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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nectar Restaurant: Wine Dining 101

Update: Nectar Restaurant has closed its doors on July 7, 2012.
Wine has been an intriguing luxurious drink for me. Most aficionados use fancy words I've never heard before. And although I would love to learn more about this famed alcoholic drink, just the terminology in wine-tasting already intimidates me. Fortunately, there are places like Nectar Restaurant in Legaspi Village, Makati which aims to break away from the norm when it comes to orienting people with wine culture.

Nectar Restaurant Interior 01 Weeping Girl Painting

Instead of basking wine neophytes with overflowing intimidation, Nectar Restaurant provides its wine diners with a casual and laid back ambiance filled with hues of browns and oranges to give off a cozy atmosphere. Beautiful paintings are also hung around its function rooms to exude a feeling of Synesthesia -- the becoming one of senses.

Panty Girl Painting Nectar Restaurant Interior 02

Aside from a nicely decorated space, what's unique in Nectar Restaurant is its owner, Mr. Robert Joseph's participation. He welcomes first-timers with a Wine Personality Test, a fun and interactive way to educate people with wine. If you're interested, my result is a Merlot -- soft, juicy and down-to-earth.

Wine Dispenser

Despite the warm ambiance and accommodation, I'm sure another issue one has with wines are the prices. Fortunately, Nectar Restaurant offers wine as close to retail prices as it is owned by the same family behind Ralph's Wines & Spirits. And if you don't want to splurge on a bottle but would like to sample some wines, Nectar has a feat uncommon to other wine dining restaurants -- a wine dispenser where you can choose to get and pay only for a tasting portion, half or a full glass.

And of course, it wouldn't be wine dining without the food. So after a quick but thorough introduction to Nectar and its feats, it was finally time to do some wine and food pairing.

Spanaconchitas P295

We first had the Spanaconchitas (P295), Greek spanakopitas infused with Spanish chorizo, and served with a sour cream dip. These triangular pocket pies were a delight to eat, especially when paired with a glass of the zesty and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.

Crispy Toro P480

We also got to sample one of Nectar's bestsellers, the Crispy Toro (P480). This beef shank dish was crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Everyone on our table nodded for approval, and we definitely enjoyed it more with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Burguittos P275

I may not be a big burger lover, but I very much enjoyed these Burguittos (P275) -- opened face mini burgers topped with juicy and succulent patty, fried quail eggs and potato allumettes. They may be small in size, but I can assure you they have big, bold flavors.

Wine Glasses La Mancha Burger P590

After the Burguittos, we got to sample its big brother, the La Mancha Burger (P590). Sandwiched between the big wheat buns are gruyere, sundried tomato paste, pickled bell peppers, minced steak burger patty and fried beef flakes, served with potato wedges. This burger is one of the meatiest I've tasted so far. I also love the crispy beef flakes as it added a nice and interesting texture to the whole ensemble.

Aglio Olio Gamberi P425

We were also served the Aglio Olio Gamberi (P425), a rich garlic oil pasta topped with 3 tiger prawns, garnished with alfalfa sprouts, and cooked using Chef Mario Mendoza's secret technique. And although I wasn't able to get a hold of one of the tiger prawns, the pasta itself had a prawn flavor. The garlic slices were also beautifully caramelized, and the alfalfa sprouts gave a nice zesty hint and a mild crunchy texture.

Pork Tenderloin ala Plancha P395

For the main course, we had the Pork Tenderloin ala Plancha (P395) -- a tender pork fillet dish drenched with plum sauce, and served with braised red cabbage and barley faux risotto. Although pork with plum sauce was quite unexpected, I definitely enjoyed its unconventional combination especially when eaten with the red cabbage shreds. I also liked the barley risotto as it was very creamy and had a very interesting texture.

Chocolate Climax P175

And to finish off on a sweet note, we were served with the Chocolate Climax (P175), rich chocolate mousse topped with dark chocolate. I just had a small bite from this cake, but it was really oozing with chocolatey goodness.

Apple Tartatin P175

We also got to sample the Apple Tartatin (P175), layered puff pastry with apple slices, topped with whip cream and rich caramel sauce. I didn't manage to get a big forkful of this dessert, but it was good.

Mango Madness P175 White and Red Wine

What I got to enjoy with two spoonfuls is this Mango Madness (P175) cake. With a texture crossing between chiffon and mousse, this mango cake was really soft and smooth, with a mild yet very enjoyable mango flavor. And although we only got to enjoy Nectar's house wines -- Claro brand Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, our impromptu wine dining 101 was definitely a success.

THE VERDICT

Being a newbie in wine dining, I really enjoyed the educational, casual and fun experience at Nectar Restaurant. The Italian Mediterranean food items we got to try were all of great quality with impressive flavors set in a relaxed and cozy space. But above the food and ambiance, the experience was elevated because of our very friendly and bubbly host, Mr. Robert Joseph who didn't only made the mood enjoyable, but who also taught us and convinced us of how great wines can be.

