From Aklan oysters to artisanal cocktails: Oyster bar opens in Bonifacio Global City

MANILA, Philippines – The Uptown neighborhood of Bonifacio Global City has always been a favorite spot for people looking to unwind after a long day, whether it’s for a drink or to catch up with friends.

One of the newer spots along Uptown Parade is Salt & Ice, which brings together sea and party like guests are on the cruise they’ve been settling for.

The pride of Salt & Ice are their oysters stolen straight from Aklan, each one freshly shucked with vinegar or Sriracha sauce on the side.

Abigael Quila-lan, operations manager of the resto-bar, said in an exclusive interview they tried Bicol and Pangasinan oysters, but Aklan’s oysters stood out for their size and salty taste that reminded them of the ocean.

True to its travel menu, oyster preparations are influenced by Asian and European dishes. Their Japanese-inspired oyster tempura comes with wasabi mayonnaise and ponzu sauce. Those who love cheese over everything may find their Oyster Mornay appealing with its mozzarella filling and Neapolitan sauce. Oyster Kilpatrick is cooked with bacon and Worcestershire sauce.

Besides oysters, Salt & Ice also prides itself on its classic and iconic cocktails, which Quila-lan helped create to ensure variety and reflect the many countries customers could “visit.”

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Many emblematic cockatils will appeal to gourmands such as the Aurora based on tequila (inspired by the Northern Lights), She’s A Bliss based on whiskey similar to Malaysia because of the hibiscus, the Kiss Kiss based on absinthe inspired by France, and Naught Rusty bourbon and peanut butter (a variant of Rusty Nail).

Classic cocktails on the menu include the Negroni, Whiskey Sour, Daiquiri, Moscow Mule and Old Basil Smash, though Quila-lan said other cocktails can be made on request at the bar.

Quila-lan also said how cocktails can pair well with Salt & Ice’s food, like the Filipino-inspired 36th Street (where the resto-bar is) with the Oyster Bacon and Cheese since the drink’s macadamia mixes with the creaminess of the cheese.

Other pairings Quila-lan suggested were the Japanese-inspired Rogue Waves with their chicken satay or sea urchin pasta, the Naught Rusty with the spinach and malunggay oyster, and the Australian 1.5kg Tomahawk steak with classic cocktails.

Desserts on the rise

Quila-lan said Salt & Ice is still growing and will see new additions in the coming months. These include their dessert offerings which currently include their Ferrero Rocher Sundae and Chocolate Souffle.

Chef Miko Aspiras, who was recently announced as the new executive pastry chef of Visum Ventures, the company that runs Salt & Ice, has helped expand the dessert menu.

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At an intimate event at Salt & Ice, Aspiras said it is currently focusing on new concepts like an ice cream bar, but will need to refresh the dessert brands on Visum’s menus.

“[I feel] more mature, relaxed, experienced… [that I can make] experienced desserts, if there are such things,” Aspiras said, explaining that he knows his style best when it comes to the creative process and wants to give his own.

Aspiras added that he hopes to develop coffee cultivation in the Philippines, which he says is forced at the moment. He is confident, however, that the country is ready for it and is looking forward to softer concepts.

The chef will be working with people familiar with his work, and one of the first partnerships he struck for new desserts was with Filipino chocolate maker Auro.

These dessert dishes include Calamansi Cake with Auro White Chocolate Frosting, Classic Black Forest with Auro Dark Chocolate Mousse, and Vegemite Butterscotch with Auro Milk or Dark Chocolate Pralines.

In addition to expanding Salt & Ice’s dessert menu, Aspiras will seek to create a Champagne breakfast option for the restaurant, making it an even better dining and beverage choice in the Bonifacio Global City area. .

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Joshua B. Speller