Come together over Pinoy comfort food at Sari Salo, the Podium

One of the newly opened stalls at The Podium’s Corner Market Food Hall during a food tasting event was Sari Salo. This eatery’s unusual name stems from two Filipino terms consisting of repeating syllables (another Pinoy quirk, hehehe!): sari-sari and salu-salo.

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari-sari refers to “variety and sundry.” Hence, the ubiquitous neighborhood mom-and-pop stores present and vital in many Filipino neighborhoods are called sari-sari stores. These stores connote affordability, being the go-to places of families within the neighborhood for tingi-tingi (unit purchases) of basic food items and home necessities. It is also a place where people (stereotypically the chismosos or the busybodies) come together and hangout to talk about neighborhood life.

Salu-salo, on the other hand, refers to “a social gathering or party.” It’s a time when family or friends come together for a good time, and usually over good food.

Sari Salo, in turn, strives to live up to the wealth of cultural meaning that its name implies with its simple, Filipino comfort food you and your family or friends can enjoy while you spend time together after a shopping trip or a movie date at the mall.

Take for example the sampling of its offerings served during the food tasting event: the Crispy Pork Binagoongan (Php230) and the Angus Beef Sisig (Php280 for regular | Php350 for super-sized).

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari Salo, The Podium

The pork binagoongan has the right combination of saltiness and spiciness that make it a tasty viand to eat together with hot steamed rice. The beef sisig, on the other hand, is flavorful and tender to the bite, given that its made of Angus beef, of course.

The food was served efficiently without much fanfare, giving us tasters more time and attention to devote to savoring our meal.

Sari Salo’s stall is also a more spacious and colorful rendition of the sari-sari store, and littered with fun Pinoy pop culture references. And since #EveryOppIsAPhotoOpp, I gamely struck a pose (or two, hehehe!). Thanks to Chef Jocen of Boodlebear for taking the photos.

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari Salo, The Podium

Sari Salo, The Podium

I would recommend Sari Salo to mall-goers hankering for Pinoy comfort food.

Sari Salo is located at the Corner Market Food Hall, Second Floor, Podium Mall, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It is open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a Blogger Event held in the Corner Market Food Hall. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my review of the other stall featured during the food tasting event: Pizza Morena.

Sari Salo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Modern Filipino Cuisine at Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Lately, restaurants touting “modern Filipino cuisine” have sprouted up all over the metro.

But what is modern Filipino cuisine?

Simply put: it is the flavors you grew up with but broken free of traditions surrounding them, even incorporating foreign influences. It is composed of tastes and textures familiar to you but applied and presented in exciting and novel ways. In short, this is not your grandma’s cooking.

Unless your dear Lola is part of the visionary team behind Ombu Kusina, of course.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu is a modern Filipino restaurant located along Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City. Having recently revamped its interiors, it also recently launched its special holiday dishes. And your friendly neighborhood Jellybeans is among the lucky foodies who were able to attend its exclusive food tasting event.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu’s newly renovated premises are simply impressive. White subway tiles serve as an elegant backdrop for light-colored plush seats, darkwood tables and the feast laid out for us.

And said feast consisted of Ombu’s signature dishes such as:

Dilis Rice (Php80 per cup: Php170 for sharing). Your favorite sinangag (garlic fried rice), lightly flavored and topped with salty crispy fried dilis (anchovies).

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Salted Egg Spaghettini (Php260). Al dente spaghettini noodles tossed in a sauce of salted egg yolks, sprinkled with tomatoes, diced cucumber and salted egg whites. The salted egg sauce was evenly spread throughout the noodles and the cucumber provided a fresh contrast to the sauce with every bite.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Sisig Pizza (Php520). The classic pork sisig and egg tops a thin-crust pizza drizzled with garlic sauce.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Binagoongang Talong (Php300). Fresh eggplant and lechon kawali served with a thick bagoong (shrimp paste) sauce. While I found the sauce a little too thick for my taste but the crispy fried pork belly is just yummy and went well with the Dilis Rice.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Seafood Mix Laing (Php290). Taro leaves wrapped around a mix of shrimp, crab meat, onion and lemon grass, slowly cooked in light coconut milk.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Also part of the feast are Ombu’s seasonal dishes such as:

Adobochon (Php440). Flavorful roasted pig with tender meat and crispy skin served with adobo sauce on the side.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Flaming Chicken (Php340). Tender and juicy chicken flambed right before our eyes.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

For dessert, we had Frozen Brazo de Mercedes (Php180). Delightful layers of frozen soft meringue alternating custard filling, ice cream and graham cracker crust.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

The dishes were expertly prepared and given a fresh twist by Ombu Kusina’s chefs.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

So for a great taste of modern Filipino cuisine, check out Ombu Kusina.

