Adding to the line up of great restaurants at Katipunan is Peppermill Restaurant and Mixology Bar. The restaurant just opened this March 2014, but Chef/Owner Vice Rodriguez has been in the cooking business for a long time with two restaurants under his belt(Red Garlic Resto and Krave Restobar) plus a catering service that has got the attention of celebrities.
As a background, he started cooking as a hobby. He ended up getting invited to cook for his friends and get paid for it. He didn’t have any formal training or school for cooking, he was just doing what he loves. He attended a few weekend workshops for an hour or two to sharpen his knife and widen his kitchen, but it was nothing formal.
His big break came when he was asked by Kris Aquino to cater for Bimby’s baptism after she got to taste his dishes at Ogie Alcasid‘s party. He then have been getting regular clients through word of mouth, some of which were celebrities and politicians. The most number of guests he had to serve was 5,000. Peppermill Restaurant and Mixology Bar was created to showcase his dishes because people only get to taste and experience his expertise if they be invited in the parties that he caters to. This is his way of reaching out to more foodies. It is located at Place One Building, #205 Katipunan Extension, Quezon City. I was one of the lucky few who were invited to taste his finest creations and specialties.
The place is just a few minutes away from Pasig, right across McDonald’s and Manila Bake. The place can accommodate up to 50 people comfortably, its glass walls and mirrors adds illumination and makes the place look a little more bigger. It’s minimalist design is what I love most about the place. Now the food…
For starters we have the Chili Taco Peppers, it’s his version of the dynamite. It has Ilocos chili, Mexican spiced beef, Jabañero dough. The level of spice is just right, tolerable if I may say so. The Mexican beef is what made it special and the dip compliments it.
Next is the Shrimp Popcorn, it’s crispy rock shrimp in beer batter and a special sauce. I love how he manged to make it crispy, not the tempura like crispness but it was like chewing popcorn.
Before we head on the to the main dishes we were served a plate of colors, the Hanoi salad. It’s a perfect mix of ice lettuce, lolo rosa, pomelo, crispy adobo flakes, shrimp, saigon sweet chili. It isn’t just pleasing to the eyes but also pleases the taste buds.
The next two are Japanese inspired dishes that are both unique in names and flavors. Rainbow consists of smoked salmon, fish tempura, cream cheese, mango salsa and cucumber all triangulated in to one mouthful of flavor. Check out the apple-shaped wasabi.
The Firecracker is a California roll with shrimp and kani, topped with US scallops. It’s named probably firecracker because of how it looks and also because it’s a bit spicy.
After that we went straight ahead to Ilocos with his Vigan pasta. Definitely not vegan, but Vigan, with Vigan longganisa, sun-dried tomato, artichoke, olives, and olive oil.
The best dish to represent the northern province is bagnet, which is why his version is named after the province itself. Served with bagoong relish and steamed rice. I learned that day the difference between bagnet and lechong kawali. If you boil that meat before frying, that’s lechong kawali. Bagnet is cooked directly into the cooking oil, different frying pans, different levels of heat. This probably is the first bagnet I have ever tasted.
The Trio Pizza consists of locos Bagnet a which comes with eggplant casserole, bagoong relish, scrambled egg, and mozzarella. Yup, we just can’t get enough of bagnet. Torre Del Greco is with arabiata, rock shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula and mozzarella , you can request to add anchovies for an extra fee. Completing the trio is the Cinco de Mayo, mozzarella, cheddar, fontina, cream cheese, and padano. All three pizzas can be ordered separately.
If you are more in to fish, here two amazing dishes that you should try at Peppermill’s. The Black Sea made up of Halibut or isdang dapa, with olives, capers, mashed potato and topped corn tortilla, it’s the tomato relish makes the Black Sea red.
The next fish on the menu is Norway. It’s encrusted salmon topped with sesame nori. It comes with unagi sauce, a thick sweetened soy sauce based sauce, mango salsa and steamed rice. Both fish dishes are good, but I would go for Norway, primarily because I prefer my fish dry.
The list just keeps on getting better and adding in to it is Monte Carlo. Half chicken baked with Italian herbs and sun-dried tomatoes served with mashed potato. This would be an easy favorite for everyone, specially the kids.
Thailand got me drooling because it has green mango and bagoong on it. It’s sweet pork topped with green mango strips, peanuts and scrambled egg, served with bagoong rice. I can never have too much of bagoong rice, it tastes really good.
Next on the list is Steak Roulade it’s angus rib-eye in red wine sauce, served with asparagus and mashed potato.
The last dish before we head on to the desserts is the Agave Passion Fruits Barbecue Beef Ribs. Long name deserves a long word to describe it – supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Something you say when you don’t know what to say, it’s that good!. Chef uses imported wood chips to add flavor and aroma to his beef ribs and he makes the sauce for it himself.
Mixology isn’t there for nothing. Here are samples of his mixes. The Mo Boston is pandan, lychee with fruity flavored gin, while Godfather is a mixture of basil, cucumber and tequila. Both tastes great, I can drink a whole pitcher of both if only the alcohol won’t kick in.
I honestly couldn’t take more food but the deserts are just irresistible. My favorite is the Hush Puppies, round Danish buttermilk pancakes served with vanilla ice cream. Oh yeah!
Everyone was raving about the Pudding, but I am not a fan of puddings. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but I just not into it. You should still have that included in your list to try.
Cakes anyone? Chocolate Log, Red Velvet, Mango Cheesecake, Chocolate Truffles, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake Brownies. Visually appealing, it looks so good, I never wanted to touch it — but I did.
If you need more room for a party you can make use of the building’s roof top, it can accommodate up to 300 people. The rooftop has its own bar, there’s also a covered area with air conditioning. Your guests will have a lot of room to run around and mingle with others.
One of the best business tip I heard of was “make your passion your business”. Peppermill Restaurant and Mixology Bar is testament that if you love what you do, that love will register in your products and your passion for it will take you place.