It's Food In All Shapes and Courses at OTKB (Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar) in Bonifacio High Street


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Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar in Taguig (or simply, OTKB) has long been making waves and raves ever since it opened last 2013. As another brainchild of Chef Rob Pengson, who is mostly known as one of the hottest looking chefs in the Philippines, he captures our palate once again thanks to his love for italian dishes and antipasti.
  
Thanks to my workshift which ended at 5:30PM, I was able to sneak away from the rush hour traffic and arrived at Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar earlier than expected.

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Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar's high ceilings remain to my memory, with interiors that defines a mix of both contemporary and rustic tastes, with accents such as impressive paintings and mirrors.  

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I was surprised to see a VIP area at OTKB, which is located (but not entirely beside) the restaurant's washrooms.

It was great because Chef Rob, as busy as he is, had just got out of their secret passage to their office upstairs. After a few minutes, he was able to have quick chat with us about OTKB, and explained it's difference from his other success that is The Goose Station. I may not remember exactly his words, but the dishes served at OTKB came from different inspirations and was collated into two categories: the usual ala carte menu and the tasting menu, which I ought to define in two words: Crazed Degustation.

It was obvious that his love for italian food and antipasti, along with his sheer creativity and with the help of his very talented chefs, friends who also came to be business partners, came to be a perfect formula on why the concept of Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar came out to be a hit.

Too bad he wasn't able to sit with us all throughout our long (and I mean long) dinner that night, and it was the same thing for these crunchies which was served to us while waiting for the other guests. Yup, these seasoned crunchies were all gone within minutes.

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Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar also serves cocktails or different sorts. Chef Rob's friend-turned-mixologist was manning the bar, and apart from the different cocktail choices being offered to us, I decided to get the Ginger Lychee Mojito instead. 

Unusual, because it's not rhum based. It's a perfect mix of vodka, lychees, ginger, syrup and lime. It's refreshing alright, fruity obviously, but I know how cocktails would hit you quite hard when you least expect it, so I didn't want to drink it all the way through to prevent myself from getting flushed before actually eating.

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Ginger Lychee Mojito
This Manila Mule was ordered by Ray (of Lynne En Route), and was fascinated by his cocktail of choice, because it actually looked girly to me. On the other hand, I was impressed by his knowledge with cocktail mixing, liquor and high tolerance with all these kinds of alcolohic drinks. I didn't taste the Manila Mule, but it has vodka with calamansi with hints of mango and ginger. Very local, indeed.

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Manila Mule

Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar also serves Iced Tea, which is made extra special since it's house blend.

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House Blend Iced Tea

Meanwhile, Sumi (of The Purple Doll) was a seatmate of mine during that night, tried the Amaretto Sour, an interesting mix of Amaretto, fresh lemon and simple syrup, served with cherry and orange. For me, this one is obviously harder to drink, because it wasn't too long before Sumi got her face flushed. I honestly wanted to order this one at first, but I thought I'd just drink this when I'm not expected to work the next morning.

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Amaretto Sour
Chef Rob calls the Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar as a 'freestyle antipasti bar' which is driven with passion, and yet they don't really take things too seriously, meaning the chefs may be given the opportunity to experiment, thus giving way for very impressive dishes, which I must say, may be mistaken as works of art.   

Aside from their usual tasting menu (which is currently uploaded here on my Facebook Page), we were lucky to try their ala carte items as well. Our long yet fantastic five-course meal at Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar included the following:


1st course 
Tasting menu:
Foie Gras Popsicle | Caponata Macaron | Eel and Apple Gallete

Ala Carte menu:
Pumpkin and Bacon Bruschetta

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Caponata Macaron
My ultimate favorite of all the appetizers being served at Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar. The Capanota Macaron is deceivingly good, even though it does look like your usual dinner ending. The macaron shells are flavored with himalayan pink salt and black olives, and the filling is a black olive and ricotta capanota with balsamic modena and a surprise almost like raspberry jam looking center but actually made with beetroot fluid gel.

