November 20, 2008

Dinelli, a new deli-cafe in Q.C. (and a word about TARA)

LIKE your salami and pepperoni? how about some prosciutto, sausages and delicate cheeses from Europe and Australia?

If you live in Q.C. like I do, you probably go to Santi's for these delicatessen items, as well as their steak cuts and bottled goods. I have no complaints about Santi's and continue to pay for their items through my nose. Yup, they are expensive but like I said, I always thought I was getting my money's worth. I don't have to fly all the way to Switzerland just to get a block of gruyere.

Well a new deli just opened on the opposite end of Timog Ave. called Dinelli, owned by Rep. Eric Singson of Ilocos Sur, and managed by his daughter Kristine Singson Meehan and husband Anthony Meehan. I was invited to its official launch last Tuesday, Nov. 18 by boy wonder, Chef Robby Goco, who designed the menu of this deli-cum-cafe.

At first glance, the prices of its deli items looked about 10% lower than Santi's, although I wasn't able to inspect all 'cos the entire place was in a frenzy. Space was tight, and everyone was talking while eating and drinking. But according to Pinky Mendoza, director of sales and operations of Dinelli, they are getting their goods directly from suppliers instead of consolidators which helps the establishment cut down on expenses. (If her name sounds familiar, yes, Pinky used to be w/ the other deli.)

The dishes on the cafe's menu seemed affordable as well even by Q.C. standards. (My friend Pangs had his doubts, but I assured him that there were enough rich folk in Q.C. who support good food.) I haven't eaten a full meal at the cafe so I can't assess its dishes just yet. Although so far, Robby's concoctions in his own Cyma as well as other restaurants he has worked with, have yet to let me down. I intend to have lunch there next week and will give you the lowdown.

We enjoyed the various hors d'oeuvres served during the event which used ingredients sold at the deli (e.g. slices of wagyu beef on polenta, halibut on toasted french bread, creme brulee w/ chocolate mint discs, etc.) as well as the red and white wine selections w/c were flowing the entire night.

(Pinky Mendoza and Rep. Eric Singson)

Other products sold at the deli include Australian wagyu, various lamb cuts, black angus; free range chicken; lumpfish black caviar from Norway; Chilean seabass and Halibut from Norway; foie gras from France; and as I mentioned earlier, sausages, hams, as well as cheeses from Europe and Australia.

There is also a wide array of bottled condiments like vinegars, olive oil, whole peeled tomatoes, and kalamata olives, canned zucchinis, chocolates, etc. Almost everything that a home cook or chef may require. I will personally go back to pick up some wagyu and halibut, and I've already been looking up the various recipes I can experiment w/ for the fish. Wish me luck!

Oh did I mention Dinelli also has a small selection of wines? I promise to inspect the wine section further and tell you about it as well.

Dinelli is located on #5 Timog Ave., Q.C. across St. Peter's Church and near the old Circle Theater. Tel. No. 666-3544.

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BTW, the hosts for the night were our own Philippine team to The Amazing Race Asia, Tisha Silang and Geoff Rodriguez. I didn't really know them but I was kapal anyway to blurt out to Geoff who was standing about 5 feet away from us, if they won the race. Of course he didn't want to say but was very good natured about it.

Geoff was actually very friendly, surprisingly, considering how he managed to rub off the other contestants the wrong way w/ his seeming arrogance. Siguro, he was just under too much pressure to win. After all, we all know what happened our team last year, right? (Boo-hoo)

(Geoff Rodriguez and Kristine Singson Meehan)

But he, and even Tisha, were very nice and sounded sincere. They accepted our good wishes for the show (but it was kinda weird; we were wishing them luck when the race was actually over weeks ago, ngek). Huy she's very sexy ha. So thin. Kainggit. (Of course, if she spent part of her time scouring and buying from delis like I do, she wouldn't be so slim haha.) Lurved her pumps. Sorry, I wasn't able to take her photo, only of Geoff, and it didn't even do him justice. Too much libation on my end. Oof! my apologies man. He is actually much cuter in person.

Geoff was even almost apologetic that he didn't look Pinoy enough to represent the country. So to make up for it, I guess he wore all those very cool Pinoy-themed shirts all throughout the show w/c he said were available at Team Manila at Powerplant in Rockwell Makati.

Anyway, watch TARA tonight. It's the finale show. I'm rooting for them.

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UPDATE: Tish and Geoff came in second place. Not a bad showing. Congratulations are still in order. Maybe next year, Team Philippines will come in first.


kikas_head said...

Yea! Thank you for this info! I do shop frequently at Santis so it is great to hear there is another option here without having to go all the way to Makati. I will definitely check it out! It is even better to hear that their prices might be slightly lower than Santis as we have taken to shipping certain items (i.e., dried porcini & parmesan--we use both A LOT) from the states.

It always throws me for a loop that I can have a product that was made in Italy, bought in the US (retail), and then shipped to me here will still work out less expensive than if I buy it retail myself locally here. Are import taxes really high here?

Stella Arnaldo said...

Yes, import taxes are still high. If I'm not mistaken, importers pay anywhere from 3-30% on imported foods and condiments, aside from a 15% value-added tax.

If you leave in QC, there is actually a Santi's along Timog across Piandre salon, and of course, now there's Dinelli.

Also, I only recently discovered that SM Hypermart at The Block, North Edsa now sells hard-to-find veggies like portobello mushrooms, as well as imported foods.

Landmark at the Trinoma has a wide array of imported condiments at reasonable prices, and of course, Rustan's Supermarkets will have the hard-to-find stuff as well, but priced excessively. S&R too is a good source of imported ingredients although you pay a premium.

Btw, I read your blog post on your Thanksgiving dinner. I think I saw cranberries once in Rustan's. You should also try Salcedo Market in Makati. Then again there is the canned cranberry jelly, w/c has always worked fine for our turkey dinners here :)

Glad to be of help and do drop by my blog again. Good luck in your Thanksgiving turkey.

Anonymous said...

Been to Dinelli twice and I find the selection rather poorly chosen. Amateurish even. And did you know that some of the distributors actually sent stuff for the opening cocktails and THESE WERE NOT SERVED TO THE GUESTS? Kakahiya if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

I've been to dinelli a few times already. I found the place to be quiet a new fresh take on some of the older deli's here in manila. The products are quiet complete, I think they have done a very good job, the food and staff are so friendly to. I wish them all the best.

canDIshhh said...

I had such a bad dining experience there last weekend!!

Bad service! Food wasn't that great either!

I don't think I'll go back - unless they improve their customer service.