Ask any abuela what the secret to a flawless paella is and she’ll tell you that it all begins with getting the right rice – a lesson that certainly hasn’t been lost on Manila’s first man of Iberian eats, chef Chele Gonzalez.
Better known for the refined fare he plates up at tapa-the-list gastrodome VASK, the culinary whiz has now turned his pan to perfecting the classic southern Spanish favourite via his industri-cool Century City flopspot, ArroZeria, literally meaning ‘house of rice’.
At this welcoming rouge-roofed bistro the grain game is on point, with Gonzalez invoking the assistance of the International Rice Research Institute to source an heirloom variety that is similar to the traditional arroz bomba used in Spain, but sourced locally from Luzon’s Cordillera mountains.
This starchy marvel serves as the base for five different paellas ranging from the traditional saffron and seafood ‘al dente’ – complete with crunchy caramelised socarrat – to a soupy crab and snow pea ‘caldoso’, saucy pork and porcini ‘meloso’, and a divinely creamy foie gras risotto.
To make your rice twice as nice the tapas starters also feature arancini, or opt for three types of croquettes, tuna carpaccio and squid ink battered prawns – best paired with an easy-drinking aperitif of rose sangria. Olé!
4/F / Century City Mall / Kalayaan Ave / Makati / +63 920 974 4742 / 11am-1am daily