Taking ‘pulutan’ as General Romulo would

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Known for its popular main courses, such as Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno, Adobo Romulo Style, and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare, Romulo Café now introduces a surprising lineup of cocktails and Filipino-style tapas.

“Tapas are considered strictly Spanish; associated only with Spanish food,” says Sandie Romulo Squillantini, owner of Romulo Café and granddaughter of Carlos P. Romulo. “We wanted to tweak that idea because Filipino finger foods also go nicely with wine, Cava and other drinks. Basically, we’ve taken the tried and tested combination of beer and pulutan, and we’ve made it a little friendlier to an international clientele.”

“It’s the right time,” she adds, no doubt gleaning insights from Romulo Café’s first international outpost, in London, while also pointing out how Filipino cuisine has taken the world by storm. “While Filipino beer will always be a staple that goes perfectly with local flavors, we also want wine and cocktail drinkers to taste—to experience—what is just super great bar chow.”

Filipino-style tapas

Romulo Café’s lineup of Filipino-style tapas are best enjoyed with the restaurant’s five newest signature cocktails, namely Amor de Familia, A Foreign Affair, Spritzer Pulitzer, Dirty White Dove, and Imelda’s High Heels

Tinapa Rolls might be a good place to start, since spring rolls are already familiar to people all across the world. Other Filipino-style tapas include Bangus Pate with Pandesal Chips, Lechon Sisig wrap, Cheese and Vigan Longganisa Dumplings, Crispy Crablets, Fish and Squid Balls, Pinoy Nachos, Crispy Squid, Camaron Rebosado and its newest additions to the lineup Relleno Empanadita, Chorizo Empanadita, and Pato Tim on a steamed bun.

Signature cocktails

Romulo Café’s signature cocktails are inspired by the multifaceted life of Carlos P. Romulo, each reflecting an aspect of the late general’s life. 

Included in the drinks list are Old General, denoting Romulo as the quintessential diplomat and soldier; A Foreign Affair, which hints at an insiders’ joke from the early 70s, when his friends and colleagues teased Romulo about dating an American while serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Beth Day married him in 1979); Spritzer Pulitzer, signifying the 1942 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism; and Dirty White Dove, which makes reference to two facts: that he loved white doves and kept them as pets, and that he patronized the Sign of the Dove restaurant in New York City. Imelda’s High Heels and Amor de Familia are also part of the lineup.

Moreover, Wine Warehouse Corporation surely added doses of happy in the Happy Hour, serving excellent drinks exclusively for the occasion such as Candidato Tempranillo and Viura from Spain, and Undurraga U Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Chile. The majestic Mancino Vermouth Cocktails and Rinomato Aperitivo that hail from the “Wine Country” Italy are likewise featured, along with Martin Miller’s Gin from the UK/Iceland. Philippine Wine Merchant Ralph’s Stoli Vodka also provided a splendid taste for the signature drink Dirty White Dove, while Don Papa Rum is mixed with the A Foreign Affair and Amor de Familia.

Experience Romulo Café’s Happy Hour, 5:30 -7:30 p.m., in all its four branches: Scout Tuazon, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; Jupiter Street, Makati; Azumi Hotel in Ayala Alabang; and Kensington, London, UK.

For more information on the life and times of General Carlos P. Romulo, visit www.carlospromulo.org and on Romulo Café restaurants in Manila, visit www.romulocafe.com

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