Celsius – Open Menu and Open Minded

This is another inevitable post as an ISCAHM student just like how I wrote about Aubergine before, in another good way.

If Aubergine is a fine-dining area that sells French food, Celsius, in my humble opinion, is the other way around. It seems that their menu revolves around comfort food BUT in a refined manner.

I am pretty sure you remember Chef Manoj from all of my ISCAHM posts. He is one of the owners of Celsius together with Chef Sean and I think with 4 other people.

If you have forgotten about Chef Manoj, here is another snap shot. He’s the one on the right.

The guy on the left is my ISCAHM friend, Loguan and the guy in the middle is his executuve chef.

A lot of people think that Celsius is an ISCAHM restaurant but it really is not. It is, however, like I have already said, owned by ISCAHM chefs. Furthermore, I think the people who work inside Celsius’ kitchen are all from ISCAHM.

So what is Celsius all about?

If you were to look at their menu, prices are fixed per category. From what I remember, there are only seven prices on their main menu for: appetizers, starches, main courses, salads, soups, kids meals, and desserts. Each has its own price but don’t get me wrong, each category has different choices. Think of it as an ala carte prix fixe? This style is called an OPEN MENU so that customers will not have any difficulty in choosing their food in terms of price.

So what’s inside their OPEN MENU? Well, it’s OPEN MINDED!

Technically, they serve anything that they think tastes good and is acceptable to the market. Most people would think that Celsius is an Asian fusion type of restaurant but that is really not the case. The food that is prepared here is still in its natural element. There is still individuality in each dish presented here. The reason, I think, that most people think that Celsius is Asian fusion is that there are Asian and Western dishes here. However, if you look at it closely, every dish stands as its own cuisine. There is no mixing of elements. Check the soup for example.

One of our orders was clam chowder. There’s no fusion here, just real smokey hearty clam chowder. So why have Asian and Western cuisines here? Well, if you read my blog posts on ISCAHM Chef Manoj is in charge of the Asian Kitchen and Chef Sean is Canadian so go figure.

Anyhow, so on with the food.

We first had dinner rolls with super good hummus.

Rolls were good. They were soft and light. The hummus was even better. The texture was smooth and I like the touch of paprika at the end which gave a good smokey kick. It was free.

Next we had oysters.

The flavor combination was good and interesting. The sharp tanginess of the aioli and miso paired really well with the creaminess of the cheese. The oysters were the best part of the dish. Quality was really good as it gives you a good flavor of the ocean and it has good texture.

Soup was next. We had clam chowder, pictured above, and ghoulash.

I liked the strong smokiness of the bacon in the chowder. It was really pronounced.

Ghoulash was good. They used local goat meat. The strong flavor of the ghoulash was able to cover the gaminess of the goat and at the same time the flavor was not that strong; it was pretty clean for a ghoulash. What I liked about the ghoulash was the vegetables. They weren’t mushy and overall had good texture.

Next were the main courses.

This was their duo of pork. If you were to dine in Celcius for the first time, I say you should order this. It was the BEST pork belly I have ever tasted in a non-Chinese restaurant. The fat melted in my mouth. It was really rich and at the same time sinful. Guys, order the pork belly, it is absolutely splendid. As for the bbq pork ribs, the other part of the duo, it got nailed by the pork belly!

We also had braised rib-eye fingers in red wine.

This was utterly moist. I was actually surprised they braised rib-eyes. Texture was really great and flavors were really strong. It had good depth in it. It must and should be good since they braised this for 5 F*&^ing hours! But the pork belly is still the winner.

Last came our starch.

With the first bite from this I immediately asked Chef Manoj “Chef, these aren’t local potatoes! Where did you get it?” Damn, they got russets! I know russet potatoes are like abundant in the United States but not here in the Philippines. Local potatoes here are starchy and watery. I think it is only good for baking and the like so I was really surprised with the potatoes they used that time. Sneaky sources eh?

One more thing about Celcius is that they have a bar on the second floor.

It is a place to hang-out and chill.

It was still empty that time because it was too early. People started coming at around 10pm.

So there you go! For me, I liked the place because of the food and the service. Furthermore, the price is actually reasonable for the quality of food that they serve. Main courses cost 400+ which is fairly reasonable (order the pork belly). My small disappointment was that they weren’t consistent on the quality the 2nd time I went there. Or was I just a bit tipsy at that time?

If you want comfort food that is more refined, try Celsius. It is located 67 Scout Rallos, corner Tomas Morato, Quezon City with telephone number 3326732. I can’t take my mind off the pork belly. I think I should ask Chef Manoj how he did it? Slow roasted? Braised? Pressure cooker? Oh well…

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5 responses to this post.

  1. This place looked pretty good. I would love to go to the Philippines. I didn’t know that here was an up and coming food scene developing there. Very cool. Are you in Manila? My ex is from Cebu, and I used to get to eat some of the dishes her family would make. Chocolate Meat, and Pansit, and such. I loved it.

    Reply

    • Wow! Didn’t know you had ideas on Philippine food! Yep! I live in Manila 😀 By the way, am just looking for time to ship the saffron, been busy the whole week! 😀

      Reply

  2. Posted by sheila's ditsi on March 18, 2010 at 5:16 am

    heheh.. pork belly! pork bellllyyy!!!! PORK BELLY!!!!!

    Reply

  3. Posted by sheila's ditsi on March 19, 2010 at 5:58 am

    umm after my honeymoon na!

    Reply

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