When dining with a big group, it’s essential that the restaurant you’re going to offers food that’s easy to share. It’s also crucial that the place has an atmosphere that makes it easy to socialize. Since late 2015, Sobremesa has earned a reputation for being one of those places. A South American and Filipino fusion restaurant, Sobremesa offers well-portioned, boldly flavored meals in a homey, inviting location.
Sobremesa lets you dine in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere. Most of the space is filled with long tables and heavy, cushioned chairs to encourage long hours of eating and enjoying the company of family and friends. In Spanish, Sobremesa means to share stories after eating, so it’s perfectly reasonable to have a setting that encourages this.
To get your appetite going, you can choose from any of the starters. We highly recommend the Quezo Fundido (P320), a melted cheddar cheese dip that’s topped with tomatoes, red onions, and parsley. The charred center is the best part, so make sure you get a taste of it.
Other starters include the Shrimp Ceviche and the Selection of Cured Meats (Chorizo de Pamplona, Salchichon, Vela de Lomo, and Chorizo de Bilbao). According to Chef Benjo Tuason, he sought the help of his supplier in choosing which types of meat to include for the platter, making sure to have a balance of salty, sweet, and spicy selections.
The highlight of Sobremesa’s menu is its Australian Rib-Eye Steak. If you order this ala carte (400-500 grams), you can choose to have it in three ways: coffee crusted, herbed, or with a salt and pepper rub.
When conceptualizing the dish, Chef Benjo mentioned he was curious about the way others would use coffee to enhance the taste of meat. So one day, as he was making tapa, he decided to get creative and added Barako coffee. It turned out badly, but he kept experimenting until he got the right formula. Eventually, he settled on using Rib Eye, because the fatty cut of meat is the best vehicle for the coffee crust.
If you choose to have an unlimited serving of the steak, it’ll come in the traditional salt and pepper style. That’s no problem because remember what they say: good steak needs nothing more. Note that this promo is only available while supplies last.
For those who are looking for something a bit more low-key, there’s the Peruvian Spiced Roasted Chicken. According to the chef, the crew spends three days brining and marinating the chicken to ensure that it’s tender and full of flavor. It comes with three sauces: garlic yogurt, jalapeno and coriander, and chimichurri. Each has its distinct charm, though the jalapeno and coriander sauce was the favorite of the day.
Sobremesa’s Bulalo Estofado is an homage to Chef Benjo’s mother, who inspired this version. The chef gave it his own spin by using bulalo and adding orange, ginger, sherry butter, and camote fries.
The braised meat was impeccably cooked and seasoned, making the Estofado an instant hit. Nevertheless, we wished that the mildly sweet sauce had been thicker so it would be great to spoon over rice.
To make sure that everything stays in line with his vision of serving the best that Latin American cuisine has to offer, Chef Benjo constantly updates his menu. One of the newcomers is the Cuban Pork Chops. This dish includes two thick slices of pork chops with caramelized onions and garlic mashed potato.
Even from just a single whiff of the pork chop (which smells strongly of cumin), you can tell how strong this dish is going to be. Aggressively seasoned meat is one of the most distinct characteristics of Latin American cuisine, and this dish embodied it well. While some of my companions found the meat a tad tough, I found it easy to cut and chew, presumably because I got the fattiest portions of the meat.
Sobremesa’s name has a different definition in Portuguese: dessert. And with that, you should have high expectations for whatever you choose to end your meal with. For this, we recommend the Mango Coconut and Almond Cheesecake. Chef Benjo shares that he likes to bake the cheesecake at a low temperature to keep the texture light and creamy, and this is evident in every bite. The mango adds a nice tang to the sweet ensemble, while the caramel sauce adds an even sweeter finish.
New to the dessert menu is the uncanny marriage of Leche Flan and Macaroon: the Lecheroon. While this was less exciting compared to the previous dessert, the creamy yet gritty confection was also satisfying.
It’s almost surprising how much we enjoyed Sobremesa. Despite dining with a large group, we all left full and completely satisfied. Portions were great for sharing, making this an ideal place if you’re looking for a place where you can have a feast with your family, friends, or colleagues. We can only expect that Sobremesa will become better as it gets older and continues to innovate.
Sobremesa is located at Sapphire Block, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Full disclosure: All dishes pictured and mentioned here were served during a private media event.