CAV is the answer to the challenge of finding ever more novel lifestyle experiences for the denizens of Metro Manila's watering holes. Cav is the venue to be indulged in, a wine lover's haven strategically perched in Bonifacio High Street, Ayala Land's exciting commercial development in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The wine shop cum restaurant's handsome interior is stunningly reminiscent of unique wine cellars in the valleys-be they the Napa of California, France's Rhone, or Germany's Rhine. The Café's colorful lounge is uniquely bedecked with lush fabrics that evoke elegance and sophistication.
Locating yourself within the walls of the wine shop drives whether you are enticed to sample its menu of sumptuous modern European cuisine in the near-colossal dining area, or summoned to try a sampler from its innovative Enomatic dispenser of regional and varietals wines. CAV explains itself best, as "featuring a diverse collection of over 450 wines offered by the glass or in tasting flights, Cav certainly has the perfect bottle suited to your tastes". The best food to match their wine too.
Restaurants that pair good food with good wine must be as old as Adamand Eve's grandson. Restaurants integrated with a wine shop are also old news. What makes Cav different is its expanded concept of the wine-tasting experience, how it draws and guides one through the adventure of acquaintance with a broad range of wine varieties, each experience different from the other according to nuances of the wine's taste, grape origin, or regional distinction. The sampling choices are determined by the proprietor's personal evaluation, clients' preference, and wine auctions' favorites.
Central to the wine tasting experience is the interactive Enomatic Wine Dispenser, which one can avail of with use of the Cav cards. You first purchase the Cav tasting card which entitles you to sampling any of 24 selected vintages from the Dispenser, which pours out by the 25ml. thimbleful, by the half glass (75 ml.) or the full glass (125 ml.). Cav has the distinction of having offered at its tastings a broad array that included the premium red Grand Bordeaux First Growth of the Medoc Chateau Margaux 1994, with the New World's Pangea Syrah 2004 and the highly sought after but elusive Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006 from New Zealand, the elegant Opus One 2002 from California's Napa Valley, and the highly rated red Pied-montese (Italian) Gaja Sperss Langhe 1999.
Admirably, Cav aims to serve the gastronomically curious its food and wine pairings at affordable cost. The wine shop with its inviting, non-snobbish ambiance aims to be the target destination in any wine lover's map. Cav, which is French colloquial for wine cellar, aims to make its extensive fine wine selection accessible to Filipinos , allowing them to create their own personal menu of wines to enjoy as aperitif, an appetite tickler with an amuse bouche, a delectable morsel of food, to pair with its uniquely showcased entrees, or to round up a meal together with a sinful dessert. Or simply to enjoy the wine for itself.
The dining area is another sanctuary where one can break out in superlatives. Here is where the renowned Chef Markus Gfeller and his associates can summon their culinary skills. Their ability to highlight, enhance, synthesize, and harmonize color, texture, taste, and presentation in a uniquely-concocted dish, reveals classical cooking techniques that highlight the virtue of ingredients that are neither compromised nor concealed. All traditional courses designed to keep you spellbound in your seat are "degustational", unfolding through tasting and awaiting the diner's return for seconds or assuming its place as a favorite.
The prix fixe menu is creatively designed, notable for its versatility. One can have a very personal gustatory expedition embarking on a shot of asparagus soup simmered with thick cream gently folded in, complemented by a crunchy golden risotto ball accented with a hint of saffron, actually Cav's current amuse bouche to delight the senses. The four-course menu stands on its own yet allows the diner to customize his own dining experience.
For their First Course, loyal Cav enthusiasts fancy the Malagos Farm Goat Cheese Croquetas with Pickled Beets and Organic Greens. The salad greens and beets are bound by the tangy vinaigrette that moistens the almost crumbly goat cheese patty. The medley of colorful ingredients is entertainingly and appealingly plated, freeing the inherent beauty of each to shine.
Pacify your palate further by sampling choices from the Second Course: the Salmon Pastrami with Pistou and Sweet Corn Emulsion, a glossy and creamy soup livened with the counterpoint of the salmon pastrami's witty and zestful palate contrast, and the Homemade Lemon Parmesan Tortellini with Prosciutto di Parma, a warm and familiar tortellini dish bathed in a luxurious, mellow lemon and parmesan sauce dressed with parsley jus.
Having been romanced with Cav's starters, one is then set to be further indulged with the star of the menu, the Main Course or Entrée. These are no culinary warhorses. Perusing the selections of meat, game, fowl, and seafood, reveals the lavish touches of Cav's extra-ordinary combining of ingredients, a trait characteristic of modern European cuisine. Try these best recommended main courses: the bold Glazed Tiger Prawns on Smokey Orzo; crisp Zucchini or Pumpkin Flowers and Ocean Herbal Broth; a sublime Meuniere of Orange Roughy Fillet with Champagne Sauce, Pea Puree & Coconut Rice; tenderBraised Lamb Shank and Eggplant Ragu in Charlotte Tart with Carrot Curry Emulsion Sauce, an exciting dish of Mediterranean provenance and subcontinental influence; and the classically elegant Roasted Cornish Hen on Foie Gras whipped Mountain Rice (a pleasantly appropriate deviation from the traditional wild rice) with Herbed Natural Jus.
The subordinate ingredients highlight the quintessential role of the main ingredient. No one can help marveling at what the Chef of Cav has created and elaborately fashioned the moment a main course emerges from his kitchen. The Chef therefore, plays off his spontaneity and imagination using the best ingredients available against the solid foundation of his classical training.
It is consistently noted that Cav's aficionados go for the French Duck Breast with Truffled Macaroni and Red Cabbage Confit on Caper Essence-lean and soft slices of duck breast atop shredded and marinated red cabbage resting on emulsified caper essence to complement the home-made spun macaroni submerged in rich white truffle cream sauce; and the Mint Crusted Lamb Chops with Pumpkin Risotto & Black Olive Essence, with the pan-seared then broiled lamb chops recumbent on puree of roasted pumpkin in risotto of creamy Arborio (one of Italy's finest rice varieties).
Cav's Fourth Course menu is not to be ignored either. In fact, sight of sweet, delectable desserts being brought to other tables can make you want to wish for dessert to come sooner in the course of the meal. The desserts are captivating in the suggestiveness of their plating as if to enchant a diner's sweet tooth. Recommended to supplement your chosen bottle of wine for the evening are: Assorted European Cheeses with Condiments; Skewered and Grilled Fruits in its Selection of Refreshing Homemade Fruit Sherbets; the citrusy Orange Cheesecake with Bailey's Infused Chocolate Fondue; glistening and royal Banana & White Chocolate Brulee in Orange Caramel Syrup, and lastly, the decadently warm and sinful Valrhona Chocolate Souffle Cake with Grand Marnier Mixed Berry Float.
Offered as an urban destination to satisfy your affinity for food and wine, Cav titillates one's palate with a gastronomic experience that successfully marries the old and the new, the classic and the nouvelle, the mainstays surprisingly renewed.
Cav Wine Shop and Café can be found at Lot 5, Quadrant 8, Bonifacio High Street, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For reservations, please call (632)856 1798. You can also visit their burgundy themed web site at www.cavwine.com for information, menu details, and upcoming events.