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Ombu Kusina is located at Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia Street, Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 6.30am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4411789 or +63 922 8149086, or email omburestaurant@yahoo.com.

Thanks to SandUnderMyFeet.com for extending the invite

Ombu Kusina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Fine Filipino Food with a View at Fika, Capitol Hills

A Swedish chef whipping up Filipino delicacies.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles at Fika, the restaurant located in the out-of-the-way Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Head chef and CEO Mats Loo hails from Sweden where the word “fika” means “having coffee and talks with friends.” Having long dreamed of having a restaurant name Fika, he made his dream a reality right up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Diners of Fika are treated, not just to fine Filipino food, but also to a stunning view of the city. Being located in the Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, near Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club and Celebrity Sports Club, it is surrounded by lush greenery with a view of Quezon City all the way to Antipolo.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Also housed in the same building is the top culinary school First Gourmet Academy. It trains aspiring chefs in various courses that will prepare them for jobs in both local establishments and those abroad. Its working kitchen is also where the fantastic dishes in Fika’s breakfast and all-day menus are prepared and cooked.

Fika, Capitol Hills

I recently joined a foodie meetup held at Fika where, together with fellow foodies, I was able to sample delectable dishes from Fika’s all-day menu. These include:

Chicken Inasal (Php255). A popular Ilonggo dish, it is grilled chicken marinated in a special sauce that gave it its distinct color.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Laing (Php135). Dried taro leaves, coconut milk and chili peppers make this a winner among lovers of spicy food.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pancit Luglog (Php195). Thick noodles sauteed in a rich savory sauced and topped with hard-boiled eggs and chicharon. A party favorite!

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pinakbet with Bagnet (Php265). A classic Ilocano dish, it’s made of stewed vegetables seasoned with bagoong and topped with crispy bagnet.

Fika, Capito Hills

Fika Fried Rice (Php135). A recipe that came from Chef Mats’ mom, it’s a great breakfast fried rice made with chopped Chinese sausages, scrambled eggs, pork bits and various chopped veggies.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Binagoongan Rice (Php135). A flavorful dish made of rice, pork bits and kangkong sauteed in bagoong paste then topped with salted egg and ensalada.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Bangus Steak (Php285). The fish version of Bistek Tagalog, it features boneless bangus marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and served with lightly sauteed white onion rings.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Dinakdakan (Php140). An Ilocano dish made of various pork parts such as cheeks, liver, ears and tongue.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Sisig (Php150). Chopped pork parts are deep fried and seasoned with calamansi, mayonnaise, soy sauce and chilis.

Fika, Capitol Hills

We washed down our meal with ice blended drinks such as Choco Frappe (Php165) and Green Tea Frappe (Php175).

Fika, Capitol Hills

And since any meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert, we indulged ourselves in some freshly baked cakes, all at Php110 each:

Tres Leches

Fika, Capitol Hills

Ube Queso

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocolate Cake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocnut Cheesecake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Clear winners for me are the Pinakbet with Bagnet, Fika Rice and – dare I say – all the cakes!

These Fika food sure are Fika good! Do check them out!

Fika is located at the Ground Floor, Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays at 6.45am to 10.30pm and Fridays to Saturdays at 6.45am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 917 7006588, +63 2 3553132 or +63 2 5142480.

Fika Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Haven for coffee and comfort food lovers: Little Owl Cafe, New Manila

Hidden away in New Manila is a haven for lovers of coffee and comfort food.

Renovated from one of the previously worn-down houses along Broadway Avenue, Little Owl Cafe is nestled among lush greenery. Started as a coffee shop but now a full service cafe, it serves food that features a fusion of Italian and Asian cuisines that professionals working in the area or families residing nearby can enjoy.