Taste - 4.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Nectar Restaurant, Legaspi Village
G/F Concorde Condominium, 200 Salcedo St.
Cor. Benavidez St., Legaspi Village
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 478-2941
Facebook Page

38 comments:

  1. I love nectar! I plan to bring kurt there sometime

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  2. @stacy: I want to back too! :) I'll try to bring the bf. I'm sure he'd love the food, although he's not into wine.. :D

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  3. The Crispy Toro looks so yummy but I don't eat beef. :( Maybe I'll just enjoy the chocolate climax!

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  4. oh. it's just around my workplace!

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  5. Oh food and wine!:)I have a friend who's so fond of wine and collect them. It's through her that i knew some of them.

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  6. This resto is really awesome :) Love wines ! The foods are really hmm.. :) yummy.

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  7. Very interesting place. Would love to go there sometime. :)

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  8. Very lovely restau. The whole place is elegant and the food looks really delish.

    PS: Out of Topic:
    Would you like to affiliate exchange with my foodie blog? Super Candy Let me know. xox

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  9. The spread looks great, I especially like the wine dispensing station. :)

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  10. Sumi, you make the best restaurant reviews!!! What a fabulous concept! I've never been a fan of wine because i dont know anything about it but this resto makes me want to give it a chance. I love that you can pay for sample servings only. The food also looks good. That Chocolate Climax does seem to provide a climactic end to a meal :))

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  11. @Thirdy Lopez: If you'll get a bottle, yes.. XD But if you want to try lang naman, the tasting portion cost more or less a hundred lang.. ;)

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  12. Oh..food! food! food! I can't choose any of them because they're all looking sumptuous except the sweets which boldly I'm not a fan of.

    Wow, nice to have a crash course in wine tasting..hahaha..the formal one. This place is suited for a cool and cozy wine getaway.

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  13. Interesting place Sumi. Would want to go here soon with my family. I bet my dad would love to be here. Wait, it's my mum and dad's anniv this March. Hmm... I'm thinking... ;)

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  14. Was this an Eats a Date? Wahh, I missed it.

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  15. Ikaw na Sumi :) From coffee drinking to quick merienda to perfect dinners to wine dining! Bongga! :)

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  16. another mouthwatering foods, a must try restaurant!

    It’s a GIRL Thing

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  17. I can't believe I don't know about this place. I live just a few blocks away.

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  18. I still can't get over their barley risotto. XD Maybe because I'm a risotto fan but well... haha! :))

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  19. looks pretty and delish...I don't fancy wine or any form of alcohol. But I know some "terminologies" because of my 85 year old patient who loves all kinds of cocktail drinks and wine. nice place this nectar. :)

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  20. I'm not much of a wine drinker or any other alcoholic drink for that matter. But you only get to live once right? =)

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  21. Was this for Openrice? Hindi na ko nakakaattend lately. :(

    I want to try the desserts! :)

    http://www.dekaphobe.com/

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  22. the place looks really relaxing especially with the orange couches. And the food.. Wow! yummy yummy! :)

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  23. huma-high end dining! i love the ambiance. and i need to learn to appreciate wine too, soon. =)

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  24. nice ambiance, eye-catching art works.

    the desserts look heavenly!

    sooner or later, sumi, you'll be an expert in wine pairing. ;-)

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  25. sumi, you didn't fail me.hehe! I pinned it in my pinterest account and would like to congratulate you, 12 times repinned within 5 mins.!
    you know what great photos ahh! =)

    keep blogging!

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  26. Aside from their taste, what I love about wines is how classy they sound - Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir. Nothing classy as that. I have been to a few wine libraries like Galileo Enoteca and I think the Wine Bar but none offer the test like the on you mentioned. I think it would be cool to try Nectar some time. Thanks Miss Sumi! :)

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  27. The ambiance is great. I love it! Plus the food. Hmmm...I`m tempted to look for that place and bring hubby there.

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  28. I wonder kung ano ako when it comes to wine...love the ambience!

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  29. Spanaconchitas look delicious! :) I'm not a wine aficionado, i only sip wine during new year's eve celeb or some formal parties :P

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  30. The paintings caught my attention. They are very beautiful. :) Also, I don't know a think about wine... but even if I did, a Personality Test about wine would still seem very catchy! :D How exactly is it done?

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  31. Cool. Sounds like a very lovely dining experience in a nice relaxed atmosphere. Merlot is a very fine drink.

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  32. True, wine tasting can be intimidating! I once did wine tasting in a vineyard in California (nakisabit lang sa trip).. Nahiya ako sa attire ko but most families who visited were wearing casual clothes as well. I love sweet wine :)

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  33. I love CLIMAX!!!!!! taste so good ! i swear to that!

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  34. Hi ALL!, Check www.OpenRice.com ! they have this cool activity called Eat's a Date event were you can join and try out new restaurants for free! all you have to do is register an account and share your food reviews! Me i've been to their Eat's a Date event twice! and it's really a nice to meet great people while eating good tasting food!

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  35. Lots of food. I wonder how much will it cost if you pay for all of those food. Laglag siguro ako sa bangko sa presyo nyan. Hehe.

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