I’ve had the chance to visit this restaurant a couple of times now. I have to say that it’s great to have a classy alternative to the cafeteria style eateries usually associated with Filipino food. Previous reviews have mentioned the restaurant’s lack of authenticity, but it’s perfectly understandable that the owners want to appeal to a broader range of tastes and customers. Personally, the fusion-style cuisine is not a big problem for me. With that said, I couldn’t help but be a little nervous when I brought my friend and his girlfriend (both white) to try Filipino food for the first time.
I’m glad to say that I needn’t have worried. We started the evening off with the Manila street BBQ. It was a big hit – slightly sweet, tender and juicy – the perfect appetizer. We paired this with the lumpia shanghai, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Not as good as home-made, but delicious nonetheless. For main courses we ordered the Bicol express (because my friend wanted something spicy), the fried whole tilapia, and the adobo special. Of these, the only one that disappointed was the Bicol express. I’m not a fan of the dish to begin with, and my friends were a little overwhelmed by the strong bagoong flavour, perfectly understandable if you’ve never tried bagoong before. The other two dishes, however, received raves. To complete the meal we each had the mini-turon/coffee cake combo, which once again was a big hit.
As for service, it was more than adequate. Our servers (it seemed we had several rotate through as the restaurant filled with customers) were all pleasant and helpful. The room itself was warm and inviting, and as I said at the start, classy. The only suggestion I’d give, if I had to give one, would be to replace the paper napkins with actual linens, just to add that little extra touch.
Overall, it was another very good experience for me, and a surprisingly pleasing eye-opener for my friends. We’ll definitely come back again.