I love that we have foodie friends with the same taste.
Jay and Nino were friends LONG before they met the loves of their lives.
In fact Jay and Nino spent many of their childhood memories on the weekends watching their fathers race. There is a long history that is there between the boys, so much so that when Claire and I met, we naturally clicked, and I am thankful for that!
When Jay was going to school in New York, (he graduated from THE Culinary Institute of America) we were able to get together a couple of times so he could hang out off campus, meet our kids (I think we only had two back then) and blow off steam from the rigorous scheduling of school and later in his schooling, the internships.
TRUTH: I was so intimidated the first time Jay came to our house! I knew he was a CHEF! How could I try and serve anything without there being a tremendous amount of (self imposed) pressure for Nino’s childhood friend? I was so nervous that I knew I had to serve something so regular…so completely comfort…that I knew I couldn’t mess it up. If I remember correctly, I think I served Chicken and Pork Adobo. Nino and I used to play with the flavors of that dish…we would use different kinds of vinegar and even sometimes roast the garlic or caramelize the onions before stewing the savory pieces of chicken and pork, just to try and make the dish more interesting. I can’t remember if Jay liked it or not?!?
Well…flash forward. Jay and Claire have a little boy Rocco (my inaanak) that we love and wanna squeeze each time we see him, and together with their families they have opened up their first (of many, if I can be so bold as to predict the future) restaurant (s) that has the feel of an earthy, warm, yet modern Gastro Pub.
Pastor’s is located on Macapagal Avenue. It’s a hidden gem near The Senate Building, so if you are willing to take a ride out from Alabang (like we are) it is surely worth the trip. I see touches of Jay ALL OVER this restaurant. I can appreciate all the details, the efficiency, and the creativity that went into creating an atmosphere that is perfect if you would like to have a Sunday lunch with the family, AND at the same time also doubles as a great place to hang out with other couples, enjoy a beer or some mixed drinks and tapas that we usually love to pick on while we are sipping and chatting away…
We were so happy when Jay and Claire invited us for a full tour of their new baby. We made sure to squeeze it in between our responsibilities at home and Gia’s UAAP game which wasn’t too far away from MOA.
I loved that Jay took left over pieces of the restaurant’s construction and incorporated them into the bar and the walls. It’s refreshing to know that Jay was concerned with repurposing these otherwise tossed aside remnants. Even the light fixture near the stage (where 2-3 piece bands, or comedians can perform) was cleverly repurposed mixing blades!
Truth: Of our awesome foursome…I’m the pickiest eater. This means when we are out on a date, Nino tends to poke fun at my pickiness. Jay and Claire like to explore different restaurants and dishes…just like Nino, good thing they like me so much or I might be left behind for my pickiness.
Why do I share that with you? Because for me to eat squid it usually has to be breaded and fried. In talking to Jay about this, he explained that if squid is cooked properly it most definitely should NOT be chewy. (I have shared before how much I have issues with texture-remember?) Well, this dish was so delicious. I made the effort to try at least one piece because I did not want to be “that friend” (You know that friend I’m talking about?) the kind of friend who didn’t eat what her Chef friend put out so lovingly from his new restaurant’s kitchen (with his own hands) and said “I don’t like it” even before I tasted it?
So I tasted it…I loved it, and yes, I had more than the one piece I said I would have to be polite.
This dish was the star of the show.
“Rabo del Toro is the kind of dish that empires are built on.” -Nino Aventajado
The meat on the oxtail was so tender that it could be cut with a fork. It fell off the bone, and was deliciously rich. This was the kind of dish that’s so rich and rewarding that it leaves a blend of deep flavors that can only be achieved by braising this dish for twelve hours. I think the next time I order this, I will also order a side of bread to sop up all that goodness after I enjoy the dish in its entirety.
But not until after I got some sugar (say it with me…SHOO-Gahh) from this boy…
Pasto’rs Gastro Pub’s main dining room can sit 50 people. They have a private area overlooking the kitchen complete with an LCD screen that can seat up to 25 people comfortably. Dishes are affordable and done right. The passion and purpose that these two have put into their restaurant is clear as day, which we all know translates into good food. I can’t wait to go back this weekend! Even Gia is super excited to visit.
Unit D 1&2 Hobbies of Asia Complex
#08 Macapagal Blvd. Pasay City
1300 Manila, Philippines
For reservations call 02-831-0073
Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 am to 3:00 am