Monday, May 25, 2015

Alta Pampanga Resto Bar & Cafe: A Fusion of Kapampangan and Other Culinary Treats


Wazzup Pilipinas!

What could be better than listening to iconic songs from the Beatles, and other notable artists from the same generation, sang by a youthful acoustic trio who goes by the name of Trisera, while dining on a fusion of East Asian, Mediterranean, and Kapampangan culinary treats? Maybe a great windy penthouse ambiance situated in a building that is more advanced than the neighborhood it is located because of its low-emission glass windows and self-cleaning front glass that protects you from harmful UV rays? or maybe an elevator to take you up to the penthouse so you'll avoid walking several flight of stairs? or maybe a building that uses LED lights, inverter airconditioning units, and a sewerage treatment facility that let's you peacefully enjoy a more Mother Earth friendly surrounding?

But wait, Alta Pampanga Resto Bar and Café boasts of being all that and more. It's the very first building already operational that can proudly say it's also helping the environment while serving excellent food to its customers.

We had the opportunity to try out Alta Pampanga after we got an invite to attend a mini-photo exhibit entitled Estructura Herencia by Mal-A-Ari held last May 17 at the said venue in Angeles, Pampanga. Together with other bloggers, we arrived at our destination earlier than expected as the organizers were still setting up the place. We waited for a few more minutes before the management and owner arrived to welcome and orient us about the building, the restaurant and their plans for the future.

There was also a small program conducted to launch the mini photo exhibit highlighted by a ribbon cutting. The exhibit is just one of the many attractions and events they plan to hold regularly at the venue. The Alta Pampanga Resto Bar and Café is not just a food destination but also a source of heritage and culture with its regular offering of related attractions.

We were served with authentic Kapampangan dshes like Ensaladang paku (Kapampangan native salad composed of ferns with tomatoes and salted duck eggs), Adobong Matua (Kampampangan old style Adobong maputi), Samgyupsal Cabalen (Kapampangan version of the Popular Korean Dish composed of marinated or seasoned pork belly meat), and other delightful side dishes like the kimchi, marble potatoes, etc.

We were also served Mediterannean culinary cuisines that further made the night a memorable feast. There were desserts popular in Pampanga like the San Nicolas cookies otherwise known as Panecillos de San Nicolas more popularly sourced from Atching Lillian Borromeo of the town of Mexico who is known as Pampanga’s culinary expert and keeper of Kapampangan heirloom recipes.

There was also the not-so-new upgraded "turon" that uses coconut and monggo beans as among its ingredients coupled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I've seen and tasted many similar versions of this dessert already.

I was actually also anticipating tibuk-tibuk, moche, turrones de casoy, pastillas, plantanilla and others but they were not around. The cookies would have been great paired with batirol chocolate drink.

The food kept on coming while Trisera acoustic's members Nico Alfaro(guitar), Tong Mactal(drums) and Lester Alfaro(bass) played those adorable music from the early years when music was still fascinating and less of a noise pollution.

As foodies, it was a treat that we normally get from restaurants who want to impressed us with their specialties. But Alta Pampanga would not need to overwhelm us with too much pleasure as we could not really take them all in in just one seating.

The night was also not favorable for a better photo-shoot as the dark did not help in capturing the real beauty of their dishes. The food shots needed justice that can only be achieved by good lighting to really bring out how equally great they look. Kudos to the chef for a making sure we are gastronomically satisfied.

I would love to talk about the dishes one by one but buffet often confuses my taste buds when we get to eat the dishes in just one plating. I unavoidably make the mistake of mixing the food thus spoiling their individual tastes. This is why I don't like buffet reviews and prefer to try out food one plate at a time.

The succeeding dishes served was too late as I already filled myself up from the buffet not expecting there would be more so there was no more room left in my belly to fairly review the upcoming dishes. I seem to always lose the ability to taste properly when I'm full already. Thus it would prefer to request a repeat dining experience where I should insist having the food served one plate at a time.

The GELDC building, otherwise known as Global Eco-Link Development Corporation, is a very promising venue for potential business partners and tenants who would like to take advantage of the green and advance technologies implemented within the commercial spaces offered by the building. But The details about this building I wrote at an earlier blog post, and this time I am to write about the restaurant and the food served.

Though I found nothing strikingly outstanding from the food choices, the buffet and other plated dishes were satisfactory enough to warrant a return if only I was not too plump. Both me and my wife agreed that it was the Sisig that was the life of the party making it our title photo. The other dishes were neither good or bad, but just about right for my palate. However, my wife said she liked everything. Unlike me, she rarely eats like a pig so she definitely has enough room for more of the dishes that came later. But unlike me as well, I get to experience more restaurant reviews than her so I guess that makes me the better food reviewer. Lol!

Being fairly new, Alta Pampanga has the potential in time to improve their dishes and make them stand out from the rest especially from the popular ones we have tried back in Manila. Just as the other new restaurateurs, many experiment on many dishes before hitting it right with what customers would make their favorite among the many choices. Though it's good to have plenty of culinary choices, it is better to capitalize on certain specialties that will make people come back for more.

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