The Reluctant Stylista is a fashion and lifestyle blog written by Alex Lapa--the tomboy who suddenly discovered the joys and perks of dressing up. Original illustrations by Paolo Lazatin.
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I received an invitation to Aria Cucina‘s press launch, and I was curious at the dress code that was indicated. The little gathering called for wearing attire that had “colors of the sea”. It wasn’t until later that I realized that this was the same Aria that I had spied a couple of times in Boracay. It was (and still is) a popular establishment–though I haven’t tried it myself, as I usually opt for the more plebian fare (grilled seafood and fruit shakes by the beach side), to get the most out of a beach experience (never mind that Boracay is practically just Greenbelt with sand).
So…an outfit that reminds me of the beach then, hmm? But we weren’t in Boracay, and the new Aria Cucina branch is in The Fort. I decided to wear my mom’s old sari (it was her glorified pambahay that she threw out), which I tried selling in the last Bloggers United bazaar. It was then that I realized I liked it after all, and decided that if it didn’t get sold by the end of the day, it was going to be mine. Well, it was kind of hard to see what kind of outfit it was, but as I was leaning onto keeping it, I didn’t bother setting it up nicely along with the other clothes on the rack, haha.
This is a skirt and a top, with an awesome brown and blue print of elephants (Indian, I think). My favorite kind of vacation is the beach outing sort, and I plan on bringing this to one because it’s just so damned comfy. So yeah, basically, this is my idea of resort wear. I accessorized with a pair of large gold bangles that I’ve only ever used in photoshoots (bought from Divisoria, and was probably around P25 each) and a gold necklace from Ferretti.
I wore my favorite pair of shoes from Ferretti, which I rarely get to use. It’s a pair of beaded wedges, which is kind of tribal.
I was there with the usual early birds, Kira and Julia. We were pretty excited, because we’ve all heard a lot about Aria (another friend and fellow blogger, Rowena Lim, has been raving about it for some time now), and for me, this was my first time to try it.
Aria is a modern and contemporary Italian restaurant that has a menu inspired by the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. First opened in Boracay, one of the world’s top beach destinations, in 2003, Aria elevated the standards of restaurant designs in the beautiful island with its stylishly modern, tropical interiors and cozy ambiance and turned itself into one of the top destinations in the island.
Fast forward to today, Boracay’s most celebrated Italian restaurant will finally open its doors in Manila, at Fort Bonifacio, Global City. Making their delicious seafood and meat dishes, mouthwatering homemade pastas, fresh green salads, excellent wine and their famous woodfire oven-baked pizzas.
Of course, we started with the appetizers. Keep in mind that everything was served in sample portions to leave us room for everything that we would be eating that afternoon.
Rotolino Marchigiano (P390) – wood fire oven baked pizza roll stuffed with either tomato sauce, mushroom, eggplant, and mozzarella or mushroom, mozzarella, and ham
(Dish on the right) Gran Misto Aria (P435) – a vegetarian mix of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, grilled bell pepper salad, eggplant mash and deep fried zucchini, served with focaccia bread. I’m not usually a fan of veggies, but I really liked the eggplant mash!
Insalata Tartufata con Parma Ham (P480) – a salad of grilled eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, parma ham, and smoked scamorza cheese tossed in a truffle dressing
Spaghetti Marinara (P450) – a favorite seafood pasta of the Mediterranean coast. A choice of tomato or olive oil-based sauce. I like how this was cooked, really al dente and quite delicious. I’m glad they served red sauce pasta, because I’m a fan. And of seafood. I never order (knowingly) white sauce pasta if I can.
I was surprised to find a really small mussel shell on my plate. I just had to take a photo!
Beside a regular-sized mussel shell, for comparison
Risotto con Porcini, Mantecato al Mascarpone (P620) – risotto with porcini mushrooms whipped with mascarpone and aged parmesan cheese. I’m also a HUGE fan of risotto–and while this was really tasty and perfectly cooked, in my opinion, I’m glad we only had a small serving of this because I can only take so much mushroom and cheese risotto. It’s the kind of flavor that makes me umay, no matter how delicious it is (and this definitely was). I probably would’ve liked this with bread.
The pizza dishes were a big hit! We were served Pizza al Metro (Capricciosa, Hawaiina, Rucola e Pinoli) P1,300 – giant trio pizza — choose 3 flavor combinations from any of our pizza toppings. This had pine nuts and I’m not sure about the cheese, but it tasted divine! Someone had several servings.
Salmone al Pepe Verde (P650) – a fresh salmon fillet served with a creamy green pepper sauce. I loved this dish. I love salmon when it’s cooked (or uncooked) right and this was just that. If I weren’t so full already, I would’ve asked for more.
Buuuuut, there’s always room for dessert! Mousse ai due Cioccolati (P190) – layers of white and dark chocolate topped with ground hazelnuts. Who isn’t a fan of hazelnuts? Well, unless you get allergies from them. But I love hazelnuts on most of everything, especially on my Starbucks takeouts. This was a perfect way to cap our lunch.
We all enjoyed our stay in Aria! The food was fabulous and we already have our favorites. I’m also thankful that there’s now something new to taste in High Street. According to one of the owners, Juan Elizalde, they’re still experimenting with some dishes to add to the new menu, and I personally can’t wait to try them. I’m definitely going back.
Aria Cucina is located on Unit NEUG 205, East Superblock, 30th St. corner 7th St., Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City. Aria’s kitchen boasts of having Chef Marino Leonardis as their executive chef.
With bloggers Kira, Phoebe and Julia