I first heard about F-word when Manila Boy started waxing “foetic” about Peanut Butter Soup. I’m no fan of peanut butter but it was an interesting idea, plus I’m friends with a couple of peanut butter fiends so I had to find out. I was planning to check the restaurant out but you know how it is with the last quarter of the year — a heavy workload and family holidays. That’s why I was pretty psyched to receive an invite to an F-word food tasting. I could almost taste the Peanut Butter Soup already. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t on the evening’s menu but it was all right.
I got to the event a tad late; it was a weekday night and my job still comes first. I missed out on the Black Calamares and Hassle-free Gambas, but I still caught a piece of the Tamaraw Wings.
What I assume to be a rendition of the classic Buffalo Wings, the Tamaraw Wings, named such after the only endemic bovine to the Philippines, is a notch spicier than most. It’s mostly a crisp, breaded chicken wing smothered in a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Truthfully, it was a tad too spicy even for me, and I like spicy food. I could imagine this would be better with an icy cold bottle of beer and not the iced tea I was drinking that evening.
Next came some soup. First up was the Pakbet Soup. Instead of the usual stewed vegetables we all know pakbet to be, we were served with a thick, hearty vegetable soup, made chunky by morsels of the traditional pakbet ingredients. There was your usual eggplant, bitter melon and bits of crunchy pork in what I’m guessing to be a squash base? A bit of bagoong (shrimp paste) rounds out the flavor, cutting the buttery richness while adding a salty kick to the whole thing.
The soup I liked the best was the Potato Leek Arroz Caldo. Unlike the usual rice-laden Arroz Caldo, this one was smoother and much lighter, probably because of the creamy potato soup base. Crowning the soup was a couple of yummy, crunchy chicken skin chicharon pieces and some chopped leeks. Much like the original Arroz Caldo, snuggling up to a bowl of this would be perfect for a rainy day.
To complete the trio of soups, we were served the F-soup. The curious among us asked, “What is in the F-soup?” Our host, Chef Francis answered succinctly, “Soup #5.” Oh. I don’t know how much of it is an authentic soup #5 (yes, a bull’s privates) but I can safely say that the soup is very flavorful beefy soup, made refreshing by a bit of fresh cilantro. Yes, there were…uhm…meat bits which were nice, tender and quite yummy too. MOVING ON…
After the soup, we were served with a trio of pasta dishes. I chose to start with the Tuna Tinapa pasta, a full-flavored yet refreshing mix of crunchy yet meaty smoked tuna, fresh tomatoes and basil. I love the tuna tinapa; I can imagine eating loads of it with rice, but it’s still equally good with the pasta.