Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Cubao is Novotel Manila Araneta Center’s newest restaurant concept – Sabor Bar de Vinos – a welcome haven for the urban denizens seeking some respite from the daily grind.
My fellow foodies and I were warmly welcomed by Novotel’s staff and its digital marketing manager Angela Silvestre, who told us more about Sabor, as well as made recommendations for our highly anticipated repast (all were good calls, by the way).
This newly opened wine bar boasts of warm and colorful Spanish-inspired interiors, a highly Instagrammable outdoor sitting area which also serves as a venue for live musical performances, an extensive wine collection and masterfully prepared tapas. All of these elements help the bar’s patrons to #SABORthemoment.
Its name Sabor translates to “flavor,” a philosophy made apparent with the elegant serving of its delectable sangria and tapas offerings.
Sangria is an alcoholic drink that originated from Spain. Technically a variation of the fruit punch, it consists of red wine mixed with chopped fruits and sweetened with sugar water and fruit juice.
Sabor has three signature sangria concoctions created by its expert mixologists. These drinks are priced at Php360 for a 250ml glass, Php900 for a 450ml half carafe and Php1,200 for a 750ml whole carafe.
The Sangria de Rosa, for instance, is a mixture of rose wine, tequila, pureed guava, strawberry syrup, the juices of pineapple and lime, and as well as mint leaves.
The Sangria Blanco, on the other hand, is made of Savignon blanc, vodka, the juices of lime, apple and lychee, and basil leaves.
Lastly, the Fortress Sangria combines red wine, brandy, grenadine, the juices of orange, lemon and lime, cinnamon and lemonade.
Lightweights like me, take heart! You do have the option to request the bar staff for virgin versions of your chosen drinks. That way, you can enjoy all the fruity flavors without the alcohol. (Plus, better for you if you’re driving afterwards. Remember, don’t drink and drive.)
Feeling a little adventurous? Try mixing your own sangria from the mixing station beside the bar. Some of our group did and while the results of their efforts ranged from delish to disquieting (and oh, the names we came up with for those concoctions!), the experience of mixing your own drink (or watching someone else make the attempt) is not to be missed.
We enjoyed our drinks together with the tapas, small servings of tasty Spanish cuisine, expertly prepared by Sabor’s own chefs Josh Mara and Glenn Estrella which include:
Smoked Salmon Roulade (Php350) – A scrumptious roll of made of dill, cream cheese and sun-dried tomato with capaers – mandarin sauce wrapped in homemade smoked salmon.
Mushroom Croquette (Php350) – A mixture of finely chopped Porcini, Portobello and Button mushrooms, covered with a crunchy layer of breadcrumbs and accompanied by a blue cheese sauce.
Beetroot Arancini (Php350) – Crunchy crumb-crusted balls stuffed with marinated beetroot (hence the pink color of the filling) accompanied by goat cheese fondue.
Galician Empanada (Php350) – Galician style empanada stuffed with marinated chicken and herbs.
Sauteed Chorizo in Red Wine (Php350) – Sliced Spanish chorizo sauteed in red wine, herbs and red onion, served rosemary focaccia.
Gambas al Ajillo (Php350) – Delectable shrimps served in a Spanish style sauce flavored with lemon, paprika, olive oil, white wine, parsley and chili flakes, then served with tomato focaccia.
Selection of Cheese (Php690) – An assortment of cheese accompanied by crackers, nuts, Taggiasca olives and radish. Here’s a tip: After tasting the cheese, a bit of the sangria jelly can help freshen the palate.
Bitter Ballen aka Dutch Meatballs (Php350) – A mixture of veal, chopped parsley and onion covered in bread crumbs and served with mustard.
Tiramisu the Classic Way (Php250) – Amaretto-flavored mascarpone cheese layered with coffee-soaked lady fingers and topped with cocoa powder, a fitting cap to the meal!
Sabor’s tapas are varied with complex flavors and well-presented with a continental flair but can still be appreciated by those with a decidedly Pinoy palate. For instance, some guests do request for rice to go with their flavorful chorizos or gambas dishes (to take full advantage of those flavorful sauces and drippings), and who’s to say that it’s wrong to enjoy your food that way?
The combination of the wine and food served turned our group from a bunch of relative strangers into a fun and boisterous crowd by the night’s end which just goes to show how good food, good drinks and good company make for a great time.
Sabor Bar de Vinos is located at the Ground Floor of Novotel Manila Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. It is open from 5pm to 2am, Tuesdays to Saturdays. For reservations and inquiries, call + 63 2 990 7888.
Disclosure: Together with other foodies and bloggers, I was invited to attend a food and wine-tasting at this wine bar. All the food and beverage items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.
Check out my reviews of other bars and watering holes in the Metro: