Having conquered Greek food, he moves on to Mexican cuisine with Achiote. He tells us about his new venture and shares a few of his favorite food sources.By: Jing Lejano
Having conquered Greek food with eight branches of Cyma, the chef moves on to Mexican cuisine with Achiote. He tells us about his new venture and shares a few of his favorite food sources.
Click to see his Greek dishes: Robby Goco's recipes
Where do you usually shop for food?
At S&L Fine Foods on Yakal Street in Makati for olive oil and cheeses. The owner is a very good friend of mine. I tell him, "Anywhere in the world, I eat lamb and it's good. How come it's not good here?" It’s because the lamb we eat locally is lamb raised for wool. So he gets lamb for me—that's how our relationship is. I want better products and he sources them for me. I get vegetables like fennel and arugula from Tagaytay. Somebody plants them for me. For seafood, I go to Farmers Market. I get wild shrimp, not farm-raised ones.
What are your favorite ingredients?
Extra virgin oil is the base of everything I cook. Garlic. Italian flat-leaf parsley or the Mediterranean parsley—I use it on my pasta, I turn it into a salad, I make a relish with it. I put it on everything.
How do you go about creating dishes?
I look for inspiration. For our new Cyma in Malate, which is in Manila, I thought of how Manila comes from Maynilad, which is water. That led me to think about water lily, then watercress. So I came up with a watercress salad. A lot of people are saying that it might beat my Roka Salata, which, they say, is the best salad in Manila.
Tell us about your new restaurant.
It's not an authentic Mexican restaurant because you can only call it authentic if you cook it in Mexico and use 100 percent Mexican ingredients. For me, it's about using the freshest ingredients possible and using the techniques they do in Mexico. Why call it Achiote? Because it's the only ingredient that's available in Mexico and available in the Philippines that’s completely similar to each other, so we start from there—the simple, humble achuete.
What can diners look forward to at Achiote?
My torta, my Mexican sandwich. It starts off with the bolillos, the Mexican French bread, and then carnitas, black beans, avocado, and epasote, which is like a Mexican arugula. I have my burritos. We're not going to be serving the biggest burritos, but the freshest burritos.
What is your comfort food?
A properly seasoned, really well roasted chicken.
Achiote Mexican Taqueria is at G/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City.
Photography by Miguel Nacianceno