omelette, which was oozing with vegetables, bacon and ham; and wonderfully creamy inside. Then -- as if that wasn't enough -- we ended with a really decadent chocolate cake that Sandee had sourced all the way from Pampanga.
This was certainly a wonderful way to start a really wonderful week.
X/0 46. Unit 101, Le Grand Condominium, 130 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati. Tel (02) 553-6632.
TAPAS TO START