Last Sunday, we went to SM Megamall mainly because of the three-day sale. Weekends are the perfect time for retail therapy, and there’s no better time than SALE SEASON! For lunch, we just felt like having pasta and pizza, and one of the most popular restaurants in the mall that has a menu heavy in that department is Linguini Fini. It’s an Italian-American restaurant based in Hong Kong but with a New York attitude. I remember the time when it first opened in the Philippines, diners just went frenzy appreciating fine pasta made from scratch. It’s pretty high up there on the list of places to hang out for a family meal as well. Are the tastes exciting though? Let’s find out! 🙂
Review of Linguini Fini (SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City)
Interior design at Linguini Fini Manila (SM Megamall Fashion Hall) was based on custom-made furniture objects which define a certain local vibe matched with eccentricity. The walls, for instance, looked like a piece of modern art made up of a collage of cultural icons of the Philippines. Illustrations of Manny Pacquiao, carabao, Jeepney, and Jose Rizal were distinctively evident. Highly noticeable also were the quirky “can” stool sets that could serve as good conversation starters. Colors everywhere were stimulating to raise appetite.
The servers looked like they were acting in a fast-forward mode. It was entertaining for us to see their efficient actions as they serve busy tables at the peak of lunch hour. No one was clumsy even those inside the kitchen floor. The open kitchen revealed a frenzied knot of white-coated chefs with red caps working at break-neck speed to keep pace with orders. Service was great overall.
We asked for a vegetarian entree and the Wild Mushroom Pizza (PhP 460) was best recommended. It was really a scrumptious one! The thin-crust pizza featured liberal toppings and sprinklings of shitake, ricotta, and porcini. The flavors meld together so nicely. Portion (eight slices) was ample enough to serve three to four people. Order with supreme confidence.
For pasta choices, we once again sought advice from the crew. We got the Pappardelle “Nose to Tail Bolo” (Lite, PhP 245) and the Baked Ziti (Lite, PhP 250) which did not score as high as the pizza in our book.
Pappardelle was described as a single-layered lasagna with pork testa, veal and oxtail ragu as fillings in between. I thought it sounded interesting and good for us to be reveling in the pasta glory. Alas, it wasn’t something for my taste. The rich and heavy tomato sauce sat in pretty much okay; the flavor was sharp, tangy, and salty. The texture of the broad, flat pasta was great as it was firm to crumbly. The meat components, on the other hand, were not as satisfactory. Maybe this was because I’m not passionate about the mix of oxtail, veal, and pork. I have to stay far away next time.
The Baked Ziti was a safe bet, but nothing off the wall. Their ziti was a sculpture of perfectly aligned tubular smooth noodles. As a familiar dish, it’s a great comfort food. Bolognese plus mozzarella plus focaccia bread crumbs equals joy. The contrast of tangy sauce with creamy elements brought more vitality.
Price for Value:
To be clear, we did not have a bad experience at Linguini Fini Manila. It may never be the best pizza and pasta place for my liking, but it can be good. We can’t ignore the other positive factors mentioned above. Solid food preparations and freshly-made pasta make it a must-try spot. Each order does not come exactly cheap but has fari value. Set the right expectations going in, which is half the battle for any meal, and you’ll walk away quite satisfied.