I had heard some buzz of late regarding the newly-opened CALDERON Spanish tapas resto in San Juan, and was keen to check it out. Subsequently, i made dinner plans with immensely likeable JNY, and we decided to go here.
The signage outside is bright, attractive, and you absolutely can't miss the place. The interiors were subdued, yet quite tastefully decorated; and i felt comfortable immediately inside.
The menu of Calderon isn't as extensive as expected, and the two of us were unsure if we could finish the Paella Negra or Paella Valenciana, so we decided to stick to the small-sized dishes.
First up was the Bacalao ala Vizcaina (PHP280.00). Being busy with our conversation, JNY and i temporarily forgot what we had ordered, and were rather unsure what it was.
Eventually, we figured out it was the bacalao. Mixed reviews for this dish - the flavor was good (for me), but we agreed the fish was rather "mushy" instead of being firm; and you had to sort of poke around with your fork to find the fish bits.
Next up were the Gambas al Ajillo (PHP280.00), which proved to be quite tasty and nicely cooked. The sauce was a bit spicy, but it was the type of spicy that we liked :D
I would suggest, though, that they consider having fewer pieces, but bigger-sized, shrimps for this dish. That would make it perfect!
Last up was the Bandeja de Jamon, Chorizo y Quezo (Assorted Ham, Chorizo & Cheese Platter) for PHP800.00, which they are having a promo on right now. Paired with a carafe of Red Sangria for only PHP999.00, not a bad deal at all.
UPDATE (3/1/13): I've taken the liberty of grabbing the photo above from JNY's blog, which is much more popular and better than mine. The original photo i posted was off-center and pasty-white, and didn't do justice to how yummy the bandeja looked.
JNY and i loved the manchego and goat cheeses, and the Jamon Serrano, and ate it all. However, we didn't finish the round-shaped meat in the middle - it wasn't bad, but the texture seemed "crumbly".
Overall, for me, the good food + fun conversation made for one of my best nights out in a long while. And i'd definitely be interested to come back to Calderon with a larger group, so we can try out their paellas and Iberian Chicken (which has to be ordered one day in advance). And more tapas, of course!
Calderon Cocina Tapas y Bebidas
403 F. Calderon St., Little Baguio, San Juan
Tel. No. 238-22-64
Open from 11a.m. to 11p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calderon/523587167668639