Sometimes, we take for granted that Filipino cuisine consists of a variety of flavors. Since it’s homegrown, we sometimes neglect that there is so much more to explore in Filipino cuisine. Take for example, the new restaurant in Tomas Morato called Amano serves Southern Luzon cuisine. The interesting part is that they fused the dishes and made it into one whole unique dish. Luckily, we were invited to taste Southern Luzon cuisine when Amano held their food tasting event last Sunday.
The color motif of Amano is white and green and the design is very simple. There is a loft inside the restaurant that has the view of the busy street of Tomas Morato. Also, there is a bar inside where bartenders can serve cocktail drinks. They don’t want the customers feel the traditional ‘rural’ feel whenever you go to a Filipino restaurant. For Amano, they are perceived to be cosmopolitan FIlipino. Even the condiments on the table represent the Southern Luzon region. The thing inside the wine glass is called “Bonggan”, it’s dried fish from Bicol with crushed chili. If the Chinese has chili powder, for Southern Luzon cuisine, there’s Bonggan.
Appetizer (Monay Amano served with coco jam, peanut butter and sardines)
There were a lot of dishes to try and as always, we are excited whenever we try new things. We were first served with the appetizer – Monay Amano with coco jam, peanut butter and sardines. Everything on this appetizer were made by them. This appetizer is on the house so need not worry that you’ll be billed when you’re served by your waiter. By the way, the monay Amano is free so if you still want to have some more bread, just tell them.
My favorite among the three spreads is the sardines. It tastes like Spanish sardines. Karla liked the coco jam more. If you will notice, their food presentation is not like your conventional Filipino restaurant with the banana leaves because they want to achieve the modern-Filipino ambiance.
Cavite Monggo Soup
I have never been really a fan of monggo soup ever since I was a kid so when I saw this on the food tasting menu, I was having doubts that this will taste good. But, as a food blogger, I should be adventurous. As you can see on the photo above, the three white spoons contains chicharon, fried shrimp and tinapa (smoked fish). The monggo soup has fried vermicelli. I tasted the monggo soup first without the additional condiments. I was surprised that I appreciated the monggo soup! When I sprinkled the chicharon, fried shrimp and tinapa, the more I became a fan of this dish. I was surprised with myself that I was able to successfully finish the monggo soup (and even had another bowl of it! 🙂 ) The chicharon, fried shrimp and tinapa added texture and salty flavor to the soup. I’ll definitely order this when I go back there.
Torta de Patata is a combination of Tortang Talong (eggplant omelette) and potatoes with garlic coriander. It’s somewhat looks like quiche because they added cheese in the eggplant omelette. I actually suggested Chef Kelvin some things about this dish. It was a bit dry, probably because it was molded with quickmelt cheese and also the eggplant is separated. They used a bulb eggplant (it’s much cuter than the normal 🙂 ) and placed it at the middle of the molded ground pork and cheese. I suggested that it would be much better if the eggplant will be cut into strips and combine it in the omelette mixture so that the eggplant’s taste and moisture would combine with the other ingredients. Then, the tip of the eggplant can just be used as a garnish. It would be much easier for the customer to eat the dish when the eggplant isn’t separated. Or why not make it into an eggplant quiche instead? That’s a nice idea too. 🙂
Amano combined Laing (from Bicol) and Pinangat (from Quezon). It’s very tasty and there is an abundance of dried fish. Although when I was already halfway with my Laing Ala Pinangat, my throat was feeling itchy probably due to the Taro leaves.
The Palawan Tilapia is topped with linga (sesame seeds) and has bagoong (fish paste) in between the fish meat. The fish is already filleted so you won’t have a hard time eating it. The tilapia was fresh however, it seemed small (or probably the plate was too big?).
To cleanse our palates, we were served with Calamansi Sorbet with Fruit Caviars. I haven’t tasted fruit caviars before (or even the real caviar) but I surely enjoyed this delicacy.
The last dish that were served to us was the Bicol Express. Now, I am a fan of Bicol Express and I appreciated their own rendition of it. The serving of this dish is also enough to make one person full. It’s served with rice and pineapple jam (?). The spiciness was enough for me however, it may not be tolerable for others.
And for our dessert, we had Amano Halo-Halo. The molded ice is made of coconut juice. Now this dessert tends to melt at once so it’s better to eat it while it’s still firm. 2-3 people can share this dessert.
I was also able to taste one of their cocktails which is the Amano Spring Concoction (photo-right). It’s made of lime, pineapple, grenadine syrup, and gin. The Amano Spring is like your typical ladies’ drink with less alcoholic content.
Their price ranges from Php 120-150 and nothing more than that. They are planning to provide free wifi service to their customers. Amano will be fully operational starting the 3rd week of July.
The experience of dining in Amano is for someone who is adventurous enough to try something that is out of the box. Even though there is a fusion of flavors, there is still the sense of familiarity to the Filipino customers. I would recommend this place when you feel like eating fusion of flavors from Southern Luzon the cosmopolitan way.