I love Italian food. Frustratingly there are very few restaurants in Manila that prepare pasta from scratch. The few good ones charge an arm and a leg for all the trouble. Luckily Chef JJ Viel of Italian heritage serves fresh pasta in his restaurant tucked away at the corner of Kamagoong and Ankle streets in Makati. CUCINA RUSTICANA offers on the menu authentic recipes that were brought to the Philippines and handed down by JJ’s Italian grandmother. The traditional dishes are meant to be shared family style and are reasonably priced.
In culinary school at DLS-CSB SHRIM JJ Viel’s passion for cooking was undeniable. He started by selling his home-made pasta in weekend markets. Upon gaining popularity, the family supported him in opening a restaurant. Aside from delicious fresh noodles, JJ also makes a mean Osso Bucco. His secret was adopting his Italian grandmother’s culinary philosophy of no short cuts, no compromise on cooking methods and ingredients. His Nonna taught him that food “It must be created from scratch with love, Italian-style!”.
I was going to host an intimate dinner and on the guest list were some very discriminating people from the food industry. I wanted someplace new, so I gave JJ’s place a try. Together with sous chef EJ Quiroz they prepared a dinner for some of their former mentors. If I put any pressure on them that evening it didn’t show at all. All I can say is that the guests were very pleased with the food which passed with flying colors. So thank you JJ for helping make my birthday special. Italian comfort food with that provincial rustic flavor, this I would describe as food with soul.
FETTUCCINE WITH GRILLED CHICKEN ALFREDO P 195.00 /P 350
Handmade fettuccine pasta lightly coated in a creamy cheese sauce
CROSTOLI – a delicate and lightly sweetened Italian biscuit that melts in the mouth
SPINACCI AL FORMAGGIO P 285.00
Spinach and capsicum cheese dip served with toasted baguette
SCALOPPINE DI MAIALE P 285.00/ P 435.00
Seared and lightly simmered pork tenderloin in Marsala red wine sauce