Robert Spakowski Is The Chef Behind Tapella's Success


Robert Spakowski

I was walking along Greenbelt 5 one hungry lunch time heading towards Tapella not really knowing what to expect from this Spanish restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted by the wait staff and was seated at the comfy far end. And then a tall, very foreign-looking chef approached me.  As I was scrambling for my English, he spoke Tagalog. And that was the start of an interesting conversation.

Robert Spakowski is the executive chef of Tapella Tapas Bar and Restaurant, a restaurant known for its tapas and paella. Chef Robert is a mix of Polish, Spanish, American, Lebanese and though he is not convinced a bit of Chinese. He grew up in the Philippines and he said he really made sure he knows how to speak the Filipino language fluently.

Tapella was established in 2009. When the owner of the restaurant passed away, the former executive chef who was the wife of the owner decided to move back to Spain. In October 2014, Chef Robert took over. 

Robert Spakowski was one of the first batch of graduates at the Center for Culinary Arts in 1999. When I asked him if being a chef is what he wanted when he was growing up, he told me that he really wanted to be a scientist and cooking is just a hobby. Chef Robert was eleven years old when he was first introduced to Japanese cuisine. He also worked at Chef's Secret. It was during chef Robert's random visit in Shanghai that he got to work out of the kitchen. He became a general manager of a 300-seat Italian restaurant in Beijing. He also held the post of the Executive Chef and Consultant of Planet Caviar in Shanghai, a Michelin-star restaurant from Switzerland. Chef Robert has also trained for a while in Spain but it was at the International Culinary Center in New York where he got most of his culinary training.

Chef Robert asked me how hungry I am. I said, I haven't had my first meal of the day yet. Check out what he prepared.

Mixed Greens with Candied Walnuts and Goat Cheese at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Mixed Greens with Candied Walnuts and Goat Cheese with Tamarind Balsamic Dressing
Ensalada con nueces y queso de cabra con aliƱo de tamarindo PhP200

I usually start my meal with a salad. Chef Robert's salad made my taste buds celebrate. The marriage of sweetness from the candied walnuts, the saltiness of the goat cheese, the nutty bitter taste of the greens and the interesting hint of sourness of the dressing was such a treat.

Mango Gazpacho with Salmon Roe and Crab at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Mango Gazpacho with Salmon Roe and Crab
Gazpacho de mango con huevas de salmon y cangrejo PhP175

It's my first time to try gazpacho. The texture, the taste, the burst of the salmon roe was a wonderful experience.  The gazpacho was delicious. I'm not into cold soup though. 

Marinated Fresh Anchovies at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Marinated Fresh Anchovies
Boquerones al vinagre PhP350

A different take on the ceviche. Tapella's Marinated Fresh Anchovies will further amp your appetite.

Sisig, Sausage and Egg on a Bed of Shoestring Potatoes at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Sisig, Sausage and Egg on a bed of Shoe String Potatoes
Huevos con morcilla sisig PhP275

Chef Robert's interesting twist to the Pinoy Sisig. New on the menu, this crunchy shoe string potatoes topped with sisig, sausage and egg is a complete meal itself. 

Truffle Cream Pasta at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Truffle Cream Pasta
Spaghetti a la crema de trufa PhP395

This new creamy pasta dish is so simple yet very flavorful. One of my favorite among the dishes served by chef Robert.

Garlic Sauteed Shrimps at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Garlic Sauteed Shrimps
Gambas al ajillo PhP375

How do you say no to shrimp? I'm allergic but I can't resist to taste this. Simple. Delicious. 

Beef Salpicado Chef's Way at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Beef Salpicado, Chef's Way
Salpicado a mi manera PhP425

Tender. Flavorful. Especially prepared by Chef Robert. Need I say more?

Red Snapper in a white wine parsley sauce with mussels and mushrooms at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Red Snapper in a White Wine Parsley Sauce with Mussels and Mushrooms
Maya-maya salsa verde con mejillones PhP550

I fell in love with this dish. I just don't want this for sharing! All mine. 

Seafood Paella at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Seafood Paella
Paella di marisco PhP700

I'm dreaming of paella as I write this article. If you are in the Greenbelt area, lucky you! Head over to Tapella and indulge. And say hi to chef Robert for me.

And then came the steak...

Certified Angus Beef at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Certified Angus Beef Prime Rib Grilled Villagodio-style
Chuleton Villagodio PhP475/100 grams (minimum of 600 grams)

Certified Angus Beef at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

The steak was cooked on the table. The wait staff can assist you or you can cook it yourself to your desired doneness. Side dishes were served but I always like to eat my steak with just salt and pepper. 

Chocolate Lava Cake at Tapella by Robert Spakowski

Chocolate Lava Cake
Tarta con Lave de Chocolate PhP150

A great meal deserves a happy ending. I wouldn't mind the extra calories I'll gain from eating this Chocolate Lava Cake. 

Tapella Tapas Bar and Restaurant
Level 1, Greenbelt 5, 
Ayala Center, Makati City

Tapella by Gaudi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato