Two weeks ago, I was invited by Planet Grapes to visit their restaurant at the new River Park area of Festival Supermall in Alabang. I initially thought I would be visiting, tasting some wine, getting a little educated about it and then will be well on my way. To my surprise, they actually wanted me to stay, have a wonderful lunch with Gab while tasting some wine. How could I say no? Food? Yes, please. Wine? Oh, YES YES YES PLEASE.
Planet Grapes caters to anyone who wants to enjoy wine without the drama. What does that mean? Well, basically Planet Grapes wants to change the stereotype that usually comes with wine and the people who drink it. For as long as I can remember, wine has always had this stigma that it’s an expensive drink that only the lips of the high class can touch. I always hated that. Sure, wine can get a bit expensive, but there are the affordable ones too; and I absolutely abhor anyone who judges anyone else for drinking cheaper wine — We call these people the wine snobs, the ones who judge anyone else for not drinking wine that’s up to their standards.
The great news is that at Planet Grapes, wine snobs aren’t really welcome. Planet Grapes is a place for people like you and me, for budding wine enthusiasts who can discover wine, one grape at a time, with no anxiety or judgment. They also host and hold wine events that veer from the traditional black collar galas, making wine tasting fun! Their past events were quirky and creative like anti-Valentine’s Day and Hallowine! So cute!
Planet Grapes is a restaurant that looks quite pricey/upscale (I guess it’s because of all the wine bottles around!) but is really casual, has an industrial touch in design/interior, and their music playlist goes really well with the overall ambience of the restaurant — something I noticed most restaurants tend to neglect. There’s nothing worse than eating somewhere that plays horrible music that doesn’t fit the place. It’s a pet peeve of mine.
Upstairs you’ll find the wine cellar with a vast array of different wines from around the world, an intimidating but wonderful sight to me. Up until this point, I’ve only tried wine like Asti, Arbor Mist or Yellowtail and the occasional expensive French wine I would have during family dinners on Christmas Eve. That’s about as far as my knowledge goes when it comes to wine.
When you enter the establishment, you’re greeted with something that looks like wine vending machine or fridge. I later learned that it’s exactly that, a wine fridge AND a wine dispenser that can keep your wine fresh for at least 2 whole weeks instead of the typical few days in any ordinary refrigerator. Customers can buy a card worth Php 1,000 that allows you to try different kinds of wine in sip glasses, or half and full options. This is perfect for anyone who is starting out with wines, or if you know anyone who’s a wine enthusiast, it would make the perfect gift to get them. I plan to get myself a card soon, so you know I’ll probably be back :-)
Planet Grapes’s wine dispenser with 7 varieties of wine, they change the selection every week or so. This dispenser allows their customers to have their fill of wine starting at a price of Php 70 for a 38ml sip. This amount is perfect for someone like me who’s starting out with getting to know wine, simply because I like drinking little of it, and because I have low alcohol tolerance. Haha
Here I am with Lucas, who is teaching me how to work the dispenser and get some wine for myself. You just place the wine glass underneath the nozzle, press a button et voilà! A sip of wine for moi! I’m trying out Crane Lake Gewurztraminer from California, which is a white wine. Just so you know, I’m a white wine kind of girl ;-)
What we ordered: Spare ribs with a side of onion fritters & a cheese platter
Silly me forgot to ask what kind of cheeses we had, but they were all good and not a piece was left on that wooden board.
The spare ribs were absolutely delicious, perfect combination of sweet and tangy, the meat is soft and slides off the bone effortlessly, and it was tender and juicy. Just thinking about it now is making me crave really bad.
I looooove onions. I especially loved this onion fritters side dish that came with the spare ribs. They were light, a little sweet, and not at all greasy.
After the first course Gab & I shared, I ordered another glass of wine, this time red, named Folie A Deux Zinfandel.
Lucas taught me the 3 S’s of wine: See, Smell and Sip! I’m still getting the hang of it, but basically the most important thing I learned that day was the sipping part. I used to just sip wine and swallow it, like I would with any normal drink. Good wine actually offers you different tastes, so it would be a waste not to appreciate that, especially considering the amount of time and effort it takes to make them!
Wine tasting includes sight and smell because through these senses you’re able to distinguish what kind of wine is made from what kind of grape, and so on and so forth — but I think this is expert mode, and probably maybe why most people are intimidated by wine! My favorite part of learning was the “sip” wherein you swish the sip of wine around your mouth for a few seconds so the insides of your mouth is introduced to all the different flavors the wine has to offer. It’s actually a very effective way to appreciate the wine and all the flavors you’ll taste in the process. :)
Of course, the three S’s is just for the first tasting, as I think it would be a little weird to swish the wine in your mouth each time you drink. haha
Quail eggs glazed with tangy barbecue sauce
Now, here’s what I love about Planet Grapes, they want people to be introduced to the idea that wine doesn’t necessarily have to be paired with specific kinds of expensive food. This is why in their menu, you’ll find entries that are usually paired with casual drinks like beer. Their unique concept is “street food meets wine”, which is a little more upscale than your normal street food (I mean, obviously.) but still stays true to the essence of what street food is.
After my main course, I decided to order the classic Filipino street food, quail eggs & squid balls, with Planet Grapes’s own twist, both of which went really well with my red wine.
Squid balls with a sweet & chili sauce in the side. I love squid balls, although the sauce was a little too spicy for my liking, so I hardly touched it (the sauce, the squid balls I scarfed down haha)
Is this making you crave for street food yet? It’s 11:30PM as I’m writing this and there’s nothing more than I want now except for this.
Our dessert was Turon Trilogy glazed with a langka coulis, recommended to us by Lucas, it tasted really great! I’m not a fan of langka, but I didn’t mind with this dessert dish.
My lunch with Planet Grapes was probably one of the greatest lunches I’ve had in a while! If I could grade the restaurant, I would give it an A+. Gab and I were extremely pleased with the amazing food, the selection of wine, the knowledgable staff, the great service (a major factor for me, I’m glad to say I never had to ask for water once because the staff was attentive enough to notice when I needed a refill), not to mention the chill and relaxing ambiance, all of which when put together makes for the perfect dining experience. :-)
If you’re interested in learning more about wine, then Planet Grapes is definitely the establishment for you to frequent. They’ll be holding wine tasting workshops and other events too, so it’ll be really fun to learn and even meet other wine enthusiasts! To stay updated with Planet Grapes and what they have in store for us, you may check their Facebook page at http://facebook.com/PlanetGrapes or follow them on Instagram (http://instagram.com/planet_grapes)
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Planet Grapes, however, all thoughts & opinions on this review is solely my own.