April draws to a close, and before you fret that summer is about to end, don't forget that another special day should be celebrated. No, it's not Labor Day. It's the special Sunday where we give honor to our beloved mothers, mum, mama, nanay -- Mother's Day.
There's still almost 2 weeks before her special day, but if you're having trouble what gift to buy, why not take the most special woman in your life and bring her to Toro Restaurant & Bar for a sumptuous 4-course degustation?
Conveniently located in one of the hippest places in the Metro -- Bonifacio Global City, Toro Restaurant & Bar offers an interesting fusion of flavors from spicy Tijuana, Mexico to subtle Okinawa, Japan. And although this Jap-Mex resto is only a year old, its cozy interiors, beautiful geisha-painted wall and ambient lighting will surely captivate you and even your mom.
After appreciating the visual treat of Toro's inviting atmosphere, it's time to enjoy the 4-Course Mother's Day Degustation which is a bountiful set menu of soup, salad, maki, and main entrée, with a glass of wine and a dessert shot compliments of the restaurant.
To start off the special Mother's Day degustation is the Sopa De Ostiones, a light and smooth comforting soup of oysters and tomatoes with beans, noodles and some greens.
Although I'm not a big fan of runny soups, I really liked how subtle and delicate this bowl tasted. Chef Ronald Malayao claimed this soup is mostly Mexican, yet I'd say he really did a great job creating a harmonious balance of the tomato and oyster's strong flavors.
After the light meal starter, the degustation kicks off with a more interesting feast for both the eyes and the palate through this beautifully-plated Cranberries and Bleu Cheese Salad. Made with organic greens, cranberry jelly, generous chunks of bleu cheese and candied walnuts, drizzled with sweet yet pungent strawberry balsamic dressing, this salad is truly a work of art -- a mix of varied textures and flavors.
For some carbs, a plate of Scallop Maki follows suit. Although not a typical maki item on other restaurants' menu, this original tempura batter-coated marinated scallop maki with melted cheese, mayo and spicy sauce is phenomenal! The crispy outside and chewy inside makes every piece interesting to munch. However, it's the spicy coating and delightfully savory scallop that made this dish very memorable.
One may find himself confused which main entrée to go for since both the Pescado in Verde -- pan-grilled kingfish drenched in a creamy savory sauce, and Ribeye Tepanyaki -- grilled beef and buttered vegetables in sweet teriyaki sauce, are equally tempting. However, I personally prefer the Pescado in Verde a little bit more since the sauce is rich, creamy and very flavorful. And yes, I'm a sucker for anything savory.
To complement the gustatory delights of the 4-course menu, Toro gives out a complimentary glass of Beringer White Zinfandel, a sweet and refreshing rose-colored wine which I very much enjoyed. They'll also serve a dessert shot on the house, like the tequila-infused butterscotch schnapps called Snicker Doodle.
All these delectable dishes are part of the sumptuous 4-course degustation which you, your mom, and even your dad can enjoy all throughout the month of May. But if you're like me who can't always pay a trip to The Fort because of geographical circumstances, then I guess it wouldn't hurt to go all out and try Toro Restaurant & Bar's best-selling dishes like this generous platter of Toro Caesar (P270).
Made up of 3 big pieces of ebi tempura, a quarter of fresh romaine lettuce, some cherry tomatoes and a zesty herbed caesar dressing, the Toro Caesar is the way to go when you want to enjoy the best of both the veggie and the seafood worlds.
Another famous star on Toro's menu is this plate of Nori-Chos (P250) -- crispy nori chips, topped with sweet-spicy glazed ahi tuna and Toro's signature yellow sauce. Although I don't have high tolerance for spicy dishes, I enjoyed the crunchy and chewy texture of this original meal starter. If only I live next door, I'd have Nori-Chos as midnight snack everyday!
Although not a total head-turner, the Ebi Ahi Guacamaki (P290) which is a roll of prawns and tuna with cream cheese and shiso guacamole, is another interesting original from Toro. I admit, I find the rice roll too thick and too sticky to pop into the mouth, but the sweet and salty blend of cream cheese and guacamole saved it for me.
Saving the best for last, we had Toro's famous and hot-selling Volcano Roll (P410) -- tempura batter-coated makimono of salmon, jalapeño and spicy mayo, stacked to a triangle and topped with more salmon and spicy sauce. Being with spicy food lovers, these savory and definitely hot treats were gone in just a few minutes!
For refreshments, our group had some cocktails. I'd love to brag how we never got tipsy even after finishing our glasses in a few gulps, but what we had were actually non-alcoholic beverages. I had a Chilled Mint Apple (P140) which is a refreshing concoction of apple, mint leaves and soda. My friends on the other hand, had Nojito (P140) -- a blend of fresh lime juice and mint leaves, and Toro Smoothie (P140) -- a mix of strawberry, yogurt and orange juice.
Toro Restaurant & Bar surprised me with an unconventional fusion of Mexican and Japanese cuisines. Although I consider myself as mostly a purist when it comes to my favorite Japanese treats, I actually enjoyed every single dish that we got to try which I think came from the harmonious balance of Mexican's flair and Japanese' simplicity. With an alert and courteous service, lovely ambiance, great-tasting food, and a 4-course Mother's Day degustation menu for the whole month of May to boot, I'm sure I'll visit Toro again soon.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Toro Restaurant & Bar, The Fort
Unit 6, G/F One McKinley Place, 26th cor. 4th Ave.,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila