Wednesday, June 5, 2013

# 1521 Restaurant # Burgos Circle

What's with 1521?

1521 is the year when explorer Ferdinand Magellan set foot on Philippine shores that have created a mixture of cultures in the modern Philippine setting. This is the reason which Chef Tanke Tankeko explained gave birth to the name of her restaurant, 1521 Restaurant.

A photo with Chef Tanke. My OOTD: Dress by Xara.

The Interiors

The interiors of 1521 Restaurant brings one back to the past. With its black and white images of Filipinos in baro't saya and barong tagalog. The rolls of banig on one side of the restaurant that seems inviting one to stay for a long time while the other side has a display of the traditional Filipino fans. The music inside the restaurant are the OPM hits of the Apo Hiking Society which reminded me that I'm at the present world taking a glimpse of the colorful history of the Philippines.

The Menu

An extension of the interiors matches 1521 Restaurant's menu. It feels like one is being re-introduced to Filipino food as what its menu states "Rediscover Filipino Cuisine." The food on the menu might be familiar but it's given with a modern twist like how Magellan's arrival to the Philippines have changed our culture into how it is today. Aside from the familiarity of the items in the menu, one will notice how creative the names of the items are which were brought about by Chef Tanke's creative past being an Executive Creative Director of Creative Juice Manila and Creative Director for various multinational agencies. I can't help myself but take photos of each page of the menu since the creative names of these familiar food items deserved to be featured!

The Drinks

Before eating anything, I have a habit of drinking a glass of water or any drinks first. As you've seen on the menu above, I've chosen the following unique drinks:

Pipino-Mint Cooler has a subtle taste of pipino (or cucumber in English) and a refreshing minty taste that soothes the throat. I'm unsure if the drink has a bit of ginger juice but it has the soothing effect of ginger. The drink just fits the sunny tropical weather of the Philippines because of its refreshing effect that make one feel cooler. It's very true to its name that it's really a cooler for a hot warm day!

Pipino-Mint Cooler

Kamias Cooler is the highly recommended drink of Chef Tankes. I think this drink boosts on how we, Filipinos love their drinks to taste sweet and sour at the same time to be paired with our salty cuisine which makes our meals well-balance in taste!

Kamias Cooler

My friend Rhea Bue had Kinadkad na Melon which is a regular Filipino drink that one can see on sidewalks or canteens. It reminds the simple happiness this simple drink can bring!

Kinadkad na Melon
Each order comes in a pitcher!
A closer look.
The Appetizers

The appetizers in 1521 Restaurant are more than the usual appetizers that one sees in regular Filipino restaurants. Some of the dishes contain pickled kamias which tastes fantastic and very appetizing! The pickled kamias is a specialty of Chef Tanke's mom that she learned from her mom.

Introducing the Ka-Musta-Cat Salad which means "kamatis" (tomato), "mustasa" (mustard) and cat fish mixed together in a special vinegrette. Chef Tanke even gave a joke that no cats were harmed in making this salad. Haha! :D I love how the salad has a bit of crunch in each bite! Also, the sourness of the salad was washed away my my Pipino-Mint Cooler drink which made it a perfect match!

Ka-Musta-Cat Salad

Bad Banana Chips were named such because there's a hidden garlicky flavor in each bite! I've always loved banana chips but I never knew how mixing garlic with banana chips can actually make it quite appetizing and you can't stop eating just 1 chip!

Bad Banana Chips (The presentation reminds me of the banana's heart.)

Swak na Swak Chicharon Bulaklak is a very sinful treat of fried salty pig intestines paired with pickled kamias. I'm not a fan of chicharon bulaklak because of its high cholesterol content. However, since I'm doing a food review, I tried the smallest piece paired with the pickled kamias and sinamak (a type of vinegar). It was actually really good and I was so tempted to eat another one but thinking I'm still having appetizer, I controlled myself for the next batches of good food.