I was recently invited to a Blogger’s Dinner at this restaurant where I was able to sample some of its delectable offerings:

Omelette Chorizo Rice (Php270). Part of the resto’s All-Day Breakfast Menu, it consists of homemade longganisa rice, delicately wrapped in a thin omelette and topped with onion gravy and aioli.

Sisig Tacos (Php210). Three pieces of soft-shell tacos topped with crispy sisig and a savory liver aioli sauce. A great start to the meal!

Glazed Cauliflower (Php210). Cauliflower covered in a sweet and spicy soy glaze then deep-fried to crispiness. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

Truffle Mushroom Pasta (Php350). Al dente noodles tossed in a rich homemade mushroom sauce made with three different kinds of mushrooms – shiitake, enoki and shimeji – topped with fried enoki and drizzled with truffle oil.

Shrimp & Aligue Pasta (Php330). Pasta noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce incorporating shrimp aligue and served with plump grilled shrimps.

Beef Tapa & Cheese Sandwich (Php295). A Pinoy take on the Philly Cheesesteak which showcases savory slivers of beef tapa, it is accompanied by a hefty serving of crisp shoestring fries.

Chicken & Waffle (Php270). Chicken thighs covered in batter then fried to a crisp then served with sriracha coleslaw over cheddar waffles.

Lechon Kawali Bibimbap (Php320). The classic sweet-spicy Korean fried rice served with sauteed mushrooms and spinach accompanied by deep fried pork belly and fried egg. A great combination of Pinoy and Korean flavors!

Chicken Satay (Php280). A bowl of Indonesian- inspired fried rice served with grilled chicken thigh and its trademark peanut sauce.

Beef Rendang (Php420). Tenderchuck slow-cooked in aromatic spices and coconut cream. A little too spicy for me but a sure winner for those who like their food with lots of kick!

Kimchi Salmon Sinigang (Php420). Salmon belly and loin seared then served in a spicy and sour soup.

Iced Mocha (Php170). A rich yet refreshing blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, it is among the Toby’s Estate beverages served in this restaurant.

https://flic.kr/p/QyJGPJ

Pink Owl (Php180). A fruity cocktail of vodka, lychee, watermelon and mint. A suitable drink to chase away the workday stress.

Little Owl Cafe’s food offerings provide its diners with an adventurous break from the everyday meals but with enough familiar flavors to make them appealing to those with more conservative tastebuds.

Its premises are well-appointed, tastefully furnished and prettily lit, great backgrounds for foodie shots and group photos.

Since this resto is conveniently located a short distance from my workplace, I definitely can drop by again for dinner with friends after office hours.

Little Owl Cafe is located at 65 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For inquiries, call + 63 917 8181468 or +63 2 5012036.

Little Owl also accepts bookings for special events such as weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, press conferences and more, with function rooms that can be reserved for a minimum consumable amount.

Little Owl Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Zomato Tagaytay Food Crawl Third Stop: Siglo Modern Filipino

The last and final stop of our Zomato Tagaytay Food Crawl was held at Siglo Modern Filipino. Located along the Tagaytay – Calamba Road beside the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and right across Picnic Grove, Siglo is the restaurant attached to the View Park Hotel Tagaytay.

Siglo (which translates to “century”) is so-named in honor of 100 years of evolution of Philippine food, from the Spanish and Latin influences brought by the colonizers, as well as flavors from China, America and Southeast Asia which found their way here via trade.

Siglo synthesizes a century’s worth of Filipino culture and cuisine from all over the country,  and supports the local economy by using ingredients sourced from local farmers.

It also seeks to preserve heirloom recipes – dishes that your great-grandmother might have cooked and using ingredients like adlai and siling labuyo that she might have used – while still innovating on the classic Filipino dishes through modern techniques and added creativity.

The restaurant is quite small (can seat at most 50 diners) but it has a lot of charm. Ethnic-inspired furniture and decor abound, and its advocacy for the appreciation of Filipino cuisine is apparent in the use of traditional materials and design.  When you sit down and wait for your order, you can amuse yourself in puzzles and trivia that feature Filipino food courtesy of the placemats used.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

My fellow foodies and I were served the Blockbuster Bilaos, hefty servings of themed Pinoy delicacies with dishes representing different locales in the country.  These are best shared among a group of 4 to 6 people.  Bilaos are flat and round-shaped implement used in separating rice grains from other particles like chaff, dirt and small pebbles.  When I was young, the rice that was delivered to us had a lot of impurities so my yaya and I oftentimes had to pick the impurities from the rice (hence the term “nagpipili ng bigas“) that was laid in a bilao.

