Thursday, June 18, 2015

True Deli Cafe: Tikman at Namnamin Ang Mga Natatanging Pagkaing Pinoy

Wazzup Pilipinas!

We would always say to never judge a book by its cover. But we could not really help ourselves since the outward appearance of something is a really powerful motivating factor to urge us to pay closer attention. This is why models would always be generally good looking and fit. The beauty of how things are presented plays a vital role in eliciting interests from people.

However, there are just some that you would only discover as surprising great only when you look beyond the lavish packaging and look closely at what's inside.

There's this restaurant located at the upper ground floor of Victoria Station 1 right beside the GMA-Kamuning MRT station that is totally underrated even though they have been around since 2011.

They do not have an impressive exterior. It's just a simple straight-forward façade with a small signage on top unlike those from other restaurants that really stand out because of either huge colorful signage or other stuffs like statues of their mascots, or big bold letters spelling out their name. There is nothing really special that will make you want to get in because of curiosity of what the inside awaits.

The cultural Filipino ambiance brought about by their Capiz shell window designs that adorn portions of the ceilings, some paintings hanged on the walls, and those lights and chandelier-like object made out of colorful bottles, the assorted textiles with various designs on the walls, the customized seats that can be easily rearrange as per seating requirements of guests, an elevated part of their restaurant sorts of highlight a veranda setting, make their interior really awesome as compared with other huge restaurants in the Philippines that just maximized on the space to make way for lots of tables and seats. In short, they made sure the ambiance stunning enough to please instead of just allocating everything as plain space.

But wait until you've tasted their food. This is when you will truly utter the word "Awesome!"  

We visited the restaurant a few days ago and had an impressive dining experience thanks to their delightful Filipino meals which they would boasts as "Natatanging Pagkaing Pinoy" or Filipino Unique.

Except for their Salads and Sandwiches category, their menu would also list down their dishes in their Tagalog names keeping loyal to the Filipino language. Maybe because there's no equivalent Tagalog word for the two so they keep the list in English.

Mainit na Sabaw ng Kalabasa (P 90)
The Mainit na Sabaw ng Kalabasa is their tasty hot squash soup. You'll notice they keep the onions still distinguishable by tongue when you take a sip of this soup unlike in some restaurants where you'll only feel the cream. It's a lot better when it's served hot.

Pillows in the Garden (P 120)
The Pillows in the Garden is composed of fried breaded Kesong Puti in lettuce salad and calamansi vinaigrette. I think this is the first time I had salad with huge blocks of fried cheese. You'll be tempted to eat the so called "pillows" first before trying out with the salad. Before you forget, it's advisable to pour in all the calamansi vinaigrette before you start eating for a more sumptuous experience.

Crispy Pata (P 540)
You'll adore their Crispy Pata. I need to stay away from too much pork but this is so irresistible. Truly crispy in the outside, tender in the inside. We couldn't stop ourselves in partaking this "putok-batok" treat.

Dinakdakan  (P 165)
The Dinakdakan was a bot weird for me since I don't normally have encounters with food drenched in Mayonnaise. That is usually expected in a macaroni salad but this Ilocos region appetizer was a bit stimulating because it was a different kind of sweetness for a pork dish. My first time to try something like this.

Kare-Kare (P 230)
As a Filipino, you will definitely feel proud of their tasty Kare-Kare. My wife has been trying her best to imitate such a dish but the instant Kare-Kare sauces available in the market cannot match the one at True Deli Café. Their "bagoong" is equally great.

Litson Baboy Ramo with Sarsa ng Kabute (P 270)
The Litson Baboy Ramo with Sarsa ng Kabute was so tasty and tender, and much better than ordinary pork meat. Though it could probably need something more to spice up the taste to make it stand out as a special dish. It is not everyday you get to dine on wild pigs so the restaurant should make it look and taste a bit more awesome.

Pinakbet (P 115)
Their Pinakbet is going to rock your world. This is the best vegetable dish I had in my entire life. Their "espesyal na alamang" was to die for. I keep getting a big spoonful of this like I want to keep it for myself.

Sinigang na Salmon sa Mismo (P 280)
The Sinigang na Salmon sa Mismo was another favorite. You may want to order this to be served first so it can become your soup to start the day right and give you a better appetite. We ate this all up and left nothing in the bowl.

Tapang Tupa (P 290)
Another rare dish I don't regularly encounter is the Tapang Tupa or lamb beef. It was a sweet variety that would be great if matched with some garlic rice and salted eggs. I'm not really a fan of the sweet dishes except for pork tocino but this was something you should not miss out. I suggest to maybe make the presentation a lot more glorifying to make it more appetizing.

Sizzling Lomo ng Baboy (P 235)
The Sizzling Lomo ng Baboy are tender chunks of pork loin with sides of carrots and green peas poured with a generous serving of peppercorn sauce. You'll remember this dish well enough to warrant a return to the restaurant.

Bonggang Manok (P 530)
The Bonggang Manok is boneless chicken with ham and cheese under the skin. Talk about making your chicken as awesome as this. It's chicken made even better. Best option for take-out orders and bring home to the family for sharing during dinner.

Pritong Manok ala True Deli (P 450)

If you're the traditional fried chicken lover, The Pritong Manok ala True Deli will not disappoint. This is another great alternative for take-out but it's fun to share this at the restaurant with the entire family or barkada or colleagues at work, to find out who's the fastest to grab the pair of legs or wings.

The True Deli Cafe also has several drinks to choose from like shakes, sago't gulaman, the fresh Buko juice and varieties of coffee and Frappuccino, but basically only one dessert available which was the kesong puti cheesecake which they endearingly call in Tagalog as tsiskeyk but not memorable enough to make me want to have a repeat performance. It was not creamy enough and a bit rough and powdery on the tongue.

Kesong Puti (P 55, P 70 if with blueberry and P 90 if with ice cream) 
My best recommendation for drinks is the fresh Buko juice which you can ask to be cut in half after you've drank the juice so you can eat the coconut meat afterwards. It's not only refreshing, it's filling as well.

Sariwang "Fresh" Buko (P 85)
Overall, the four of us - three generations of our family - loved our lunch at True Deli Café, and we're hoping to try out their other dishes too since there's still a lot in the menu that we still would like to experience.

Thank you True Deli Café for such an awesome day of family bonding. Nothing beats a day filled with yummy culinary treats coming from our very own country. I may be biased when I say Filipino dishes would always remain to be the best for me, but I've tasted almost every dish from other countries and there's nothing quite like what is served home and ate together with our loving family.

I guess "delicious" also comes easily when you share the food with the ones you really love. Food taste a lot better when eaten in the company of people who equally love you.

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