Citibank Surprise Squad strikes at Stella, Bonifacio Highstreet Central

Introducing Project Surprise.

I admit, I was the accomplice. The goal was to bring happiness through the form of a surprise visit. The target? My fellow food blogger friends. I must admit I'm not good at planning surprises. More often than not, my excitement will reveal what I have been cooking up in my mind. Thus, it took me a while to invite The Food Club out for what looked like a simple dinner at Stella. After all, we, members of The Food Club do not say no to the chance of trying a new restaurant out.

Paul and I got to Stella ahead of the others. After a quick hi-hello with the "mastermind", we entered the restaurant with innocent looks on our faces as we waited for the others to arrive.

Stella is one of the many new restaurants that opened at the booming new wing of Bonifacio Highstreet. It's right beside its sister restaurant bar called Rocket Room, Stella has a cozy vibe quite similar to another sister restaurant -- Chelsea Market and Cafe.

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While waiting for the others, Paul and I ordered some fruit juices. My choice was the Ripe Mango and Pineapple (Php. 150) while Paul got the Buko and Lychee (Php. 150). Both drinks were refreshing and delicious and we were happy with our choices. My drink, in particular, had a stronger mango flavor that I could hardly taste the pineapple. I don't really mind as I wanted my drink to be more on the sweet side anyway.

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We were also given a plate of warm bread and butter. Sadly I forgot to take note of their exact names but all were delicious nonetheless.

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To warm our tummies, Paul and I shared a bowl of Roasted Garlic Mushroom Soup (Php. 150). We each took a sip and pushed the bowl aside. The garlic flavor was too mild for us. It was a tad too oily and watered down that we could hardly taste the strong garlic flavor that we were hoping to find. Will probably try other soup next time.

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As I was planning this dinner, I was told that we can cross-order from Rocket Room as well. My friend M also recommended the Liempo Chips which is one of their best-sellers. I'm glad we ordered this was it was indeed very good. I love munching on the thinly sliced pork that came with some spicy vinegar dip.

We ordered a lot of items that evening to be shared by all 8 of us. Let me share them with you:

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Roasted Seafood Pizza (Php. 350)
I loved this! This pizza was generously topped with octopus, clams, prawns, garlic, dill, lemon and cream. The crust was soft and chewy and the flavor totally not over-powering. I highly recommend this. :)

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Butcher's Best (Php. 325)
This is perfect for all meat-lovers out there. After all, how can you say no to a pizza topped with Homemade Garlic-Fennel Sausage, Double-Smoked (!!!) Bacon, Pepperoni, Red Onions, Fresh Rizal Dairy Mozzarella and a lot more. While I'm a seafood pizza type of girl thus favoring the Roasted Seafood Pizza over this one, I can say that this pizza made my husband a very very happy diner that evening.

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Stella's Porchetta (Php. 395)
Imagine this, crunchy pork belly roll stuffed with double smoked bacon, fennel and herbs. I call it a recipe for a heart attack but hey, we loved it and I'm definitely having this again and again! The pork belly was really tender and I love how the stuffing has made it even more flavorful. We initially thought that two very thin slices is too little for the price but it's really worth trying.

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Wood Fired Garlic Mushroom Cream Fettuccine (Php. 425)
I love truffle oil! This is one delicious pasta as I enjoyed biting into the al dente noodles coated with rich and creamy garlic mushroom sauce cooked with herbs and covered with Malagos Pecorino, porcini dust and truffle oil. Heaven ♥

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Spanish Chorizo Stuffed Prawns (Php. 520/ 6 pieces)
This is also one good dish! I love eating prawns and stuffed prawns, in particular, remind me of my all-time favorite -- Prawns Thermidor. I love the crunchy breadcrumbs topping which gave a good contrast to the tender prawns underneath.

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Mediterranean NZ Lamb "Shepherd's Stew" (Php. 495)
Everyone loved it sadly I'm not a fan of chickpeas. :p

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Jill, a very healthy eater, ordered The Stella Salad (Php. 295) which came in a big bowl filled with fresh lettuce, bacon, sundried tomato bits, candied pistachios, and cheese! I now know why Stella made this their signature salad. It's a simple dish but definitely full of flavor.

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As we were all enjoying our meals, then came the surprise. A trio called the Citibank Surprise Squad approached our table and told us that the bill is on THEM!

Citibank is celebrating their 200 year anniversary and they have been going around town surprising card holders! From giving a free gym membership to treating cardholders to dinner (like us), from giving out premium items to paying for a full year tuition fee! This was Citibank's way of saying THANK YOU and here we are screaming YOU'RE WELCOME back! :) I've been a Citibank cardholder for years and I'm glad that they really took the time and effort to make us feel special.

Click here to see our photo uploaded on their Official Facebook Page!

What a fun evening! It has been a while that we were able to get together with The Food Club and it was truly an evening spent laughing and catching up with one another.

Till our next dinner!

*photo credit: Paul Ang

Stella and Rocket Room are located at the Garden Level, Bonifacio Highstreet Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Contact them at 799-2888.

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