Swak na Swak Chicharon Bulaklak

Pinalutik na Inantala is a dish which I think will perfectly fits beer! These pork cracklings are served with "mustasa" (mustard) leaves which you can wrap and eat together with any of these: sinamak (a type of vinegar), pickled kamias and burong tilapia served together with it.

Pinalutik na Inantala
Pickled Kamias
Burong Tilapia

Dinamitang Keso (cheese dynamite) with mango wasabi dip that will make any cheese lover fall in love with cheese all the more!

Dinamitang Keso

As you can see from the food photos, Filipino cuisine are not meant to be eaten alone. Each dish are quite big and good for sharing because Filipinos eat in groups. It is in meal time that Filipinos get to chat with their family, friends, colleagues or even to seal a deal! Just by looking at the big portions of the appetizers, you'll know that something better is yet to happen.

The group of bloggers

Rhea Bue enjoying the food.
I'm ready to start eating too!

The Main Course

Let's start with the most controversial item: Talong Mo Kay Tulfo
"Tortang talong" (eggplant omelette) is something quite staple in every Filipino households. It's usually mixed with ground meat but in 1521 Restaurant, what's inside is very controversial just like its name! Inside the "tortang talong" (eggplant omelette) is "sisig" (chopped pig's head)!

Talong Mo Kay Tulfo

Bonggang Bonggang Binagoongan is one of my favorite dish at 1521 Restaurant. My first pick is the Ka-Musta-Cat Salad and this have to be the second one. The pork is deep fried with bagoong (shrimp paste) and topped with green mango strips that teases the palette to eat more because of the salty-sour goodness!

Bonggang Bonggang Binagoongan

Busog na Bangus is for the fish lovers and diet conscious who wants to eat good food minus the calories. The regular busog na bangus has onions & tomatoes but 1521's version has an added salty egg and jalapeno that gives the fish a hint of spice in each bite. Since it's already quite salty with the egg, you may opt not to put soy sauce. However, if you're a soy sauce lover like I am, you'll want to put some. It takes out the fishy taste and brings in a more savory one. ;)

Busog na Bangus

Pochero ni Tankeko is a must have! It's Chef Tanke's specialty that she suggests must be eaten together with Talong Ranger (eggplant salad). It's on my number 3 list simply because you can't eat it without rice! The sauce is so good that one must pair it with a lot of rice! According to Chef Tanke, pochero is usually in the form of soup. The soup in her pochero as you can see already looks like sauce because of its richness. The richness is brought about by the long hours of boiling the beef mixed with mashed bananas and sweet potatoes! If you love rice, this is the dish for you to pair your rice with!

(L-R) Talong Ranger with Pochero ni Tankeko

Ifugao Rice which reminds one of Banawe Rice Terraces!

If you think that's already enough to make you salivate, there's more!!! To make the meal more memorable than it already is, we still had desserts!

The Desserts

If we started the appetizer with bananas, we're also starting dessert with bananas. Here's Nilasing na Saging (drunk bananas)! True to its name, these bananas are cooked in rum together with jackfruit making the bananas more aromatic and sweeter.

Nilasing na Saging

1521 Leche Flan is our last dessert. Filipinos love leche flan so much that we even put it on ice cream or halo-halo. The leche flan on 1521 is named such because of its special touch of flavor from "dayap" (lemon rind) shavings. It has jelly-like texture but the taste of milk and egg is very strong. Reminds me of puddings but with a special touch of citrus taste.

1521 Leche Flan

Eating in 1521 Restaurant truly feels like a re-introduction of the Filipino cuisine. The familiar food that we know of can still be improved even better like what this restaurant has developed. The brown, white and black colors of the interior do invite groups eat together, chat and stay to chat more!

Our table's group photo. (L-R) Chuck, Myk, Mars, Chef Tanke, Rhea and Joyfully Yours!
May I add more awesome information? 1521 Restaurant was the 2009 Best Filipino Restaurant Nominee of the year for the Nescafe Gold Spot Awards!

If you still want more information about 1521 Restaurant, you may visit their Facebook page: 1521resto or their website If you're getting hungry because of the photos, better reserve a table now and call them at (+632) 5521909.

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