I haven’t been too present in the blogosphere but once in a while, I get to sneak out of work and try new places with fellow blog-folk. When Aldous invited me to join and sample the dishes Universe Gastrolounge, I just had to be there.
I learned that Universe was Opus re-branded, owned and managed by the same group. Never went to Opus so I have absolutely no point of reference BUT I did know that Chef Aracama handled food so I had great expectations. (This is because of the time I had a shoot at Republiq and they fed us Korean Steak Tacos which were awesome. So I asked the waiter who the chef was and he said Aracama and I was loyal forever.)
When I stepped in I thought Universe looked pretty cool. It had a comfortable lounge vibe with exposed brick walls, those neon scripty lights and a huge chalk wall. We were about 6 bloggers there so it was an intimate event with a whole lot of food. I didn’t get to try everything and since there was just so much but so I’ll write about the stuff I particularly enjoyed in more detail.
I don’t particularly enjoy white bread but I liked the Black Bikini. It’s a grilled sandwich with prosciutto, truffle jam and cheese. This is something I’d want to recreate at home.
We were served other sandwiches too like the Patty Melt and the Monte Cristo Benedict. But since my bread quota was up, I just had the potato chips and garlic aioli.
For starters, we also had Chicken Cobb Salad, Mixed Mushroom Dip and Patatas Bravas.
I was surprised to find that they served sushi! First non-Japanese place I tried that dished out sushi.
Featuring the Electric Eel, Futo Wacky and the Crunchy Caterpillar.
When it comes to pizza, I feel that the ones with the fewest ingredients work best. The Italian Sausage pizza they served was topped with just crumbly Italian sausage and roasted garlic – all soft and paste-y.
If you’re into more American flavors, the BBQ Chicken pizza was alright as well.
We had the BLT (Bacon, Linguine & Truffle) Pasta as well as the Linguine Vongole. I don’t know why but I honestly don’t enjoy linguine noodles so I thought that the pasta was just OK.
For mains, I thought the best thing they had was the Café Rep’s Crispy Bagnet Pork Belly which was served on a bed of kimchi rice with lechon sauce. I could eat kimchi rice with anything but honestly, the bagnet was a winner. Easily the best dish on the menu.
Hesitant to try the Meatloaf and Gravy at first, my curiosity got the best of me. It wasn’t half bad. Paired with the mashed potatoes and gravy, it felt like eating a block shaped burger steak.
The Boneless Beef Riblets tasted exactly like the chicken on the BBQ Chicken Pizza so like I said, if you’re really into the American BBQ taste – go for it.
Dessert was a favorite for everyone, I think. The Trailer Park Monte Cristo is a deep fried, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This doesn’t look like much but it was so good I had to stop myself from devouring the entire plate.
They served us the Banana Foster Sundae as well which I didn’t get to try cause I was already guilty for having the Monte Cristo. Looked good though!
If I found myself back at Universe or in the midst of friends who just want to go out and party, I’d take comfort sitting out and eating. They don’t call it a Gastrolounge for nothing.