Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sinuteng Baby Pusit




A reliable facet of Manila is its roots in Filipino cuisine. In Malate's Adriatico Street, Bistro Remedios (BR) is one such venue that showcases it. Celebrating 30 years of appetizing dishes and satisfied patrons, the LJC Group-member restaurant has managed not just to survive the cut-throat dining scene in that part of Metro Manila, but it is thriving on its constant half-a-year effort to improve its lineup of selections. With world-class Executive Chef George Lizares at the helm of the menu structure, it looks like BR is set to be a delicious institution in the neighborhood where it originally housed a garage.

I had the privilege to dine over Pampanga-oriented dishes with BR's executive chef one drizzling night of August. Before the featured dishes were formally served, he tossed around an array of topics that touched on an artsy movie called Lost In Translation, his love for Japanese culture, and how he adored fixing the signature pose of the restaurant's Betute or stuffed frog with the emphasis on crossed legs.

Paco Fern Salad
Sinigang Na Bangus Sa Bayabas
Pininyahang Manok

Appetizer Medley

Soon, the medley of appetizers came out of the kitchen with the Paco Fern Salad as banner dish. I learned in a recent food tour of Pampanga via Abe's Farm (another LJC Group restaurant) that the fern can be found in several neighborhood backyards in the province which is why the salad is quite a familiar part of the locals' diet. I was still having a forkful of that salad when Chef George put a few pieces of an exotic appetizer called Camaru on my plate. He then cajoled me into tasting it. Surprisingly, I loved the crispy texture and the saltiness of those deep-fried crickets. He proceeded to boast about that one kitchen staff who's designated all day to do nothing but clean each piece of insect by getting rid of unwanted parts and retaining what's needed only. The bunch is then spiced adobo-style and eventually sautéed until the right crunchy texture is achieved. I can just imagine how painstaking it is to even reach the phase of preparing them since the insect is considered as a seasonal main ingredient. BR must be stocking on those babies all year round.

Executive Chef George Lizares
We also had the Kapampangan-original dish called Sisig (sizzling) and the Sinuteng Baby Pusit (Squid). A plate of Frog Legs were served next to culminate the dinner's appetizing introduction. That last number was something that kids would surely love because it tasted like chicken.

Strong-tasting Soup

I did not linger that much on the featured soup -- the Sinigang Na Bangus Sa Bayabas (Guavas) -- as it was a bit strong-tasting for me apart from being creamy what with the fish and guava flavors mixing to form a potent taste that matched the kick of liquor.

Lechon Kawali Sa Gata
Sinugba Platter
Crispy Tadyang

New Dishes Presented

To start the roster of main dishes, Bistro Remedios surprised us with its new selections that included the Adobong Hito (Catfish) Sa Gata, the Sinugba Platter which is known in Luzon to be prepared ihaw-style, and the Lechon Kawali Sa Gata. The last new dish served my tasted buds well as lechon kawali in any format is a favorite of mine to tear into. Serving them swimming in rich coconut milk was the next best thing for me. Interestingly, the pork skin managed to remain crispy which appealed to me so much.

Pininyahang Manok (Chicken) was also served to my delight since I love anything with pineapples. The last time I had a taste of this dish was actually last March of this year at Microtel Suites & Inn By Wyndham-Acropolis' Tito Chef.


Signature Dishes

There was also a set of signature dishes that I managed to abstain from tasting because I was reserving tummy room for desserts. They were the Crispy Tadyang (A Bistro Remedios original that's marinated beef ribs deep-fried to delicious crispiness) and the Gule Magalang (a Kapampangan dish that consists of stewed freshly harvested vegetables with squash flowers).

Chocnut Cheesecake
Adobong Hito Sa Gata

Maja Blanca Remedios
I was able to tear into a piece of the Kalderetang Kambing (goat meat) which I regretted tasting because it somehow got lodged unnecessarily in my throat and left me feeling bloated. I guess if there's one meat that I won't be trying anytime soon again, it has to be that. There's always a first time for anything I guess.

Desserts Well Done

I had a sigh of relief knowing that desserts were in order. I loved the Maja Blanca Remedios and the Pandan Cake for not tasting too sweet. The Turon with Langka tasted homemade and reminded me of fond merienda moments in the province. There were also a fruit platter and the favorite of most guests that night -- the Chocnut Cheesecake.

With that panoply of flavors available at Bistro Remedios, it's easy to conclude that much thought goes into the menu. While BR founder Larry Cruz was finicky about dish names, his father Emilio Aguilar Cruz (writer and artist) made sure to write by hand and illustrate the restaurant's earliest menus. That's proof of meaningful dedication even before any actual dining experience.

H E L P F U L   L I N K

Bistro Remedios

Address: 1911 M. Adriatico Street, Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila, Philippines
Phone: (02) 523-9153
Operating Hours
Mon - Thu: 11:00am - 3:00pm, 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am - 3:00pm, 6:00pm - 12:00am
Sun: 11:00am - 3:00pm, 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Watch This Video of the Bistro Remedios Trio Singing "Ang Pipit"

More Photos Below:

Turon with Langka
Four Seasons Drink
Kalderetang Kambing
Frog Legs


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