Last week, just before I left for the Philippine Blog Awards Visayas in Silay, I met a Skyscrapercity.com friend working in Singapore. Dr. Richard Espeno, MD was in town for a week to enjoy the sights and sounds of urban Manila before going back to work in the Lion City. Knowing that I am a lifestyle blogger and I love featuring food, he volunteered to be my blogging buddy for the day and feature some of Eastwood’s restaurants. Choosing “the” restaurant to eat is no easy task since Eastwood is home to a number of restaurants of unique kinds. About to go out of Eastwood and go to check on other restaurants along Libis, we stumbled upon a tarpaulin of O’sonho, a Portuguese restaurant featuring their own peri-peri chicken and some other selection of Mediterranean cuisine. We decided to check out the place and the menu.
Unfortunately, the promo item posted outside does not apply at the time we ate but we were undeterred. Right at the Plato Principal part of the menu, we found peri-peri chicken. If you are curious why this type of cooked chicken is called “peri-peri”, it is because the chicken is cooked in an African variant of chili called “peri-peri” or “piri-piri” if you are in Congo. Peri-peri is one of the spiciest chilis around with a 175,000 Scoville heat rating. When we are talking about spicy, that’s my game. I love anything that is spicy and it is a norm in my family to put a lot of chilis in things we cook. Being specific with the food and spiciness, we decided to have that in the pipeline to taste and critique. Dr. Richard here is also a cook like me and have eaten several peri-peri chicken in Singapore so he comes in very handy and has sensitive taste too.
We spotted paella in the menu too which is strange for me since I though paella was a Spanish dish from Valencia hence some paella dishes in Negros are called “valenciana”. There is a mistaken notion among some Negrénses that valenciana is distinct from paella. What is commonly called “paella” in Negros is more of a seafood mix with tomato paste which makes the rice red, unlike “valenciana” which uses “kaluwag”, luyang dilaw in Tagalog and turmeric in English, which makes it yellow. In reality, valenciana is just one of the many varieties of paella around. Among the paella selections in the menu, what caught my attention is the paella de frutos do mar or literally “paella of the fruits of the sea” in Portuguese. Fortunately, Doc Richard likes seafood so there will be no problems here with allergy. We also ordered lamb chops just to add to the fun.
We only had to wait for a few minutes for our orders to arrive and the first one on our table was the seafood paella. How the paella came our is strange for someone who is used to seeing paella with rice colored red. I love the presentation goes with shrimps, my favorite among seafood. Doc offered for me to take the first servings of the paella which I took a quarter to my plate. Tasting the rice, I have a hunch that it obviously has turmeric because of the color but the taste surprised me. What was mixed with the rice was not just plain turmeric but has a variety of spices. What do you call that mix of spices that has turmeric as one of the basic ingredients? Curry! Curry is the strongest hunch since what could it be other than curry. The flavor goes well with green shells, squid and shrimps. The seeming South Asian is topped with olives to complete the Mediterranean taste.
The peri-peri chicken got me excited with all those chilis topped on the chicken with some vegetable sidings. Knowing full well that spiciness does not lie of the topping but in how it is cooked, I digged in. Doc Richard did not have a pleasant experience with peri-peri chicken in Singapore as he has tasted one that has a spicy kick but an incredibly tasteless chicken. Cutting a piece bit-sized and squeezing some lemon juice, I took myself for a ride. I should have known that the restaurant in Manila adjust their flavors to the Filipino’s idea of what super spicy, or is it just that I am used to anything really spicy? Nevertheless, the chicken is flavorful and spicy enough to senses to which Doc said is very much unlike that certain peri-peri chicken he tasted not too long ago.
Here goes the lamb chops as well that was topped with spices and has a mashed potato siding. What could be more Mediterranean than lamb chops, right? Aside from the usual sauce on the ribs, I find the spice mix delighting. Mashed potatoes went well with chopped parsley added into the mix. If you ask me if it was a delightful dining experience, it indeed is. Doc Richard thinks so too and he is thinking of going back there in his next visit in Manila, hopefully with some Singaporean friends too. There is not that much Portuguese restaurants in town and O’sonho was a big bang of a first time in my Portuguese-style dining. If you wonder what O’sonho means in Portuguese, it means “The Dream”. Fitting enough for a name with my dream of going to Portugal someday. O’sonho is located in the ground floor of Eastwood Mall, within sight of the dancing fountain.