At The Helm
Freaking Manila, you're amazing. Two weeks ago my husband and I had the wild opportunity of participating in a dinner at newly opened, fancy pants, Helm. Our participation was the eating part, duh, and Team Helm did the entertaining, preparing, cooking and clean up. So really, we all helped each other out. But in all seriousness, if you are like us and geek out over Netflix food shows Helm is the real life Netflix cooking show. Come live the experience at Helm.
Come take a seat and watch Chef Josh Boutwood create at the Helm of his ship. Only 10 seats are available for the whole restaurant because this really is a first hand culinary experience where you view the inner workings of a kitchen emulate the intricate inner workings of a clock. The rhythm of a steady knife moves up and down as it finely chops cucumbers into bits. Each leaf placed neatly on top of an edible piece of art. A Big Green Egg placed plainly insight as meat makes its way in and out of the small contraption. Never in my life have I had a restaurant experience like I did at Helm. Because we live in Manila, an experience like this is financially attainable, which makes it, most likely, a once in a life time experience for me.
crab tart of blue crabmeat layered between crab fat and queso rustico
kitayama wagyu beef tartare sprinkled with an egg yolk puree and micro greens all atop a crispy pancake (cracker-hopefully this word doesn't offend die hard foodies, ha!)
blood clam broth cradling a pandan and cilantro oil
Josh is the ultimate artist. He is both humble yet proud of his(and his teams) work which offers you an insight into his passion. As he made the rounds during the night his experience and insight added to the depth of flavor and overall experience.
root bite consisting of a smashed pearl potato, thinly sliced kamote with a layer of singkamas dusted in freeze dried and pulverized scallops
smoked oyster with river bed micro greens
Since Josh used the Philippines as his inspiration for this first menu he skipped dairy and made his own butter out of pig lard. Using an organic pig from Laguna that harbors a large plank of fat on its back he then preserved the lard with local herbs. Lovingly slather the lard all over your fresh in house sourdough please!
kitayama beef, smoked short rib and a pan-seared strip loin served with a side of mixed mushroom paste
braised pork with deep fried pigs' blood and pineapple reduction dollop
durian: a first for me. Durian and chocolate ice cream topped with a sheet of dried milk skin and a sprinkle of chocolate pop rocks. (yes, you read that correctly.) this dish is more about texture than anything else.
dehydrator, green egg, convection oven, dry ice - the list goes on
Fresh Guimaras mangoes with green mangos mixed in sugar. A warm custard made from duck egg yolk blanketed atop a duck egg meringue and dusted in cashew nut powder.
Bite size chocolate truffles filled with pili nut butter, home made yema and micro meringues with a miso caramel.
Part of the magic of Helm was watching Team Helm rhythmically work in sync together. The team was quiet and got work done, each knowing what the next 'move' should be. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a kitchen team work together to create such a unique experience. I also enjoyed hearing the two sous chef's stories. Both young females who are passionate about their careers and following their dreams. Well done!
Manila may have a list of items to get in the way of your happiness, don't let them. Find unique experiences, ask questions, learn stories and please promise me you will also eat good food.