Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Clockwise from top left: lamb ribs, arugula salad with chicharon croutons, chanterelle paella,  sisig.

Before I start posting on the restaurants I’ve been to recently in Bali, I need to write about one of my favorite restaurants in Manila – El Cirkulo.  On my last trip back home in July, I had lunch there, took photos, then forgot about those photos until I found them recently buried in my Picasa album so here is that much delayed post.

Opened in 1995, El Cirkulo was the first modern Spanish-Filipino restaurant in town.  When I  moved back home to Manila in 1997, I used to eat there all the time and it became a regular hang-out with friends.  Owners Malu and her brother, Chef Jay Gamboa were always present to greet guests and make sure that everyone had a good time.  On the rare occasions I am back home, even if it’s only for a few days, I always make it a point to have a meal at El Cirkulo and satisfy my craving for Filipino and Spanish cuisine in one go. 
I met Joey and TC for lunch and we managed to keep our order down to just three dishes from their extensive menu although Malu sent out a salad for us to try as well.  We started with the salad – spinach leaves with diced tomatoes in a sherry vinaigrette topped with chicharon (fried pork cracklings) instead of the usual croutons – healthy with a twist.

Next came, three main courses for us to share.  From the tapas selections, we had the lamb short ribs – slow roasted lamb ribs seasoned with just garlic, salt and pepper which were crispy and tender at the same time and complemented with just a squirt of lemon juice, and the cabeza de cerdo (sisig) which is chopped suckling pig cheeks, fried to a crisp and cooked with chilies – a spicy Filipino delicacy.  We also shared a modern paella special (there are four on the regular menu) – made with asparagus and chanterelle mushrooms.  The food was superb as usual and it was perfect for sharing with friends while catching up on each other’s lives.  We were unfortunately too stuffed to order dessert so until my next trip home and another great meal at El Cirkulo.
El Cirkulo
Ground floor Milky Way Building
900 Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road)
corner Paseo de Roxas,
Makati City 1200, Philippines
Telephone: +63 810-8735 or 810-2763

2 thoughts on “EL CIRKULO

  1. Just writing that post made me crave for their sisig.


  2. ChichaJo says:

    They've always turned out such great food…an old favorite indeed!


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