Pork Dinner at Brewerkz

IMG_0090 It’s that time again where our bunch of Makankakis organized a special dinner at the wonderful group of restaurants at Riverside Point that consists of Cafe Iguana, Brewerkz and Wine Garage. The menu and wine tweaking took a few weeks and unlike the other dinner I attended, this dinner really featured items that are truly not on the regular menu. This blog found this out later when talking to the Chef.

It all started at a dinner at Azhang’s when Treys, the Corporate Beverage Director for the group started talking about bringing in wines from the US and doing a wine tasting. Naturally, this blossomed into a full-blown wine dinner at Brewerkz with Dan Durkin, the Executive Chef for the restaurant group, cooking. And deary deary me, he can really cook.

Before I continue, I just want to point out that in that whole area from Riverside point to Robertson Quay, there is only one ATM nearby and that is in Liang Court. The next nearest is at the Ministry of Manpower. And would you believe that Central has only one ATM (HSBC). This blog went huffing and puffing and found that out from the very helpful folks at Starbucks, Central.

Moving on, the dinner started quite late at 9pm with a Hors d’oeuvres with the theme of Bacon. Originally, I requested crispy bacon on thick bacon wrapped with some back bacon, but this proved to be unpopular. Alas. Anyway, we had bacon-wrapped Asparagus, pork patty (with Mayo) and a few slices of pork sweet meats grilled so that it tasted like tasty Bakkwa.

Amuse of Bacon

This blog was seated next to an aspiring entrepreneur in the field of education. She was going to start something in training. We chatted about the benefits of the International Baccalaurate System (offered at some schools here), which I think is wonderful because of the project-based style which forces the students to interact socially and “professionally” and do presentations while they are very young.

At this point the Tea smoked Mussels with Parma Ham appeared suddenly. I think everyone was so stunned at the starkness and simplicity of the presentation that we stared at the plate for a while, trying to arrive at some context with which to deconstruct the heady aromas.

Tea Smoked Mussels with Parma Ham

We gave up and started chewing each fat mussel from the skewer.

Slightly tight (taut?) to the bite. It was dry, but pleasantly so, with the heavy smokiness imparting a sweet aftertaste on the lips like a clove cigarette. Or for those who do not smoke, the “Kam” after taste you get after a cup of very fine tea. The bed of Spinach that came with it, I felt, provided a deliciously bright counterpoint to the heaviness of the mussels.

One of the main attractions, for this blog at least, was the Cuban Sandwich. This is the Sandwich of Legend. The Holy Grail of Submarine Sandwiches. Roast Pork, Ham, Dill Pickles and Cheese toasted and flattened in either Cuban bread or Panini. This blog is getting hungry just typing this.

So you can understand the utter and absolute dismay of this blog when it arrived.

Cuban Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

It was too small. This blog straightaway made a loud protest. Fortunately, there were other people who’ve experience the Cuban Sammich love and supported the suggestion that it should be bigger and should be on the menu.

Nevertheless, the Cuban Sandwich was outstanding. The flavours of pork, ham, dill pickle and melted cheese (Monterey Jack, I think) was delicately balanced.

Also, I think the Sweet Potato Fries that came with it was wonderfully crisp, sweet and so addictive that it should carry a warning label.

Cuban Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

The conversation at this time shifted to what was missing in the present education system. This blog thought for a moment, and this blog, being a food blog that blogs about food, suggested the introduction of institutionalized dinners in schools.

A lot of our social interaction, since the beginning of time, is done with the sharing of food and drink. Think about it: when you go out with friends, where do you usually end up?

Unfortunately, as Dim Sum Dolly found out, not everyone is equipped with the necessary social skills. So training and education in that area is a good thing. Eating with your elbows thrust out like chicken wings is not.

And sexual harassment is definitely a no-no. Anywhere.

By this time, everyone was a little hungry, so we were eagerly awaiting the Rum-cured beef salad.

Salad of Rum Cured Beef

On it’s own, the sliced beef was overly salty and pungent as my neighbour discovered to her shock. However, that’s what the mint, alfalfa sprouts and grilled pineapple was for. Using the mint leaves to wrap everything up, the flavours all came together in a strong but cohesive package; the strong salty beef rum was toned down by the “raw” taste of the Alfalfa and the sweetness of the grilled pineapple with the mint providing a harmonizing background.

It was an integration of the different strong flavours that worked.

The Confit of Pig Leg (isn’t that a charming description?) came just when this blog was comfortably full. However, looking at the deliciously browned exterior and the pink interior, a effort had to be made to just sample it. For research’s sake, you know.

Grilled Confit of Pig Leg

Like all good confits, it was slightly dry and salty but extremely flavourful. The flavours of the pork was preserved in the flesh and was more intense. This blog almost could not finish it, especially when friends from around placed their share on my plate.


It was a very warm and balmy night so sitting outdoors was no fun but then there were 20 of us. The wines were really good and fun because the American wines were paired with French as a way of comparison. I am pleased to say that the Americans held their ground. Service, as usual, was good and friendly.

Dinner with friends is always fun. Especially when one of them is preparing a special meal, not on the menu.

Cristom Pinot Noir

Posted on 15th Mar 2007 in Food and Drink, Makankaki, Meat, Puerto Rican


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