Siglo Bilao (Php1,800)

This bilao features native Tinola, classic Kare-Kare, Crispy Tawilis, Pancit Pusit and Siglo Salad.  These are all heirloom recipes of Filipino dishes collated by Siglo’s team during their travels.  For me, the standout among these dishes is the Pancit Pusit; it had the distinctive salty-sour garlicky taste of Adobong Pusit which I absolutely love.  I would have eaten more of this were I not afraid of going home with black teeth (it would have been worth it, though!)

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Barkada Bilao (Php2,200)

This bilao boasts of timeless classics that barkadas (groups of friends) crave for when they’re hanging out such as Regular Bulalo (a staple in Tagaytay), Crispy Sisig, Calamares Frito, Himagsikan Wings (Siglo’s version of spicy buffalo wings in which the chicken pieces are glazed in shrimp paste and honey sriracha sauce) and gising-gising.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Luzviminda Bilao (Php2,400)

Named after the portmanteu of the Philippines’ three major island groups – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – this bilao features dishes representing bestsellers from north to south, serving as a quick culinary tour of the country.  It includes Bagnet Ilocos, Chicken Binakol, Seafood Kare-Kare, Lumpiang Shanghai and Ubod Salad.  The standout in this bilao is the bagnet with its savory tender meat and crispy crackling skin.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

All the bilaos come with steamed rice and fresh fruits.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

We washed down our food with a refreshing Pomelo Amaranth Juice which is not part of Siglo’s menu but is actually the welcome drink of View Park Hotel.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino is located at the Ground Floor of View Park Hotel, 3500 Tagaytay-Calamba Road, Sungay East, Tagaytay City. It is open Sundays to Fridays at 7am to 10pm and Saturdays from 7am to 12mn.

Siglo Modern Filipino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other Zomato foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

The Max’s Group brings All You Can Wednesdays this June

Take your fill of all your favorite food this June with the Max’s Group’s All You Can Wednesdays promo.

The largest casual dining restaurant group in the Philippines, the Max’s Group will have eight of its well-known brands offer their best-selling products which you can eat all you want for only Php349 per brand, such as:

Click on the links above for more details.

This promo is available across 600 stores nationwide.

For tips on how to survive and make the most out of an eat-all-you-can scenario, check out my blog post here.

Check out my reviews of previous dining experiences at Max Group restaurants:

Unwinding at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room

Taking advantage of a credit card promo, my mother-in-law treated us to dinner at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday.

Manila Hotel is a historic 5-star hotel located along Manila Bay. Built in 1909, it is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines.

The Tap Room is Manila Hotel’s English pub-inspired bar. Its dim lighting, dark wood interiors, plush seating and soothing jazz music from live performers make it an appropriate place to unwind in with your favorite drink.

While waiting for our orders, we were served with salted peanuts and green peas to go with our drinks (mine was, of course, a double shot of Bailey’s).

Our food orders included:

  • Pizza Manila Hotel (Php550). A thin-crust pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, Laguna cheese and olives.
  • Slider (Php550). Two cheese-stuffed mini burgers with guacamole and barbecue sauce.
  • Chicken Shawarma Wrap (Php450). Roasted chicken wrapped in a toasted flour tortilla and served with tahina dip, garlic sauce, pickles and French fries.
  • Fried Fish and Chips (Php750). Battered fish fried to a crispy golden brown and served with large cut fries.
  • Deep-fried Calamares (Php450).
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings (Php450).
  • Sizzling Pork Sisig (Php450).

Being located in a 5-star hotel, the Tap Room’s service was top-notch.  The wait staff was elegantly dressed, very accommodating and helpful.  They even brought out a slice of chocolate mousse as a birthday treat for my sister-in-law.

The food was well-presented and well-flavored.  However, given the pricing, hanging out at the Tap Room for dining or drinks is not something I can do too often.

Tap Room - Manila Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato