One of the diverse cuisines in the world is Filipino cuisine, molded by years of foreign influence, and the locals’ ability to combine flavors and make the most out of any ingredients that are available.
While most restaurateurs aim to bring us to another place with their menu, this recently opened restaurant located at the 22nd floor of Avenir highlights modern Filipino cuisine in a whole new environment—bringing more spice into everyone’s culinary experience.
Esca at Verified Lounge serves Filipino dishes that are innovated to be in line with modern times, appealing to diners who are hankering for something a little different or unique renditions to local favorites.
Each dish created by its executive chef Tim Torres, who has been in the industry for 20 years, highlights the essence of Filipino cuisine by using quality products and the freshest ingredients. But rather than replicating the traditional recipe, he has put a unique spin in each the dish.
“What we offer here is not the typical menu served here or not the typical Filipino cuisine. We infused Filipino dishes with different types of cooking techniques like traditional French cooking,” Chef Torres says.
Here are some of its menu standouts: Deconstructed Beef Caldereta, a slow-cooked beef short-plate in tomato concasse served with marinated potato puree; Pork Bopis Mouselline, a roasted pork belly served with bopis mousseline and rice on the side; Esca’s Chops with Salted Egg Tomato Salsa, five days brined monster porkchops grilled to perfection and topped with mango tomato salsa and salted egg; Beef Tapa Nachos made of tender slices of beef marinated in garlic calamansi topped on nacho chips with melted mozzarella chips; and the Shrimp and Danggit in Cherry Tomatoes Pasta, danggit strips and shrimp tossed in spaghetti pasta, cherry tomatoes and black olives.
In this elevated restaurant, with a magical 180-degree view where one can revel in the stunning sunset, the starry skies, the city lights, and cool breeze without going up to the mountains, Filipino-inspired cocktails are also served concocted by the restaurant’s head bartender Ran Cartagena.
Using ingredients that are usually used in Filipino dishes such as cucumber, lemongrass, and calamansi, each cocktail has an interesting story to tell. Take for example its Cucumber and Lemongrass drink that can be had with or without alcohol, inspired by Ran’s love for cucumber on top of kwek-kwek; and two of its prime cocktails called High Arc, and Veronica’s Perfume which features its colors changing.
Esca was also born out of owners Coy Oliva and AJ Sampson’s desire to feature a contemporary Filipino cuisine in a different environment—on a roof deck, with modern and chic interior, quite large that can accommodate up to 200 diners at the same time without sacrificing each table’s privacy and space, and some upbeat music to go with the conversations. It’s a place unlike the usual Filipino restaurant with barrio fiesta-themed interiors or set in an old house.
The place also boasts a sunset view of the prime lounge which is a perfect place to unwind or dine in after a long day at work.
As of now, Esca strictly follows by reservation policy only to ensure everyone’s safety, to maintain its five-star service, and to give time to its customers to enjoy their time there.
Esca is open every day with different operating hours. It starts serving at 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Monday to Wednesday, and as early as 11 a.m. up to 11 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday.