Let’s just get right into it. I don’t have an interior shot to serve as an introductory photo for this review. Yup, I’ve taken note of this in the future.
Note: If ever you find yourself eating in a fancy place again, please give it your best shot and just take goddamn photos — like you’re someone who doesn’t get to try luxurious stuff often and need to document everything because, well, the ‘gram. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself.
Are you wondering what that is? Or are you a Top Chef fiend like me and know that these little olive green balls are called “spherical olives (45php/each)” This is actually the reason why I’ve been dying to eat at Rambla for a long time now. I wanted to try these deconstructed olives for myself. I wanted to know why people who eat this on TV roll their eyes in orgasmic delight like they’ve just tasted manna.
Spherical olives are pureed olives which are then shaped to look like normal olives. Why all the fuss huh? Why not just serve plain olives? Because where’s the fun in that? Molecular gastronomy is magic.
I was the only one who tried this appetizer and my friends were waiting in anticipation (with grimace on their faces), curious to know if it’s any good.
The moment I popped this baby in my mouth, it oozed with saltiness, oiliness, tanginess —everything you’d imagine eating a whole lotta olives in your mouth.
Such a lousy photo of one of my favorite appetizers – Bravas Potatoes with Alioli and Spicy Sauce (275php). It’s a Spanish version of warm french fries dipped in garlicky, spicy mayo sauce. This one I can’t stop eating. (Because surprise, it’s familiar to my palate. Haha.)
We actually ate this Rambla Salad (375php) (greens, green apples, cherry tomatoes, radish and onions) after we ate all the other food that follows. This was our dessert because at the end of the meal everything in me just tasted heavy oil and salt and butter.
Pulpo a feira, Rambla-style with ajillo (495php). That’s basically spicy octopus for you – lathered in garlic and olive oil sauce.
Here’s the thing, my friends and I are from the south, Surigao del Sur to be specific, and we grew up eating octopus usually grilled or boiled.
I never thought I’d agree with the words – “Some things need a chew.” I wanted real chew on my octopus. Rambla’s version, even though the sauce was tasty af, was too soft for our liking. It was almost mushy.
Honestly, we automatically had a short discussion about it, like “hala humukay kaayo. lami ra tong gahi pa ba murag kuwabutan.” (It’s too soft. It’s more delicious with a chew like the big squid meat we used to have back home.) You get the picture. It was a conundrum to eat something familiar cooked in an unfamiliar, almost offputting fashion.
Now let’s get to the paellas.
I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t a fan of either. Something in these dishes just felt tortured, especially the one with truffle alioli. Or maybe it’s because I dislike the taste of too much butter, oil, and grease. Or maybe because I don’t really like paella to begin with.
The squid paella tasted slightly better than the other. If you love squid ink and little chunks of squid all over soft, buttery, seafood-infused rice, this one’s for you.
Yup, I googled what exactly pepitoria sauce is.
Apparently, “pepitas” in Spanish mean squash seeds. So pepitoria comes from the roasting and grinding of pepitas.
My photo doesn’t do justice to how pretty this plate looks. However, there’s nothing mindblowing about this dish. It’s chicken — with zucchini pasta and almonds and squash sauce. If you want something safe to order, that’s guaranteed delicious and comforting, I think this is it.
And finally, dessert.
Just kidding. Can you guess what that is? I dare you!
Square brownies? Close.
Everyone, meet Cochinillo (895php). Also known as suckling pig with a side of celery and red onion.
Suckling pig, you guys! Lechon. But was it really? We ordered the tapas version of this dish rather than the half kilo version that would surely leave us penniless and out on the streets if we dared order it.
Just like the octopus, this was too polished for our taste.
I see the pattern here. I have certain expectations of the food that I deem familiar, and whenever it tastes a little different than that I pout and unfortunately judge that it wasn’t appealing etc.
I don’t want to be unfair and, yeah, food is obviously very subjective.
This lechon, or something close to it, was honestly disappointing. I mean the crispy skin and the hunka meat of oily lean pork and fat just weren’t there. In its place was a timid crispy skin version with an organized chunk of pork meat that’s too prissy for its own good.
I don’t want to be mean, but these aren’t reasonably-priced dishes. It’s 800+ pesos and, sadly, did not meet my lowly, Lidia’s lechon expectation. (At least give us the crispy, high-blood-inducing pork skin.)
As I’ve said at the beginning of this review, I missed taking a photo of the interiors, and that’s a shame because Rambla’s ambiance is quite pretty. Yellow lights bask the dining area, filled with wooden tables, leather chairs, and clean, crisp glasses and cutlery.
Would I come back to this place?
Yes, if my goal was to simply have a glass of wine and a couple of tapas to accompany my drink.
No, if I’m talking about a full meal, unless I’m celebrating something with family or I simply want to feel fancier than usual.
Or someone else is buying dinner.
We skipped desserts at Rambla and opted to binge on cakes at Wildflour. CAKES!!!
This strawberry cake is my favorite. Not too sweet and kinda refreshing. It won’t kill your taste buds with overpowering sweetness like some cakes I know. Yes, I’m looking at you carrot cake. I love carrot cake but I’ve had better, not-too-sweet ones, unlike this.