Kabila Filipino Bistro: Simple and Flavorful

Fresh and simple Filipino flavors, that is how Kabila Filipino Bistro describes their dishes. Raintree Restaurants opened the classy Filipino restaurant in November 2012. The owners knew they had to offer something new and local at the same time so they went on a culinary tour to observe how local dishes are prepared around the country. The items on their menu are not exactly one of a kind and can be found in most Filipino restaurants. What sets them apart is the rendition and careful presentation on each dish. Their menu consisted of local favorites good for pairing and sharing, just how we Filipinos like it.

Kabila Filipino Bistro
Kabila Filipino BistroKabila Filipino Bistro
Kabila Filipino Bistro

Kabila Filipino Bistro is located at the Ayala Museum Complex, on the corner of Makati Avenue and Dela Rosa Street. It is just on the other side of Museum Cafe, which is also owned by Raintree Restaurants - hence the name Kabila. The restaurant's double-height glass windows offer passersby a glimpse of the activity inside while showcasing the simple yet elegant architecture.

Kabila Filipino Bistro
Kabila Filipino BistroKabila Filipino Bistro
Kabila Filipino Bistro

I expected that there will be only a few diners when I met some friends for a mid-afternoon meetup but was surprised that the bistro is quite swamped. Museum Cafe is on the right side of the complex while Kabila is on the left side overlooking the busy Makati Avenue. Patrons have the luxury of getting a table on any side or dine al fresco and order dishes from the menu of both restaurants.

Appetizer
Appetizer

Just as we were looking over the menu, amuse-bouche was served. It comes in small sizes (bite size) and offered free to all those present in the table. It is pre-selected by the chef and served so diners have something to eat while waiting for their orders. For that day, the set consisted of kropek (prawn crackers), garlic roasted peanuts and shingaling. These three are usual snacks that Filipinos eat while watching television or when simply letting time pass by. I tried the roasted peanuts, which tasted different. When I asked the waiter why it was sour, he said they were roasted with tamarind. It was like eating tamarind candies.


Sago at Gulaman

Sago at Gulaman has always been one of my favorite drinks. I was glad to find it in the menu although I was contemplating to ty their Guinumis, which is similar to sago at gulaman but with coconut milk and pinipig toppings. My drink had the usual ayers of tapioca, gelatin and syrup. The taste is good, it has just enough sweetness, there is nothing fancy but still delicious.

Ensalada
Ensalada

Ensaladang Kabila is a mixture of green mango, ripe mango, singkamas (turnip), pomelo (citrus maxima), guapple (oversized guava), tomato relish and salted egg with pili nuts on the side. It is served with bagooong (shrimp paste) and calamansi vinaigrette. The salad gets its sweet-tangy flavor from the ripe and green mangoes, the pomelo adds kick to it. The egg, because of it's salt content, brings all the flavors together. The singkamas and guapple adds texture to this dish. The pili nuts were added as replacement for the usual croutons. Definitely a must try when you dine here.

Shrimp Okoy
Shrimp Okoy

While I am not a fan of Ukoy (Shrimp Fritters), the idea of it being displayed at the counter got me intrigued so I had to order the dish. The Shrimp Ukoy was quite crispy and when mixed with the sukang Ilocos that came with it, was enough to trigger my palate. The ukoy I have tried before had to much taste coming from the flour but Kabila's rendition has the taste of crunchy shrimp.

Fresh Lumpia
Fresh Lumpia

The next appetizer usually looks dull but when the Fresh Lumpia "sa Kabila" was served, the presentation was so unique, I did not want to cut into the dish. The local vegetable eggroll, a combination of ubod, shrimp, minced pork and fresh garlic, is enclosed in a yellow mesh wrapper, which is something unique. If the presentation was beautiful, the taste was simply incredible. I cannot stop digging in when I added a little of the ground peanut and sweet garlic.

Pancit Kabila
Pancit Kabila

Pancit Kabila is a rendition of one of my favorite Pancit Lucban. Just like the pancit made popular in the Quezon province, this dish is a prepared with beef strips, Lucban noodles, carrots, sayote, bok choy and Kabila's special crispy Bagnet. It is best eaten with sinamak (spiced vinegar).

Classic Kare-Kare Buntot
Classic Kare-Kare "Buntot"

Kabila's Classic Kare-kare "Buntot" is very much similar to the versions of other Filipino restaurants. It also uses oxtail, tripe, beef belly eggplant, cabbage and French beans. What makes it different? Unlike most kare-kare that I have tried so far, this is the only version that is not brimming with too much peanut butter sauce. The vegetables seemed that they were cooked separately and just enough to retain the crisp and freshness before they are served on top of the cooked meat.

Alamang Rice
Alamang Rice

A Filipino meal is not complete without rice. For something new, we tried the Alamang Rice with the Kare-kare. Crispy alamang is used to add flavor and taste to the rice. While I am not really a fan of alamang, I can say that Kabila's kare-kare is best eaten with this flavored rice.

Leche Flan Turon
Leche Flan Turon

I have only tried leche flan turon once in one of my favorite Filipino restaurants but that dessert was a total failure, I did try to order it again. Maybe because I can barely taste the leche flan or it was very far from what I was expecting. The Leche Flan Turon from Kabila is way much better and is served with a Chocnut dip.

Chocolate-filled Buchi Balls
Chocolate-filled Buchi Balls

Buchi is one of my favorite Chinese desserts. It is usually cooked using sweet red bean paste as filling. Kabila did a little tweak as they used chocolate as filling and served on top of shot glasses half-filled with mantecado ice cream. Just imagine freshly cooked Chocolate-filled Buchi Balls on top of cold ice cream. Its a fusion of hot and cold.

Impossible Cake
Impossible Cake

The last dessert and most interesting is the Impossible Cake. Yes, you read the name right. It is a two-layered cake with leche flan on top of a moist chocolate cake. Why is it called as such? As Kabila Pastry Chef Alvin Delos Reyes explained, it is rather difficult to layer the flan on top of the moist cake. The top layer is not the same as the regular soft leche flan since it has to be more compact to retain its position but the taste and creaminess is still there. The moist cake has the nice bittersweet taste, a reward for using good quality cocoa.

Each layer can be eaten separately or one can have a taste of both in a forkful. A single slice of this cake is like having three kinds of dessert in one. The taste is delicious but I am not really a fan of both moist chocolate cake or leche flan. Perhaps you can try it and give your comments on how you rate this dessert.

Utazo
Utazo

Utazo's take is the Leche Flan Turon. I think he is probably the one who ate the Chocnut.

Loft
Loft

Kabila also has two separate rooms in the mezzanine floor that can be reserved for business meetings and private functions.

Overall, the dishes that we had at Kabila are delicious, simple yet flavorful. There is nothing fancy but food is definitely succulent. I would want to come back here with friends and try their new dishes when I get the chance. Value for money is quite good considering this is a posh restaurant.

Let me know what you think of their food when you have dined here.

Kabila Filipino Bistro
Ayala Museum Complex
Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa St.
Makati City, Philippines 1200

Reservation concerns:
+632-757-3000 or +632-757-6000
+632-391-4197
Website: www.raintreerestaurants.com/kabila.html
Facebook: www.facebook.com/raintreekabila






Share this article:





0 comments: