[2019-May-19] When you hear Mabini or Ermita, food is definitely not the top of mind item that most people would associate it with. With the advent of malls and the relative deterioration of the area, it has somewhat lost its luster. Just like what ‘Poblacion’ is to Makati, this area used be part of Manila’s ‘Poblacion’.
Mabini’s Kainan, Kapihan, and Tindahan just opened under the Tesoros group of companies wants to revive the area starting with good food and places to eat.
Lets start with the good food part…
Balut Mata Pobre – I probably haven’t eaten balut for more than a decade. I used to enjoy eating balut as a child and even delighted at eating the tiny chick inside. When I grew older, I became squimish re the chick but I still like balit but no longer am delighted by the sight of the tiny chick. Thankfully they arrange the ‘naked’ balut so the tiny chick isn’t so obvious or visible. I just thought of an alternative name for this dish – “Balot na Hubad”, haha
Pansit ni Aling Doreen – hand pulled noodles made at the restaurant, plenty of garnish and ‘sahog’, what’s not to like? Cholesterol overload?
Laing Inside – Fresh water prawn stuffed with laing, hence “Laing Inside”, gets? If you haven’t notice at this point the ‘puns’ made used of to name the dishes then malamang di mo gets, haha. I like the just the right level of spiciness of the laing. On my first mouthfull, I thought it was not spicy but as I chew I started to feel the heat.
Sungka Sungkaan – This set of grilled & fried meats/fish/veggies/etc. with a variety of dips/’sawsawan’ is good for four. I would say the crispy tilapia is the star of this set. While I was young and stayed in the province, I have been used to eating freshly caught tilapia which are normally cooked within minutes so I have been used to very fresh and tasty tilapia. It has caused me to shun/avoid most tilapia served in restaurants having experienced bland at best or with unpleasant taste at worst with the restaurant tilapia. Fortunately, I tried this one, still not as good as what I am used to but quite good and no unpleasant smell or taste.
Skillet Cassava Cake – Not too sweet plus the added flavors of the scorched cheese made this a dessert I like.
Dirty Ensaymada – The ensaymada was soft and crumbly. The ube ‘dirty’ ice cream plus the scorched cheese again leveled up the already good ensaymada.
I know I have some photos of the beautiful interiors of the restaurant but can’t find them at the time of this writing. Once I find them, I will update this post.