Happy New Year to all our wonderful readers at SunStar!

NEW year, new discoveries and I am here to continually share my travel and food discoveries from all over the world. For the first feature on this column for this new year, I will stick closer to home.

The new Podium mall at the ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center is still under construction but you do know that there will be exciting merchants coming soon. Not to be missed, however, is the newly built Spanish cuisine restaurant called Las Flores. This brand might already be familiar to you because of its established restaurant at the Bonifacio Global City.

We decided to try out this restaurant and it did not disappoint. First off, we were so hungry that we ordered the Cream of Zucchini to start, which was a good call on my cousin’s part as the soup, divided by two, was still quite substantial. Las Flores as a Spanish cuisine restaurant specializes in tapas, or small servings of dishes.

We also tried the beef carpaccio, which turned out just the way I like it — with huge shavings or grana Padano cheese. The Gambas al Ajlo was so tasty with a lot of chunky garlic bits swimming in oil. It was best to dip the bread into that Gambas for sure. We also ordered the Trio de Chorizos, which was also tasty, although you have definitely tried this dish some other place.

My favorite so far from the Las Flores experience were the two beef dishes — Carilleras al Oloroso and the steak at 600 grams served on a wood board with roasted garlic clove on the side. These two dishes were perfection. The beef cheeks in the Oloroso dish was so tender. The steak was perfectly cooked with a great amount of beef fat. I like fat — I am partial to fatty beef and not on lean ones.

The Paella Negra, however, might need some improvement as I thought I had to be bigger. The pan was big but the rice was made so shallow on the pan. Even though visually it looked like a lot, there was little rice and meat on the paella. It also would have benefitted from more contrast with a dash of something sour.

The cheesecake for the dessert was a good order by my cousin Quennie and it was topped with frothy whipped cream on top. The cake was not so sweet and not disgustingly thick.

Overall, the pretty interiors of Las Flores in Podium won me over. I would be back in a heartbeat. And the beef cheek and Steak were awesome.

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