I believe in anything creative and innovative especially if it’ll champion anything Pinoy.
One of my college friends of 16 years and counting, Rob usually comes home every 3 months from his work abroad. Now that he’s here again, I and my wife Tina asked him with another best friend LG to try weekend brunch at Chef Laudico BISTRO FILIPINO at the Fort. When friends agreed, we made a reservation and the staff of the said resto immediately emailed me of the menu featuring more than 50 of their dishes.
The staff who received my reservation call told me that the weekend eat-all-you-can brunch which is offered at PhP 788 adults and PhP 488 for kids below 10 years old; prices plus VAT and service charge, all food served at plated half of their ala carte portions, starts at 10AM & ends at 3PM. We came in early in full pack only to find out that they’ll open late at few minutes before 11AM. So we strolled along the 3rd Avenue and found this sculptured monument of fishermen as we crossed the street going to a common favorite fastfood for quick drinks and apple pies.
Poetic, isn’t it ? After few minutes, we headed back to the resto…
Somehow, I already had expectations from this restaurant that promotes Pinoy cuisine at its best not only because that I got the menu a day before in my Inbox, but I read tons of comments and saw some photos of its food posted on blogs. There are positives but ofcourse, there also the opposites as cliche goes, “you can’t please everybody.” My wife & son, 2 friends and I were a bit disappointed to its late opening yesterday. Had the staff clearly emphasized that they’ll open at past 10:30AM or 11, then we could have arrived at a later time. I guess punctuality is a must in service.
Just the same, I also expected the best from what I’ve read about Bistro Filipino, my little fretting on its late opening was changed into amazement at the simple but inviting exteriors of the restaurant & its very romantic Filipino interiors. First, I was drawn to its logo out of metallic sun & 3 stars; indeed very Pinoy, depicting features of the Philippine flag with a woven sawali at its corner. It looks tribal and yet very Pinoy. EyeLikeIt!
The interiors is more dramatic than its exteriors ofcourse. Its entrance alone is already attractive with capiz chandeliers to welcome you and sinamay drapes dividing the restaurant into 3 longitudinal dining areas.
The intricate details are spontaneous and consistent to the small, clean toilets where Pinoy tribal arts served as damask stenciled prints that were sponge-painted on blue walls continuous to the ceiling; the toilets are not only well interiored but more importantly adequately equipped with essentials.
The walls at the ends of each dining area are provided with huge antique-looking mirrors creating an illusion of distance and depth on the interiors of the resto. Here’s the end with round mirror….
Then here’s the wall with rectangular mirror…
I don’t know about you, but I like the middle area where we brunched.
Because we found our place under the green stars, figuratively.
We were seated under this romantic black chandeliers with faux emeralds.
Now, the menu. It’s creative and innovative. It’s apparent that Chef Laudico Bistro Filipino attempts to elevate Philippine cuisine to where it should be. I am not a chef and far from being a culinary arts expert but I highly believe that our own dishes should be recognize as a global cuisine just like japanese, continental, chinese, thai, mideterranean and others. Bistro Filipino is one of those gourmet restos that serves well-prepared and high quality food however, improvement on taste of FEW dishes won’t hurt but will do more good.
So here are the dishes my wife, kid and 2 friends feasted on from Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino…
SISIG BASKET : ingenious serving of bite-sized pork sisig, with thin slice of quail egg at its bottom.
TUNA KILAWIN ROLL : raw and tangy!
STUFFED FISH BALLS (left) : nothing unusual, really.
PRITO FRIO (right) : a better version of okoy made special with shrimps, squid rings and another seafood i missed out. It comes with 3 various dips that were uncommon to my palate. I like this appetizer.
SHITAKE MUSHROOM SOUP (left) : I don’t know about our best friends but my wife and I like this soup so much. There’s the distinguishing taste of the mushroom itself, sarap!
3 KINDS of MANGO SALAD (right) : I had this one and as a sucker for anything with mango, LOVE IT!
EGGPLANT TORTA with SPICY CRAB : my friend Rob generously shared portion of his omelette to me and Tina. Never expected tortang talong can go so gourmet! Bravo! LOL.
GARDEN SALAD (with choice of dressing) : LG had this one. Never tasted it, so no comment =)
US ANGUS BEEF KARE-KARE : I ordered this because I’m a huge Kare-kare fanatic; quite OK, only that beef was shredded, why?
WAGYU and LENGUA ESTOFADO : I, Tina & LG ordered this dish and I was so excited to grab my knife at the WAGYU BEEF but I think we’re one in saying that it’s probably (still) best eaten as a STEAK for not to be overpowered with the sauce. I understand how estofado should taste and there’s nothing wrong with its sauce; only that we didn’t get to taste the WAGYU! Plus the lengua could have been sliced thinly and not served as an obvious chunk of ox tongue. The sauce, the lengua all compete with the WAGYU, in the end nothing wins! =(
SALMON ESCABECHE : Sayang, only my friends tasted this plate.
When we called the waiter to order for something more, we all felt we’re all satiated but I myself was weak to resist the other dishes on the menu. So we tried some more… It was time for the PASTA…
PRAWNS and BURONG MUSTASA (left) : I had this plate. I highly commend Chef Roland Laudico for being so daring on using a very Filipino green with one of my favorite seafood (no one, for me, goes wrong with shrimps!) but I honestly cannot appreciate the pasta probably because I’m already full at that time, but my palate was craving for some kick at this pasta and found nothing.
CALAMARI with CRAB ROE (right) : LG and my wife Tina had each share of this pasta. But Tina didn’t get to finish it so (not to avoid the PhP 100 fine for every unfinished plate, but it was again, sayang) she fast-break it to my plate. Again, I’m such a seafood lover and I’m someone who wouldn’t pass on something with shrimp, or squid, moreso with crabs! But this pasta has (for the lack of a better term) an overpowering taste (again!) plus we found it too DRY! Don’t get me wrong, I like pasta whether it has tomato/cream/herb/oil-based sauce/s, but this was just too strong for me. To each his own, right?