THE ROYAL CHEF: Soulful paella on the go

365 days of gastronomic indulgence, 52 weeks of scouring delicious places all over Asia, 12 months of foodie adventure with family and friends and 1 delectable feature every week — oh the many reasons why I infinitely love my job. Not to mention, the many beautiful people I meet and met along the way. To anyone and everyone who trusted and appreciated my palate, cheers for more!

As we turn another leaf, let’s all take a second to appreciate the many restos and pubs opening in the city. From local dishes infused with the flavours of the world to outstanding global cuisines we only see on magazines and lifestyle shows, the city has since been flocked with the best of the best. Case in point, Project Paella.

This quaint, quick on the go dining hub is packed with the flavours of Spain. Paella being a Valencian rice dish, has held a special seat in Spanish homes for centuries. Considered one of the most difficult dishes to master, a plate of Paella is all that you can want for a dish — nourishing, naked, abundant and vibrant with every spoonful.

Manning the kitchen is one of Davao’s newest chef on the rise. Used to spearhead parties with his dj skills, he can now be found inside the kitchen creating dishes that reminds him of home, travels and just about anything. Say hello to Chef Antonio ‘Uno’ Tupas of Project Paella.

‘I find it (paella as a dish) a challenge’, Chef Uno said. ‘I find the dish very complex and very intriguing. And I find that whenever I eat (paella), I feel like I’m eating my mother’s cooking — very homey’, he added. Uno is the first born of Jun and Mimi Tupas (SoulKitchen Co.).

His paella includes Valenciana, Negra and Mariscos. All of which use locally sourced fresh ingredients.

‘What we have is quick serve paella. This is the only place where you can get Paella in 5-10 minutes’, Chef Uno shared. Yes, it’s fast yet not bitin to the palate. Each plate is packed with textures, depth and of course, flavours that’ll surprise even the pickiest of eater.

Also on his menu are tapas — appetizers or snacks of Spanish origin. May be served hot or cold, in itself, his tapas are a dish on their own.

Tapas include Callos, Salpicao, Gambas, Tigre, Pollo, Jamon and Croquetas. The salpicao and gambas are nothing but heavenly. The tigre, on the other hand, gives off an intense and delicious whiff of flavours hitting your palate all at once.

End your Spanish cuisine adventure with some delicately crunchy churros with gooey-chocolatey dip. Top it off with freshly squeezed lemonade or sangria for a dining experience unlike any other.

Personally, what I like about Project Paella is that their meals are not intimidating to the palate and has that homey home cooked taste. The tapas are exquisitely flavoured and perfect for an all nighter. The lemonade is a revelation that ties the many flavours of Project Paella together. Not to mention, everything is reasonably priced.

Project Paella is located at F Torres street, corner Mabini, Davao City.

For my latest food finds, follow me on Instagram @iamleebai and Facebook @theroyalchefeats. Happy eating, royalistas!