Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 08, 2014
Paella con Setas, Manchego y Trufa Esencia



Even as I was soaked with rainwater for my visit of Calderon one stormy afternoon for a meet-up with foodie friends, I could tell that I was inside a Spanish-oriented restaurant. The encaustic floor tiles that delicately serve as accents to the wooden table top hint of colonial Spain. They are the same ones that lavishly adorn a wall of the restaurant's upper floor. It was like stepping inside my great grandmother's old house in Kapitolyo where the restaurant is also -- in the same district of emerging dining venues.

Spanish Kitchen and Tapas Bar

Calderon is a dining experience of Spanish kitchen and tapas bar that originally made waves in San Juan for serving such authentic cuisine. The second branch in Pasig City is proof that the stronghold of the Filipinos' old conquerors in the Philippines is not just in religion but in the locals' diet as well. The phenotype for the cuisine is the roster of paellas, tapas, chuleton, churros and sangrias.

Callos Madrilena

Churros con Chocolate

Consecutive Visits

I would return to the restaurant the next day with my family to celebrate my dad's birthday as I saw it fit to reintroduce him to Spanish delicacies since, as a kid, he was first exposed to similar meals by his grandparents in Kapitolyo.

Classic Start of Churros

For a classic start, we had Churros con Chocolate. To prepare our palate for the heavyweights, we took sublime bites of the crispy fried-dough pastry that we took turns dipping in chocolate dip. Compared to the version of Boqueria (SM Megamall), Calderon's churros is mildly chewy and less dependent on the dip in taste. The reactions at the table were varied. Some wanted it to be as crispy as another restaurant's version while some imbibed the authentic result.

A Paella Conversion

Our order of the Paella con Setas, Manchego y Trufa Esencia which I also had with foodie friends the day before took some time to prepare and I was told that it's the regular time that it takes to do so. I had to be patient because it's the dish that I truly loved the most when I got to taste it the other day. I was surprised by my fond response to it as I previously had a bad experience with paella having tasted one of food court quality years ago which left me a terrible memory of the dish. Thankfully, Calderon made a convert out of me because the paella appealed quite well to my taste bud. Its Manchego (cheese), mushrooms, and rich truffle oil were a good palate massage. It was packed with immense flavor which outshined the moist quality.

Salpicao Déjà Vu

My parents loved our order of Salpicao for having a strong flavor that didn't stay long in the mouth. Just as fast as it became intense in taste, it also fizzled out easily with the other flavors of garlic and butter. My sibling tore into one with a cup of rice but me and my dad knew better to pair it with bread the way it was made to be consumed. Suddenly, I was having memories of Baguio City's Te Quiero!

Lengua Con Setas

Smooth Callos

My memory of my dining experience the day before reminded me to recommend to my family the
Callos Madrilena for their next visit. It was one of the dishes that I had with friends at the restaurant and it was another favorite of mine next to the paella. The tender ox ripe was smooth to taste, especially with its rich buttery flavor. The texture of the slow-cooked chorizo incredibly complemented well with the smoothness.

Sips of Sangria and More

Another dish that I remember sampling the day before my dad's birthday was the Lengua Con Setas. The ox tongue dish was served with mushroom, a delicious stew that went down well with sips of the slightly bitter note of sangria, a beverage that's best tasted in between sampling of the various dishes.

I had the privilege to taste with my friends a new dessert that the chef whipped up to introduce to the public soon -- the Crema Catalana. Distinctively Spanish, the dessert seems to be exactly a French crème brûlée.
Made from a mixture of egg and milk, the dessert from Spain is set to chill while the French set their version by baking it in an oven. The secret to being truly satisfied with a Crema Catalana is to taste it with passion -- immediately and with reckless abandon to one's weight issues.

The remarkable thing about Spanish cuisine is that it doesn't have to be consumed in copious amounts lest one was on a one-month salad diet. Most of the dishes at Calderon are best for sharing with a company of family or friends, so a table is bound to be lively and filled with conversation. The strong flavors of the authentic Spanish dishes are best sampled between a gander and a glass of sangria.

Special thanks to


Address: 12-C East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Philippines
Operating Hours: (Monday - Sunday) 11:30am - 10:30pm
Phone: (02) 533-4107 or 0905-266-6982

San Juan Branch: 403 F. Calderon Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City, Philippines

Celebrating my dad's birthday at Calderon


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