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 get 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 explanationâ€¦ So at least once or twice a month, I usually satisfy my hankering for antipasto by making a mixed, predominantly veggie plate for myselfâ€¦ 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 outâ€¦
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 â€œfreshâ€ not canned anchovies. The plate in the photo has a few silky slices of mozzarella (a FAR cry from the tough grocery/pizza shred version, 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 fridgeâ€¦ 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 couldnâ€™t have cost more than PHP150 to assemble. Which means restaurants should be able to offer a decent antipasto plate for two at say PHP420â€¦ Now if only they would listenâ€¦Wouldnâ€™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???