I rushed in expecting half eaten plates of food already consumed by my fellow food bloggers. Mind you, they were all prompt, and here I am rushing in through the front door with bags and stands hanging from my neck, sweating like nobody’s business as the owner explained the first thing to be served.
Yes yes, I was late.
It was very unprofessional and I really felt bad that they had to wait for me for 30 minutes or more. I vowed to take the best pictures of my life that night.
As I came barging in, I saw what looked like a silver bowl with smoke coming out of it. It was either super cold or super hot; either way it was cool seeing actual smoke coming out. Since I still had to set up and prepare the gear for the shoot, I quickly ignored whatever it was Johann was saying.
It was my turn. He quickly scooped up with his metal spoon whatever it was inside the smoking bowl. (Now the spoon was smoking too. I gathered from the frost forming on the metal spoon that it was cold.) He quickly gave instructions of popping it into my mouth quickly as the ridiculously cold pieces would burn my hand if I don’t and as he was saying this he started emptying the contents into my opened palms.
I popped them into my mouth and started blowing the smoke out.
It was damn cold.
I suddenly exclaim: “Oh its popcorn!” Everyone laughs. I popped something into my mouth, smoking and not knowing if it was extremely cold or hot, without knowing what it really was.
This set the mood for tonight. Johann was very eloquent and entertaining as he explained the finer things of the dining experience. For me the flavors itself were both a symphony of uniqueness and yet familiarity. For starters, the appetizer served was a medley of crab and vegetables all rolled or rather dipped in a batter. It was a blend of uniqueness and yet somehow I felt like I have had it for years.
The beer they served was no ordinary fare as well. It hinted of a fruity combination along with the bitterness of the beer. It was refreshing to say the least. Had I not been on my lenten promise and sacrifice, I would have drank the entire glass. But a few sips was fine to give me enough stimuli to at least write something worth reading.
Tomato Soup was up next. Johann mentioned that with this particular soup, one would need to have to eat it quickly. I pondered over this sentence as what soup needs to be slurped down quickly? Soup is usually sopped up slowly, savoring the flavors of each spoonful as one prepares one’s self for the main entrees.
The soup came.
It was this big tomato resting on a bed of breadcrumbs.
It baffled me and yet somehow intrigued me. (which somehow started to be the theme for the night!)
He quickly took a knife to it and started cutting the Tomato. As he slowly and carefully cut the tomato in half, like a skilled surgeon take a scalpel to a precarious place of your body, he explained that soup was actually COLD soup.
The soup was quite something different. It tasted like salsa (from mexican origin) with a hint of spicyness. The texture of the breadcrumbs combined with the rich and thick tomato soup was just a medley of taste and texture that only one can hope for every now and then.
As the dinner progressed, we started talking about the good ol’ blogging days. I couldn’t actually relate since I was confined to my own little blogging world and was not really active in the blogging scene till recently. The kitchen apparently cranked up the service as they started out churning dish after dish. I barely even had time to sit down and take a bite of something when another dish would coming out and be placed on the photo table. Being Filipino, the obligatory rice was there. The rice was nothing out of the ordinary chinese or japanese fried rice. It had its own twist to it but having different meats but generally it wouldn’t stand out among bowls and bowls of fried rice.
Johann then announced that a dish called Dragon’s Breath Chicken was going to next. Suspending all pre-conceptions, I quickly inferred that most likely the dish would be spicy or hot at least and I was right. Mixing both spicyness and flavor this dish oozed of hotness as with every bite a glass of water was to be consumed. WARNING: If you do not like spicy food you will not like this at all.
I was having a grand time just dining with friends at Zenses and shooting the food. The place oozed of sophistication and yet still had that cozy feel that screamed intimacy. The subtle tones of the light which lightly whispered yellow, green, and blue and the background music through the entire thing was just perfect. I thought it could not get any better than this.
That was, until they rolled out the last entree for the night.
The piste-de-resistance of the evening was the Ribs in Strawberry glaze. Now I’m the kind of guy who likes his ribs barbequed and smoked. Baked would already be stretching it and well, no other sauce is right except good ol’ hickory barbeque sauce. But this dish was something else. The aroma already screamed the fruity nature of the glaze. The meat was succulent enough to still taste the rib taste that one craves for, and the strawberry glaze just took away the saltiness of the meat. This was the winner for me that night. It screamed the entire theme of familiarity, yet unique.
It was so good I had to post 2 pictures of it to do it justice.
I had originally decided on creating a separate post for the dessert but somehow I felt that they all deserved to be in one post. The entire experience was what was needed and not just parts of it at a time. So here goes.
Every restaurant has its USP. (Unique Selling Proposition) Zenses was the medley of flavors it brought to the table and it did so with class and style. At the end of any meal, usually waiters would ask whether one wanted coffee or tea. Johann asked us or rather suggested we have coffee. Naturally we agreed. (Him being the host and all) He quickly got out one those silver bowls again and started rapidly freezing coffee cream into the concoction.
Letting it sit for a few seconds, he then scooped it out and served it to us on a normal cup for coffee. It had a meringue consistency to it. Literally, one had to knock your spoon to crack it and chip it so that you could scoop a portion into your mouth. What was interesting was, you barely felt it going down. It felt like air basically. One would not know the term “melts in your mouth” until you have tried this.
Dessert was fantastic. I thought that capped off the experience and dinner quite wonderfully. I was just about ready to pack up my stuff when martini glasses were brought out. I thought “Great, alcohol and I don’t drink!” (At least not anymore!) I had preconceived notions about dessert. It would most likely be icecream. I quickly asked if it was ice cream and indeed it was. He then asked me if I had instant ice cream already. I was confused. (As with most of the night) He also mentioned that the flavor was Bacon and Egg topped with Rice Krispies. Basically bacon, egg, and rice was the theme. I had my apprehensions, primarily because I am lactose intolerant, but since it was a flavor I’ve never heard of, prepared in way that I’ve never encountered before how could I say no?
It was a great night out with friends. Good food, great experience everything seemed to be going my way. I loved the ice cream. (I haven’t had one in quite some time) I even risked a tummy rumbling for it. Over-all it was an impressive taste. If you want to impresses a date or a client definitely bring them to Zenses. The service and preparation of the food alone will get you talking more than usual.
I’ve heard the term Molecular Gastronmist from Heny Sison over the weekend and was pondering what exactly does that entail. I understood the individual components of the term, yet somehow in my mind have trouble putting 2 and 2 together. Last night at Zenses, I finally understood what it meant. Although some maybe turned off by the complex flavors it offers, my palette delighted in something very different, very unique, and yet still harmoniously beautiful. If ever I decide to start dating again and find a woman who I think is worth spending time with, definitely Zenses would be the place.
Zenses is located on the first floor of A Venue along Makati ave. But then they are moving to Greenbelt real soon!