Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Ode To Heidelberg
Seared Barramundi Fillet with Miso Pesa Sauce




There's a plethora of ways to have a gustatory tour of the old Philippines, the archipelago that has managed to meander in its colonial history of one invader after another. I had such one immersive experience in Makati City while booked at a 4-bedroom penthouse along Benavidez Street. A 5-minute stroll away from BSA Mansion in the same leafy district of Legazpi Village is Greenbelt 5 where I had the pleasure of dining with friends and new acquaintances at Restaurante Pia Y Damaso. It's an upscale dining destination in Metro Manila that's fast gaining a staunch reputation for subversive Filipino cuisine.

Restaurante Pia Y Damaso is opulent indoors and al fresco. Inside its decent dining space, ornate chandeliers hung from selected spots to conceal visible corners and highlight dishes on your plate. Outside, a view of Greenbelt's sprawling garden is a stunning complement to freshly prepared orders. It's certainly a good approach to ward off any unnecessary insurrection between two distinct diners. At the restaurant's facade, mall traffic is entertained with a display of its signature desserts.

(top right) Toasted Yema Parfait; (bottom right) Butter Tart
Bangus Belly Salad
Tubig Ni Maria Clara

Concoction For The Parched

A sip of the restaurant's refreshment called Tubig Ni Maria Clara harks back to the mestiza heroine of Jose Rizal's novel, Noli Me Tangere. If anything, it was a soothing welcome from feeling slightly parched in the metro's humidity. I suddenly remembered a recently-departed female cousin of my grandmother who would readily always have a glass of beverage for me whenever I'd visit her Quezon City home. Welcome drinks exude a feminine ideal and this restaurant concoction of citrus water, ginger, and cucumber juice is aptly named.

Festive Lunch At The Onset

Lunch was a banquet. Served were a panoply of dishes from starters to desserts. We commenced the feast with inventive starters such as the Spanish classic Albondigas, the fresh Malagos Cheese-topped Roasted Vegetable Tart, and the savory Filo Tarts With Pork Asado and Apple Relish. I also had crispy bites of the deep-fried Ham and Chicken Croquettes.

Sensational Salad Roster

A salad roster of Bangus Belly (with potatoes, tomatoes, and hard-boiled egg, plus dalandan for vinaigrette) and Mixed Greens (with Duck Confit) were served next. Both were equally appetizing, but it was the ritualistic Nga-Nga Beef Salad that engaged me in a fanciful ceremony of piling up the onions, mango pickles, and haw and beef flakes to fold them in arugula, lettuce, and cilantro like a traditional chewer. The latter was definitely an effective ice-breaker for a long table of new acquaintances.

Must Stay For The Mains

When the Ostrich Beef Steak was served, I knew it was time for the mains. A fellow female diner had the chance to tear into one and had only nice things to say. Another local restaurant which serves a Salpicao version was a major letdown for me in the past, so I gave this one a benefit of the doubt. According to her, it was quite flavorful and was interesting for having a side of fried plantains to go with the guava butter of the dish.

Ham and Chicken Croquettes
Fideos with Mussels and Chorizo

Salvi's Canonigo

By this time, I was gravitating towards the stellar smoked pork hock dish called Ode To Heidelberg, the restaurant's homage to the German city where Jose Rizal culminated writing his novel, Noli Me Tangere. It was a hefty plate of slow-cooked pork knuckle, bacon, sausages and potatoes that's definitely worth sharing with fellow diners.

Next, I slowed down with samplings of the comforting Seared Barramundi Fillet and Hanging Beef Tender. I also sampled the restaurant's version of the classic Callos and Lengua Sevillana. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the seafood-inspired medley of Camarron Cocido (seared plump prawns and seafood thermidor) and Fideos with Mussels and Chorizo (a classic Spanish noodle dish).

Filo Tarts with Pork Asado and Apple Relish
Delightful Desserts

As an apt sweet ending to the festive lunch, dessert plates of sansrival (ube), cheesecake (quezo de bola-inspired), Sapin-sapin and Ube Macapuno Cake were served. All tasted great, but it was the Noli Me Tangere cast-inspired desserts that were totally unforgettable such as Sisa's Dementia (moist truffle cake) and Padre Salvi's Canonigo (caramel meringue). Plus, the rich butter custard pomp on the Brazo Ni Dona Vicki (meringue roulade) was spot on. Fellow diners were all raves for the Bibingka Waffle, but I was more drawn to the indulgent Butter Tart.

After more than an hour of feasting on Filipino cuisine at Restaurante Pia Y Damaso, I barely noticed the modernity of the location I was in. I was dining inside an upscale mall and booked at a city penthouse, but my senses were alive and up in arms for the old glory of the divine and the delicious.

Camarron Cocido

Restaurante Pia Y Damaso

Official fan page of Restaurante Pia Y Damaso

Address: 2/F Greenbelt 5, Makati City, Philippines 1000
Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday, 11:00am-10:00pm
Phone: +63 2 729-5511

More Photos Below:

Lengua Sevillana
Ube Macapuno Cake
Nga-Nga Beef Salad
Bibingka Waffle
Brazo Ni Dona Vicki
(top) Sisa's Dementia; (bottom) De Espadana Quezo De Bola Cheesecake
Hanging Beef Tender
Mixed Greens with Duck Confit
Ube Sansrival
Ostrich Beef Steak with Guava Butter
Roasted Vegetable Tart


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