Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate-filled Buchi Balls





A memorable dining experience is one that's not only gustatory. It should have a hospitality spirit that blends well with the restaurant interiors and imbibed by its staff, from its chef down to its service crew. The resulting picture is a family portrait of goodness that surrounding establishments complement. Such is the case with the Filipino Bistro from the same owner of Museum Cafe in Makati City.

Aptly called Kabila (the Tagalog word for "next door"), the innovative concept by Raintree Restaurants is just next to Museum Cafe and behind the Ayala Museum. Popular as an urban destination by cosmopolitans, Greenbelt has the new restaurant as a reliable venue for fresh Filipino-oriented dishes that feature local and straightforward home cooking.

Fresh Lumpia Sa Kabila
Shrimp Ukoy

Local Flavors From The Archipelago

Frequented by business people in the busy Makati Central Business District, Kabila served my group of food reviewers its showcase of local flavors via dishes from different parts of the Philippine archipelago.

The late lunch kicked off with servings of pre-meal snacks that included seasoned peanuts that tasted incredibly delicious for its sweet, spicy, and salty blend. It was supposed to hold down the hunger while waiting for the copious medley of orders. It definitely prepared my palate for the roster of appetizers that came next.

Inventive Appetizers

The Ensaladang Kabila was initially served. The salad was a mix of ripe mango and green mango, plus pomelo turnip, guapple (a non-seasonal fruit), native tomato relish and salted egg. Tossed in the fresh mix were pili nuts and croutons with calamansi (calamon-din) vinaigrette and home-made bagoong (fish paste) for taste enhancement. There was also the delightfully colorful Fresh Lumpia Sa Kabila. The local favorite vegetable eggroll was given a twist, or better yet a remarkable wrap to hold all the ubod, shrimp, and pork mince. It came with options for sweet and fresh garlic sauces and ground peanuts to drizzle. The next appetizer was the Filipino version of shrimp fritters called Ukoy (also known as okoy). Mixed in a batter, it was crazy crispy! I actually tossed a piece of it along with the mouth-watering salad for texture which served as a palate massage for more food -- the main course.

Classic Kare-kare "Buntot"
Pre-meal Snacks
Demi Chef Alvin Delos Reyes

Vegetable-Filled Kare-kare

As with all Filipino-oriented restaurants, Kabila has a kare-kare version that pays tribute to the classic buntot or tail of a cattle which is known by those who cook as oxtail. Made from scratch along with tripe (edible offal), beef belly, native eggplant, hefty servings of Chinese cabbage or pechay (petsay) and French beans, the so-called Classic Kare-kare Sa Kabila came with a special homemade bagoong that tasted sweet and spicy.

Pancit With Ilocos, Quezon Province, and Iloilo Flare

Soon, the next medley of dining bestsellers were served starting with the special Kabila version of Pancit that had crispy bagnet (an Ilokano delicacy), beef bok choy, carrots, chayote (sayote). It was served with peppered sinamak which is a popular Ilonggo spiced vinegar. I drizzled some of the condiment over the Lucban noodles to lessen the saltiness. The result was a remarkable zest in flavor. I honestly hoped it had more pieces of bagnet but the beef sort of balanced out my craving for the former. Besides, the Alamang Fried Rice was filling enough.

Ensaladang Kabila
Sweets Galore For Panghimagas

I drowned down all the variety of flavors with the strong tasting Filipino dessert cum drink called Ginumis which was served in layers of tapioca, gelatin, syrup and coconut milk. Customers can tell it apart from the the similar looking sago't gulaman drink because of its pinipig crunch topping.

What came next astounded me -- the dessert that's a combo of leche flan and chocolate moist cake called Impossible Cake. Called as such, it's normally thought for leche flan to be a difficult layer to prepare on top of a moist cake mix, but Pastry Chef Alvin Delos Reyes of Kabila managed to make it possible by having the flan at the bottom and eventually flipping it to have it on top. There was also the Chocolate Buchi Balls which looked fabulous in all angles. Three pieces were served to dip on mantikado (manila vanilla). Lastly, I sampled a piece of the Leche Flan Turon that came with the fancy Chocnut sauce for dip.

Pancit Kabila
Impossible Cake

forward Filipino
Home Cooking

Everything on the table looked and tasted spectacular. I certainly felt the thoughtful hospitality from the dish plating to the ingredients used. The pristine white walls evoked of pure intentions in fond Filipino dining.

Make sure to set your reservation when you plan to visit because guests are known to arrive in throngs for lunch and just hours before dinner time.

H E L P F U L   L I N K

Official website of Kabila


Address: Ayala Museum Complex Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa St. Makati City, Philippines 1200
Phone: +632-757-3000 or +632-757-6000 or +632-391-4197
Operating Hours: 8:00 am to 12:00 am (daily)
Function and Events: marketing@raintree.com.ph

More Photos Below:

Bagoong For Kare-kare

Leche Flan Turon
Fried Alamang Rice
Dining with Michelle of Kabila
Mantikado Dip (for the Buchi Balls)


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