Once upon a time, if a Southener (people who live in Parañaque-Las Piñas-Muntinlupa triangle of traffic) wanted to eat out, they would head up to Makati to hit up some good, albeit expensive, grub. Oh, how times have changed! Restaurants, good ones – places that serve food I’d be willing to pay a pretty penny for – have somehow been sprouting up and around BF Homes in Parañaque little by little these past few years, and have now become a staple along Aguirre street. Satisfy your appetite with comfort dishes at Bamba, taste real Greek souvlaki at Ble, or experiment with Brooklyn-ish type cuisine at The Girl + The Bull.
In another subdivision in Parañaque, in Better Living Subdivision, is yet another must-be-discovered restaurant called Orange Whisk Restaurant and Patisserie. Run by two young and very talented chefs, Isaiah Ortega, who takes care of most of the cooking in the kitchen, and his fiancée Chef Korinne Lirio, who comes up with the most marvelous kinds of breads and pastries. The place can be a tad difficult to find if you’re not from the area, but in cases like this, I find Waze is my best friend.
I was sitting down to lunch with a few friends, and while waiting for the rest of them to arrive, I ended up picking apart more than a few Chewy Buns. True to their name, each bun was crusty at the top while being soft and pliable in the middle – this is perfect with a cup of coffee!
After everyone arrived and were comfortably seated, we were treated to a few of Chef Seya’s dishes served family-style. His cooking looks simple and straightforward, but by using the freshest ingredients he can get his hands on and giving each step of the cooking process his care and attention, each plate of food comes out superbly flavorful, something I realized is amiss in most restaurants.
We were promised a hearty lunch, and we got exactly that. First up was Orange Whisk’s Smoked Squid Tentacles in Brown Butter Garlic Sauce with Leeks and Tomatoes. The brown butter garlic sauce flavored the squid perfectly with the sweet butter-based sauce enhancing the tenderness of the squid, the forest mushrooms absorbing the delicious liquid. For ricevores, you would probably want an extra serving to go with this. In my case, I’ve been having livid dreams on tossing this in with al dente pene pasta.
Admittedly, tongue isn’t my favorite part of a cow, and I approached the Lengua Steak with Blue Cheese Mushroom Cream Sauce with apprehension. But the way Chef Seya prepared it, you wouldn’t think what you were eating was tripe at all. The dish was meaty, with none of the rug-like textures one would usually associate with tripe. The little bits of garlic incorporated into the dish added an extra flavor profile to the dish, and married well with the meat, the mushrooms, and the mashed potato underneath.
I couldn’t figure out what the crisp brown bits on top of the lapu-lapu was initially, but apparently the Steamed Red Grouper with Crispy Mashed Soybean is a common dish among the Chinese.
Now, I have never really fancied Haianese Chicken, as I find it pretty bland and the yellow-hued, dimply chicken skin just really unappealing (I will have the roasted kind, though!), but Chef Seya’s take on the Singaporean staple, Sous Vide Ginger Chicken with Dark Caramel Kaffir Lime Sauce, was just marvelous! Chef Seya used the flavorful chicken thigh, which was served with little knobs of forest mushrooms that also absorbed all that flavorful sauce.
One of my favorite dishes that afternoon was the big plate of Green Thai Curry Tiger Prawns. Chef Seya had spied them at the market that morning and just had to buy them, and the mildly spicy chili was just amazing. I also love how this was presented, with dainty edible yellow flowers strewn on top, adding a nice pop of color amongst the orange and green. I found myself reaching for some more rice to help sop up the spicy sauce I was piling onto my plate.
Everybody started fighting for the beautiful chunks of Wagyu Saikoro Steak with Blue Ginger Sauce. The juicy cubes of Kitayama wagyu beef was cooked perfectly – it was both meaty yet fatty at the same time, and practically started melting once it hit my tongue.
Like that wasn’t enough, Chef Seya also brought out big plates of Lechon Kawali for us to nosh on, which you could very well enjoy on your own or with that rice with green curry sauce. I went with the later, making sure to get a few of the sliced aubergines that were thrown in with the crispy, crackly pork bits just so I could tell myself what I was eating was semi-healthy.
For dessert, it was Chef Korinne’s time to shine, and she prepared bite-sized pieces of some of her popular desserts, including a Kaffir Panna Cotta with Mango and Sago, Caramel Mousse with Crushed Kitkat, Chocolate Orange Truffle Cake, Apple Cranberry Cheesecake Tart, and Spiced Chai Kashi Maki, compliments of Chef Anna Chua of My Pink Wasabi. My favorite was the moist, citrus-y truffle cake that I imagine I would be coming back for in the near future.
I was pretty pleased with chefs Seya and Korinne at the end of it all – it was a spectacular spread and both chefs flexed their cheffy muscles to show off what they could do when left to their own devices in the kitchen. I find Orange Whisk to be a breath of fresh air in the South – they serve really, really, really good food, I wouldn’t mind schlepping there for a bite to eat and maybe take home a box of chewy buns or a cake or two.
Orange Whisk Restaurant & Patisserie is located at 35B Michael Rua St., Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque. For inquiries or big orders, please call +63 2 501 6454.