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Eel and Apple Gallete
The second of three appetizers on our first plate is the Eel and Apple Galette. It's apple wood smoked Eel done Kabayaki style, served with a crispy salty-sweet galette made with red delicious apple, aged parmesan and potatoes. The trick is to savor this with a few bites, trying to smother each piece with horseradish and granny smith bavarian cream, which marries very well with the smoked eel and galette.

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Foie Gras Popsicle
Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar has taken its explorations to a different level, as they feature this Foie Gras Popsicle which is inspired by the famous Chef Massimo Bottura. The usual foie gras gets a special treatment with black beer, port, and coated with amaretto almonds. It's sandwiched between a compressed pineapple chutney on top and marsala glace at the bottom. I am pretty sure that this was one of the most complicated tastes I have ever encountered, as simple ingredients were difficultly prepared with different techniques and gave each one a new personality. Smooth, crunchy, and exquisitely executed, as my senses got excited that it wanted to discover more on what OTKB had in store for us that night.


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Pumpkin and Bacon Bruschetta
A generous serving of Pumpkin and Bacon Bruschetta was also served as part of the appetizers, composed of Hickory smoked yellow pumpkin puree, lardo (or cured pork fat), panchetta and bacon marmalade on bruschetta and served with a bit of pommery mustard dressing and greens. 

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Pumpkin and Bacon Bruschetta
It's amazing how simple pumpkin and bacon would be on a piece of bread, but this one is played very well. Add the panchetta and it makes for a great flavor combination. 

2nd course
Tasting Menu: 
Coffee Cured Salmon | Textures of Carrots | Ikura | 

Ala Carte Menu:
Chopped Salad

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Coffee Cured Salmon | Textures of Carrots | Ikura
It's salmon cured with italian coffee beans and orange rind, served with a medley of carrots in different forms: as a flan, pickled carrots in white balsamic, roasted with coffee beans and caramelized and dried to a black dust. An orange pickled mustard dressing, Ikura and greens finishes the dish. For me, the salmon was very good and the ikura added that sea salty punch, plus to eat carrots in all forms was also an eye opener. This is quite a showstopper.

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Chopped Salad
OTKB's Chopped Salad is made with mixed greens, red cabbage, young corn, in-house calabrian salumi, candied walnuts, olives, cherry tomatoes, provolone dolce and dressed in an oregano-peperoncini vinaigrette. It's inspiration was taken from Nancy Silverton of Mozza. This is served family style, and the textures from all the elements on this salad is very light yet satisfying. 


3rd course
Tasting Menu:
Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza 
Honey, Truffle and Egg Pizza

Ala Carte Menu:
Sopranos Sunday Gravy

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Honey, Truffle and Egg Pizza
The first time I have had a pizza with an egg on the center was at this pizza place in Katipunan, but this Honey, Truffle and Egg Pizza is breakfast pizza on a holiday! It's glazed with Apple Cider and Honey Glaze, with Aged Parmesan Cheese and Bacon Fat Crema, fried rosemary, micro mustard and light truffle oil. A brick oven baked egg at the center is warm as the yolk oozes to the rest of the dough. I got the part with the yolk, and I didn't regret it. It was a delightful take on my usual pizza fare, that's for sure.

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Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza
Much like the Honey, Truffle and Egg Pizza, Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar's Apple and Gorgonzola Pizza tasted wonderful as well. Sweeter to my tastebuds though, and I blame it on the apple sauce base and a few other sweet ingredients. It's OTKB's take on their love for cheese platters, as this pizza is topped with gorgonzola dolce, marsala braised cabbage and onions, candied walnuts, steeped dates and a wild arugula and balsamic reduction. Yep, this is one of those bizarre food combos I've ever had.

Another fun fact is that their pizzas are made with a special 'retarded' pizza dough wherein a starter dough is added. Know one knows how each dough would react differently, so each batch of pizza would have a different flavor and texture that can only be discovered once it's eaten.

And then I began to ask myself, "how in the world would you think that all those ingredients, when combined, tasted sooo good?"

