03 Mar2007


I have rarely found a decent antipasto platter in a Manila restaurant for a reasonable sum of money. The best value/quality starter plate we have had in the past year was probably at Galileo Enoteca where either as part of your set meal or as a separate order, you anti2get some sliced meats such as prosciutto and salami and some nice chunks of hard cheeses such as parmiggiano reggiano and pecorino romano. But for a predominantly vegetable based antipasto platter, I am almost always left wanting. And why this is the case when it is so supremely easy to assemble a decent antipasto plate and EVEN more so when you want to make 20 or more of them at the same time, defies explanation… So at least once or twice a month, I usually satisfy my hankering for antipasto by making a mixed, predominantly veggie plate for myself… If you make modest batches of each component, you can easily assemble a dozen plates for a dinner party appetizer. Follow that with a nice big staifying bowl of spaghetti and a couple of bottles of wine and you will have satisfied guests and save a bundle on eating out…

In this plate, I was inspired by a rare find of soft buffalo mozzarella from the deli section at Galileo Enoteca the other day and some “fresh” not canned anchovies. The plate in the photo has a few silky slices of mozzarella (a FAR cry from the tough grocery/pizza shred anti3version, trust me), with some good extra-virgin olive oil drizzled on it and freshly cracked black pepper. Some sliced ripe red tomatoes, some home-made grilled and marinated capsicum or bell peppers, homemade mushrooms with tons of chopped garlic and a touch of balsamic vinegar, bottled store-bought artichokes and olives and a few slivers of anchovies. I forgot to include some great sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil that I also had in the fridge… served with some nice toasted bread and this could have been my dinner. If I had some prosciutto or salami in the fridge this would have been more than perfect. The mozzarella was a bit pricey but even so, the entire plate couldn’t have cost more than PHP150 to assemble. Which means restaurants should be able to offer a decent antipasto plate for two at say PHP420… Now if only they would listen…Wouldn’t it be great if someone would open a completely tapas/mezze/antipasto/pica-pica restaurant/bar with say a selection of 30-40 dishes on display and a good selection of wine???



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Your antipasto platter looks very good! Fresh buffalo mozzarella is the best. I love it in sandwiches with arugula and basil leaves, marinated sun dried tomatoes and toasted loaf bread. I like it too in pasta with meatless marinara sauce and fresh basil. Tapas are the in thing now in dining across America and most European cities. I know you are well aware Spain and Italy – tapas have been around for ages. I believe the reason they are a big hit in Northern America – people like the idea of portion serving and they can get the premium wine by the glass to go with their food.

    Mar 4, 2007 | 4:05 am


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  3. MRJP says:

    I love antipasto! In fact we just had it last night. I crave for it. But instead of anchovy, I put salami in mine. Yum! Mouthwatering!

    Mar 4, 2007 | 8:16 am

  4. Kulasa says:

    I’ve always wondered why we can’t have locally made anchovies here? Is the fish different from the local “dilis” we have? Would you know if we can make these at home?

    Mar 4, 2007 | 10:09 am

  5. Kieran says:

    The plate is perfect! Just drizzle some balsamic vinegar, add some fresh torn basil, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bottle of Sangiovese and I am set. I may have that for dinner tomorrow! Thanks!!!

    Mar 4, 2007 | 1:12 pm

  6. Katrina says:

    MM, you’re so lucky to chance on buffalo mozzarella at Galileo! Each time I go, they’re out of stock.

    Being a notoriously indecisive (and gluttonous) person, antipasti/tapas/mezze-style is my favorite way to eat. You’re so right, MM, that there isn’t a *true* tapas restaurant here. At least, not in the way it’s done abroad. Chichajo’s stories of Barcelona tapas bars come to mind. When I crave this kind of food, I go to Galileo or Spanish restos like Cirkulo or La Tienda, or my recent favorite, Paloma. The last suffers from being in a mall, though. Not a great place to enjoy wine and tapas. Have you tried Mezze in Greenbelt? Pretty good, depending on what you order. Best to go with a group, because their “appetizer” plates are huge!

    Mar 4, 2007 | 3:55 pm

  7. joey says:

    That looks great MM! You are right, it’s hard to find a decent antipasti selection here. One that is really varied, fresh, creative, delicious, and hearty (i.e. you don’t feel cheated when you see that your portion of mozzarella and tomatoes wouldn’t even feed your hamster!)…

    The best antipasto I ever had was in this place called Tamburini in Bologna. Amazing! Platters and platters of the most delicious things lined up! I cannot even describe how incredible everything looked and tasted…

    Mar 4, 2007 | 5:19 pm

  8. greedy bugger says:

    Hi MM! Have been an avid reader of yours and finally got around to setting up my very own food blog! (yup, another one :) Still tinkering on the lay-out etc so it’s not exactly looking ‘presentable’ yet.

    But going off on a tangent here, I’ve been racking my brain for a Pinoy dish I could whip up for my son’s International food evening at school next friday (here in the UK) Last year, I made ‘chicken adobo’ which went down really well. A few of the mums are urging me to make the same dish but I’m feeling a bit more ‘creative’ this year but not quite sure what to make. So, thought of seeking advise from a ‘master’.

    Would love to hear your suggestion. Thanks! More power to you & your blog.

    Mar 4, 2007 | 5:43 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    Greedy bugger, If you have access to plantain bananas from Africa or the Caribbean, you could make banana turon with lumpia wrapper which I am sure you can get in the U.K. at a Chinese or Oriental shop. Alternatively, pancit guisado with either bihon or sotanghon could feed a crowd as well. Vegetable lumpia might work well as well. Joey, I love how restaurants in Italy just have the antipasti laid out in platters in some places…yum! Katrina, haven’t been to Mezze yet but I am one of those who would rather eat three appetizers than a main course… Kulasa, I am not sure if our dilis are the same fish for the salty anchovies of Italy…but it would seem like we should be able to make “anchovies…”

    Mar 4, 2007 | 7:59 pm

  10. relly says:

    MM, have you gone to the Italian restaurant just between the Araneta Coliseum and the Gateway Mall, and the UNO restaurant inside the Gateway!
    They are quite good both of them!

    Mar 4, 2007 | 10:54 pm

  11. belle says:

    In Vietnam, anchovy is the main ingredient to make fish sauce- nÆ°á»›c mắm- the unofficial national sauce of Vietnam. — Which also goes for our local fish sauce and fish paste here in the Philippines. I am no marine biologist, maybe the anchovy variety there in Italy looks a tad bit different than our local dilis. It can be challenged to make dilis taste like how they do the anchovies in Europe.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 6:22 pm


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