It came as a surprise to many when chef Chele Gonzalez and his partners at Gallery Vask announced its temporary closure late last year to make way for a new concept in Philippine contemporary dining.
The move came after spending two consecutive years (2016 and 2017) on the prestigious Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
For those who have come to know the curious Spanish-born chef and his innovative ways, however, the transformation makes perfect sense. After all, Gonzalez is a master of culinary invention and reinvention.
Chefs and co-owners Chele Gonzalez and Carlos Villaflor
Tomorrow, Gallery by Chele debuts to the public in a newly renovated space designed by architect and partner Carlo Calma. Warmer than its predecessor, and most definitely more elemental in his approach, a "barn house in the city" is how Calma best describes the space. Wood is evidently the material of choice in the new bar, lounge, and dining room, and has been used to soften almost every aspect of the design including the ceiling, table tops, bar, and even the windows. Also taking center stage are the collection and bespoke pieces by exceptional Filipino designer, Kenneth Cobonpue, resulting in an atmosphere that is both stylish and relaxed.
The dining area and bar
The dining area at Gallery by Chele
The ambiance is not the only thing that has changed at the new restaurant, of course. While still keeping to its mantra of "modern cuisine, local ingredients," a new menu makes its entrance. Taking the Gallery's cross-cultural philosophy to the next level in its evolution, Gonzalez is joined by Filipino chef Carlos Villaflor in the kitchen. Colleagues, partners, and friends, together they continue their investigation of Filipino ingredients, technique, and cuisine.
Filled with a contemporary mix of bites, small plates, and big plates, diners may experience all that Gallery by Chele has to offer in a choice of three, five, and eight-course degustation menus. They may also alternatively order à la carte.
Black Blinis, a bites dish made with tuna roe, sour cream, and blood rice cake; Empanaditas stuffed with fish, green chili, and topped with an emulsion
Dual Citizen, a seafood dish of squid cooked two ways
Tiger's Milk, a dish made with oyster, ceviche, and kamias
Beef Curry with sweet potatoes and spices; Pearls and Clams, a main course consisting ofÂriver prawn, moringa, tapioca, and seaweed
Gonzalez puts his own spin on arroz caldo with Adlai Caldo, made with adlai, lobster, and spices
Before, during, or after a meal, guests may choose to enjoy one of the cocktails by renowned mixologist Kalel Demetrio of Liquid Maestro, who is the first mixologist in what is to become a series of cocktail collaborations that will highlight Filipino flavors and ingredients.
Cacao Negroni and Guava Mojito
Similarly new and adjacent to the restaurant is STVDIO LAB, a space where chefs Gonzalez, Villaflor, and their team, will continue their research and development of new dishes. A full kitchen laboratory, complete with a fermenting room and outdoor urban farm, the lab will also work with local and international institutions to experiment in the culinary field as well as in agriculture and mixology.
The STVDIO Lab
Fifth Floor, Clipp Center 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, +63.917.546.1673/
+126.96.36.19995 or email email@example.com.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.