And then I heard someone say that we're five dishes away and before our dinner would be over...

4th course
Tasting Menu:
Pork Trotter | Chicken and Porcini Mousse | Garden Pickles

Ala Carte Menu:
Hanging Tender Bistecca
Sunday Roast
Roasted Chicken Diavolo

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Sopranos Sunday Gravy
The Sopranos Sunday Gravy is a pasta surprise made with weird and crazy, but on the contrary, it's considered to be a crowd favorite. Even the chef has his eyes for this!

The huge meatballs made with angus beef may look dominant in this dish, but the pasta is combined with a hearty , I-thought-it's-tomato-based sauce made with braised ox tail, bone marrow, liver pate, sweetbreads and fennel sausage ragu, and topped with pecorino romano shavings and tangy gremolata. It's perfect for any day other than Sunday. 

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Sunday Roast
Our fourth course was becoming quite a challenge for me, because if you may just notice, I've had a lot of food in my stomach at this point. This Sunday Roast, however, made an exemption. This one is made extra special as the chicken is marinated in brine for 24 hours before it gets cooked. The Sunday Roast is served with a generous serving of fried mountain rice of black brown and white grains, toasted almonds and dates, and bread and butter jus. Just like my mama used to make, but better in some ways (sorry mama!)

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Roasted Chicken Diavolo
The same brine-marinating process goes with OTKB's Roasted Chicken Diavolo, which is really spicy according to my fellow blogger companions, but for me it was just as spicy and not too hot. This 'hot chick' is coated in spicy peperonchini coating, roasted and served with mashed potato, and cabbage slaw with sesame dressing. It's obvious that both chicken dishes are not dry at all. Not overcooked even. Very yummy!

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Hanging Tender Bistecca
OTKB's Hanging Tender Bistecca gets a far better texture and flavor since they are sous vide (sealed tightly and placed in liquid bath). Sliced into medium rare pieces, it's a succulent dish that's served with potato puree, Mole (mexican chili sauce) and bone marrow jus.

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Pork Trotter | Chicken and Porcini Mousse | Garden Pickles


Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar is definitely an restaurant that's beyond what you know, and personally, the most impressive of all the dishes being served is these slow braised pork trotters, taken off their bones, filled with a porcini mushroom and chicken mousse, and braised AGAIN in pork hock jus.

It's magically plated with calabrian cauliflower puree, chicken skin hash and different greens with an apple cider vinegar dressing, and served with a sauce gastrique made from marsala and olives. Textures of pork soft pork skin with that light mousse and that medley of ingredients is very delicious and we are all so full by now. 

5th course
Tasting Menu:
Chocolate Terrain

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Chocolate Terrain
Our dessert was an overkill of chocolate in all forms and textures. A deconstucted chocolate dessert is really all we need to end our meal, and Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar was able to execute it flawlessly.

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Chocolate Terrain
This terrain is not hard to climb as it is to eat.

As fine as each texture is made, this dessert is composed of chocolate rock and soil, gateau, cake pop, brownie, mousse, shards and white chocolate shavings, plated beautifully on a black plate. For me, this is how chocolate should look like up in the heavens. My favorite among the textures? Everything? But there's a special part of my heart going to the brownie pieces on this terrain.

Uneven, unpredictable, and uncertain may be the things I would feel when dining at OTKB, but when you know that you're being fed by the most creative of chefs, nothing is impossible at this place.

OTKB's menu changes from time to time, and currently they have a lot of promos in store for different occasions. They're also open for private functions. 

But just to make sure, you can check out their contact details below:

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*Disclaimer: The following post is written from the author's own thoughts and views on Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar (except from the dish components since it was very hard to dissect the dish ingredients with one look).
*Shout out of thanks also to Richie Zamora of The Pickiest Eater and Rina Zamora of Rina's Rainbow :) 


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2 responses

  1. The dishes look heavenly. Would love to visit that place someday.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, heavenly is the right word for all the dishes at OTKB...
      Visit soon! :))

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