Two friends united by their passion for food traveled their way to find the perfect formula in order to come up with an Italian cuisine that would best suit the Filipino taste. Thus, the establishment of Basilico Restaurant.
Basilico derived its name from the word "basil"- a commonly used herb in Italian cuisines. Don't expect authentic Italian dishes as Basilico is an Italian-inspired restaurant that infuses extraordinary flavors and taste to Italian classic dishes.
We were privileged to try out this humble place in Pasig where we rarely pay a visit. We were unfamiliar and hesitant with the place giving us second thoughts if it was worth the drive.
At first, parking was a problem as there was no parking area around. We were lucky enough to get a spot in front of the establishment on a Monday night.
Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed by Renelee Javonillo, co-owner of Basilico Restaurant, who recommended most of their best-selling food items on their menu.
Chicken Peperoncino (P215)
A must-try in visiting Basilico is their Chicken Peperoncino which is their own version of baked chicken wings in special Java-Cayenne Pepper Sauce. It was a love at first bite when I sinked my teeth into these crispy coated wings bursting with sweet and nutty taste. Plus, a tad of spice coming from the cayenne pepper making it extra flavorful.
Chicken Cajun ala Carbonara (P190)
Chicken Cajun ala Carbonara is a special recipe of Renelee Javonillo, who happened to like tomato-based over white cream-based sauce on his pasta. Quite ironic right? But he came up with this dish to create a not-so-creamy based pasta which he and all other tomato-based pasta lovers will surely love.
This dish is not your usual carbonara. The spice from the Cajun overpowers the creaminess of the white sauce making it more seasoned and less likely for diners to easily lose their appetite.
We were overwhelmed by the taste of Basilico's Pasta Arrabiatta. I'm more of the white-based sauce fan than tomato-based lover but this dish definitely took our heart away. All of us agreed that this is the highlight of our Basilico experience. Words can't fully express how satisfying this plate was; however, I would define it as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Penne with fresh herbs and a blend of freshly stewed tomato puree with chili, cayenne and white pepper produced an explosion of flavors to this healthy Italian plate. With the red wine reduction sauce, it adds a rich and bitter-sweet finish to this Pasta Arrabiatta.
Baby Back Ribs (P250)
I was anticipating for this oven-barbecued American pork ribs in sweet and tangy steak sauce as described on their menu. However, I was a bit disappointed on how the baby back ribs looked like. It was served in a bright red sauce that resembles with my favorite tocino and the rib part wasn't that meaty and chunky at all.
It also comes with freshly mashed potato and corn and carrots on the side which can also be substituted with their very own Basilico rice.
Moving on with Basilico's freshly made and oven-baked pizzas, they served us with 2 different pizza flavors-Funghi and White Pizza. Their pizza dough are made with dried spices and herbs such as basil and oregano to make it tastier and heartier.
Funghi Pizza (P300) & White Pizza (P250)
The Funghi Pizza is topped with mozzarella, stewed tomatoes, beef and triple mushrooms (Shiitake, Oyster and Champignon) served in a thin crust pizza dough freshly made everyday.
The White Pizza, on the other hand, is topped with triple cheese (Mozarella, Parmigiano and Cheddar) in white cream sauce, also served in thin crust dough.
My personal favorite is the White Pizza which is rich and creamy that comes with a delightful smell from the truffle oil. But, as I finish my slice, my enthusiasm for this flavor started to decrease mainly due to the heavy taste of cream and cheese. We were then given a small serving of Basilico's home made chili oil which is made from three kinds of chili (chili, cayenne and white pepper) and basil to balance and give a contrasting flavor to the pizza.
As for the Funghi, I love the taste of the Shiitake mushrooms that gave a woodsy and earthy smell to the pizza. The stewed tomato puree and bits of onions gave this dish a sweet-tasting flavor that complements the sharp taste of the shiitake mushrooms.
You may ask to have 2 flavors in every order of Basilico's pizza and they will gladly accommodate your request. Basilico is all about customization for customers who wants to explore more flavors without hurting their pocket.
Basilico Red Velvet Iced Tea (P40), Basilico Apple Cola (P35), Mango Cream (P60)
As for refreshments, we were served with Basilico Iced Tea- a frothy house blend iced tea that comes in your choice of Basic Black, Zen Green, Red Velvet, Apple Cinnamon, or Green Tea with Mint. All of their teas are green tea-based and not too sweet like the regular iced tea.
I've tried the Red Velvet that's refreshingly mellow and very light tasting. If you're wondering how it taste like, imagine a flavored water with a fruity and berry-like aftertaste.
The Basilico Apple Cola is a healthy alternative to your regular soda. Healthy because it contains less sugar and is basically your typical apple juice turned into sparkling soda in seconds.
The Mango Cream is ice-blended cream with mango juice, milk and vanilla syrup. It was like mango puree that was a bit milky and creamy but still refreshingly sweet.
Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake (solo-P200)
For dessert, we got Basilico's best-seller Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake which is made out of Swiss Dark Chocolate and Amaretto.
It was intentionally coated unevenly with dark chocolate ganache topped with chocolate chips to present a home-made and uncommercialized dessert.
Doesn't look like your regular cheesecake?
Check this out.
Inside this Swiss chocolate decadence lies a thick and and rich cheesecake that makes this solo dessert filling for a person. The bottom layer of this cake is made of chocolate brownie that is moist and dense at the same time. The bitter-sweet taste from the Amaretto gives off a subtle hint of almond flavor to every bite.
Basilico Restaurant offers an all-natural selection that uses olive oil in their dishes. They cater not only to walk-in customers but also to corporate offices who are interested in party packages and caterings. Their packages range from P250-P1000 per person depending on their customers' budget. As for deliveries, they charge no delivery fee as long as customers meet their minimum total bill requirement depending on the client's location.
Overall, we were surprised with Basilico's offerings that were incredibly delicious and yet affordable. Every dish that was served on the table has it's own uniqueness and twist to it.
Our visit to their branch was truly worth the trip. I must say this was a hidden gem discovery in Pasig and we are all looking forward to their second branch that will soon open in Quezon City.