Jul 2008

Sentro @ Greenbelt Mall

After lunch at Chicken Bacalod, we shopped at Glorietta and booked our flights to Palawan at a travel agency located inside the mall. We waited until the last minute to book our beach destination in order to view the most up-to-date weather reports. Even though it was officially rainy season in Palawan, things were looking sunny for the moment, so we bit the bullet.

After being mall rats for a couple of hours, I was really feeling the ill effects of the late-night flight and opted to rest in the hotel, while Nina and Cathy continued to shop. Canadians are so much tougher than Americans. Afterwards, The Astronomer and I went on a super-short run. Manila is not a great place to be a long-distance runner. After our brief workout, we met up with the gals for dinner at Sentro, a place that claims to be “First in Modern Filipino Cuisine.”

Like Chicken Bacalod, Sentro is located in a mall (next to Bubba Gump’s to be exact). Greenbelt appeared to be much higher-end and modern compared to Glorietta.

We started off with the Sizzling Tofu (220 PP), which arrived as billed on a cast iron skillet. The tofu was of the silken variety and seasoned with shallots, soy sauce and mayonnaise. Although it sounds a bit strange, especially the mayonnaise bit, we all really enjoyed it, especially with a squeeze of kalamansi juice. I was particularly fond of the browned edges on the soft tofu.

Nina’s favorite dish of the evening was the Maya Maya Escabeche (280 PP)—silver snapper filets, pan fried and cooked in a sweet vinegar sauce with mild garlic ginger flavor. The sauce was what made this dish really special. We analyzed the contents of the sauce for quite a while and thought it tasted like honey mustard and curry even though neither ingredients were present.

For our requisite vegetable side, we chose the okra with garlic chives (180 PP), which came topped with slices of salted eggs. Once again, a seemingly strange combination of flavors, but it totally worked. Prior to arriving in Manila, I did a little bit of research on local foods and was oftentimes turned off by the descriptions. Pinoy cuisine is best tasted firsthand.

We each enjoyed a portion of garlic rice (70 PP per portion) on the side as well. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—garlic rice is pure genius.

The restaurant’s specialty Sinigang (420 PP), a sour soup with corned beef short ribs and boneless shanks in a tamarind broth with native vegetables, was a must-order item. Our waiter brought us a sample of the soup’s standard broth to taste before preparing our portion so we could specify whether we desired it more or less sour. We wanted it sourer!

The soup arrived bubbling on a burner. Sinigang tasted like St. Patrick’s Day fused with Vietnamese canh chua. We all agreed that it was lovely hearty sour soup. Corned beef is so good, why do we only eat it once a year?

And lastly, we indulged in some Portuguese egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery that Nina picked up during her shopping spree. Thanks, Nina! According to the box, Lord Stow’s was established in Macau in 1989. The custard filling was definitely more crème brulee than quiche Lorraine, which The Astronomer appreciated greatly.

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7 thoughts on “Sentro @ Greenbelt Mall

  1. Hi Gastronomy .
    What do you say about the price of the food in Phillipine ? Is it cheaper or more expensive than in Vietnam ? Since 1 PHP ~ 372.91 VND, the average price of some of the dishes you ate is around 55,000 VND . I think it is more expensive than in Vietnam. Am I right ?

  2. Gastronomer, sounds like an interesting meal! I haven’t eaten much filippine cuisine and definitely haven’t had much corned beef, but that stew sounds delicious…

  3. Nina – Found you a recipe for Maya Maya Escabeche. Looks promising.

    Duy – Well, it’s hard to say. In the Philippines, we mainly ate at nice, full-service restaurants so compared to Vietnam, I’d say the prices are comparable. While the street food in Vietnam costs pennies, the full-service restaurants aren’t nearly as cheap.

    Foodhoe – I betcha the Bay has some Pinoy cuisine somewhere! Maybe in San Jose? Or better yet, make a Filipino friend. And the stew was pretty darn good – the corned beef really makes it.

  4. The food look good , all of you have good choice .About the corned beef I think we use it to make “pho” .

  5. I’m going to the Philippines in a month and I will surely dine at this restaurant…Sounds really good to me 🙂 Glad to have read this blog about Philippine cuisine right before I leave…I will definitely try the Okra with Salted Eggs, Sinigang and those Portuguese Egg Tarts…Can’t wait 🙂

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