A toast to good, playful bites

Bite into a juicy meatball, and, well, savor the taste of classic Thai tom yum. Use your chopsticks to pick up a Japanese dumpling, this time stuffed with the iconic Filipino pork sisig and christened as the “gyozig.” And that cua pao bun asking for your attention holds a filling that is definitely not Chinese – a happy surprise as you chew your way through deep-fried Korean chicken patty in gochujang (red chili paste) sauce.

By now you get the drift at how Asian delicacies are playfully combined at Toast Asian Kitchen & Tasting Room at the newly opened Ayala mall The 30th along Meralco Ave. in Pasig City.

“We do not claim to be authentic because obviously our menu can only be described as a fusion of various Asian dishes. I’d like to think we are serving something familiar yet new – a playful and delicious merger of Asian influences,” said 36-year-old restaurateur Timothy Roxas-Chua, who is part of the same team that set up Relik Tapas Bar & Lounge more than five years ago.

Chua and his friends gathered seven chefs, each specializing in a particular Asian cuisine, who worked together in crafting Toast’s menu.

Toast’s yakitori skewers, including the must-try wagyu cubes
“It took us about a year to prepare but it was worth it. Asian food has come a long way in the gastronomic scene. Before, you’d hear people say, ‘Let’s go to Asia to shop.’ But now, people go to Asia for our food,” he added.

For starters, you may order roasted sweet corn soup (P159) topped with Vietnamese sriracha-spiked cream for that extra kick as well as the chicken and pomelo salad (P215) with coconut vinaigrette dressing.

Toast’s small plates (a misnomer, really, since the portions are good enough to share for two) include quesong puti croquettas (P299) with tomato laksa dipping sauce for that distinctly Singaporean vibe; banh mini (P245) which has delicious Vietnamese meatloaf topped with pickled vegetables sandwiched between small brioche buns; and Thai basil chicken poppers (P228) which is a little sweet because of the Vietnamese nuoc mam sauce.

Blaksa -- the restaurant’s take on classic laksa soup, this time mixed with squid ink.
The restaurant also has a wide range of Japanese yakitori dishes, from chicken meatballs to shrimp to pork belly to fishcakes. But the must-try of them all is the wagyu cubes (P175) – skewered buttery-soft beef served with your choice of soy baste or teriyaki sauce.

Among its main dishes (which are, again, big enough to share) are the crispy beef tossed in hoisin sauce on top of Korean japchae noodles (P399); Blaksa (P355), the restaurant’s version of the classic Singaporean laksa dish, this time mixed with squid ink to enhance the coconut broth; longganisa pasta (P349) featuring fuscilli spirals topped with authentic Vigan longganisa; and Hainanese chicken (P459) cooked sous vide for almost three hours.

Chicken and pomelo salad with coconut vinaigrette
Toast also prides itself on having tapped renowned Singaporean mixologist Jason Gray to prepare signature cocktails such as Jack Sparrow (Sailor Jerry shaken with jackfruit, apple, lime juice, pandan syrup and egg whites) and Tokyo Fog Cutter (Monkey Shoulder and Amanoto Junkara Junmai shaken with fresh lemon juice, cloudy apple juice, and absinthe flame).

“A New York-based restaurateur once said that a cocktail done right can really show that you care for your customers. Our cocktails complement the complex flavor combinations of the dishes,” said Chua.

Tom yum meatballs that are at once familiar and playfully different
“We also serve beer from a well-curated selection of both staple local brands and imported specialty craft beers,” he added.

Toast, he said, is more than just a restaurant for dining and drinking.

“Toast is about giving you an amazing day and an awesome night. We aim to be the go-to destination for good food and good vibes,” Chua said.

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Topics: Asian delicacies , Toast Asian Kitchen & Tasting Room

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