Legaspi Village has become a hub for gourmet standards. Filled with young professionals and industry veterans, Makati’s bustling business center expects a prime for its culinary landscape. Trufa Pasta Bar, along Esteban Street, transcends those expectations. The restaurant’s interiors marry the industrial and rustic through a play of wood and slate and give guests who walk through its doors a peek into Patricia Espino’s former apartment in Barcelona. To those who may recognize it, the flooring on Trufa’s portico is replete with tiles that resemble the stamped concrete pavement more commonly found in the central areas of Barcelona.
But what the pasta bar wants to establish is its form of self-service where one needs to go straight to the counter, order and then pay. However, the concept of self-service in such posh settings may still elude Filipinos, who noticeably sit as soon as arriving, expecting to be handed a menu despite the looming signboard that says otherwise.
Going up to the counter is such an experience in itself, it shouldn’t be missed. Past the open pasta kitchen where your order is cooked in front of you, you’ll find the cashier behind glass encasements of pastries. There, you are given the liberty to customize your pasta. First, by choosing a base pasta, then the noodles (which are perfectly al dente by the way), and finally, toppings like queso for Php 60 and extra pancetta for only Php 70.
Being true to Barcelona’s tapas culture, Trufa offers its own selection of appetizers. The Croquetas de Chorizo (Php 195), surprisingly, is far from the oily counterpart served in most restaurants with the same offering. The crispy shell holds a rich mix of béchamel and Ilonggo chorizo filling, an heirloom recipe from her grandmother.
In Patricia’s desire to mix Barcelona and Bacolod influences, the result is a marriage of both cultures especially present in Trufa’s tapas. Another family recipe passed on for generations from her business partner in Barcelona, the Albondigas de Angelines (Php 195), are authentic Spanish meatballs in a cream sauce served with bread slices for dipping.
In a demonstration of creativity, the Asiatico ensalada (Php 190) merges colors and textures using red cabbage, romaine lettuce, mangoes, queso de bola shavings, and crispy dilis from Bacolod.
An affiliation towards anything truffle will land you at the Trufa pasta (Php 350); a decadent base that fuses truffle paste, truffle oil and cream, which by the way, you can accessorize with the topics of your choice (salmon, for instance, as seen above).
Another incorporation of Ilonggo and Spanish influences, the Chorizo Picante (Php 290), uses Tricia’s chorizo recipe simmered in tomato sauce and red pepper flakes. The pasta is a lighter alternative to Trufa’s cream-based dishes. While hints of sweet play on the palate with the primary savory flavor, it is easily a favorite to the Filipino taste buds.
Trufa is value for money, especially along the Legaspi strip where prices are at a premium. Paricia’s experience in Barcelona is a testament to the quality served for the cost. “We should eat really good food at an affordable price.”, she says, referring to Barcelona’s numerous tapas bars that offer cheaper prices despite using the finest ingredients. More than build-your-own pasta, Trufa embodies the Spanish city and its social yet laid back culture in a modern-day Manila.
Unit A, Planters Building, 109 Esteban Street
Legaspi Village, Makati City