Amid the flurry of flamenco dancers and lively Spanish music, a buffet-type selection of pintxos remained the highlight of the evening at Tomar Wine and Tapas Bar, the newest addition to Amorita Resort’s dining concepts. The seaside cliff resort’s renovation and expansion has resulted in sleek lines, earthy chic interiors, and an additional 4.4 hectares of land from 1.2 hectares in 2007. Only minutes from Tagbilaran airport, Amorita (“little love” in Spanish) and its secluded location on the southern edge of Alona Beach seem a world away from the rest of Bohol. The latest development in its refurbishment is a cozy, dimmed space within the sleek new Saffron complex that is a welcome addition to its food and beverage offerings.
The facade of Saffron
Complemented by a carefully selected wine and whisky list—Amorita CEO Nicky Cauton III had originally envisioned a whisky bar in Tomar’s place, only to return from a vacation in a Spain with a completely different dining concept in mind—Tomar, which means “to take” in Spanish, employs a sea-to-table practice that is conveniently helped by its proximity to the sea. Only the freshest bounty caught daily make it to the kitchen helmed by chef Raphael Ongchiang: The sea urchin in the baked scallops’ uni crust is sourced in Bohol, as are the octopus, fish, and shrimp that are found in the other types of pintxos on the menu. Says Ongchiang, “I wanted it to taste like the sea.”
An assortment of pintxos
Inside Tomar Tapas and Wine Bar
Crafting his recipes based purely on research and his own experiences of eating out in Manila, Ongchiang’s take on tapas, paellas, and pintxos are conventional, save for a few welcome twists. For instance, instead of using olive oil, as the Spanish can be counted on to do, Ongchiang substitutes butter, a product of his training in French cuisine. “For me, laging masarap ang butter,” he explains. “I wanted half of the menu to be traditional, with the remaining being my own version of Spanish food. None of the recipes here are a hundred percent traditional, but they are classic enough.” amoritaresort.com.