Bangus has been in the food industry for 31 years, yet we have not dined in this restaurant in those three decades even once—until now. Bangus Restaurant’s first branch is located at Crossroad Arcade in Greenhills, San Juan. It was opened in September 22, 1982 by owners Erlinda de Mesa Yap and Diana de Mesa Santamaria. Since its anniversary, the restaurant has been innovating their dishes to delight food lovers everywhere with mouthwatering milkfish-infused specialty recipes.
Their house specialties are not limited to bangus; rather, they include Crispy Tadyang ng Baka, Rellenong Manok, Kare-kare Buntot (Ox Tail) and Lechon Kawali as well. I was awed upon seeing many pescetarian-friendly items on the menu: Sizzling Kangkong, Puso ng Saging, Pinakbet, Tinumok and Lumpiang Capampangan. Other guilt-free dishes are: Ensalada Mangga, Fried Milk Fish Belly with Sampalok Candy Sauce and Crispy Kangkong, Bangus Prime Cut Bistek, and Binusog na Tinapang Bangus.
Review of Bangus (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)
I liked that the ambiance of the room was majestically lit and the walls were painted and designed with bright, mood-boosting colors. The fish on the background was cute, too! 😀 What I didn’t like? The area was cramped, with tables and chairs almost positioned next to each other. There were a lot of dining customers that day and this may be also one reason why air was not that cool.
Staff were attentive and friendly. They aim to please. As we warmed up to our seats, they came instantly to hand us the menu. Food was served after 10-15 minutes as promised, so they’re considerably efficient given that they’re busy.
Few restaurants seem to get everything right; you’d do best to pick your favorite by their specialty. At Bangus, it’s bangus! So we have to order at least one of their best-selling bangus dishes. It took us a while to decide; finally, we got the Sizzling Bangus (PHp 295) and Kare-kareng Bangus (PHp 395).
Once landed on our table, the accompanying sauce was poured onto the hot plate of Sizzling Bangus, making the entire entree look far more appealing. But in my view, it still lacked the spectacle associated with a similar display of sizzling plates served in other restaurants, since the milkfish did not appear to be juicy but thin and dry. Flavor-wise, the soy sauce used was apparent and the taste of the onions was compelling.
For the second dish, bangus cooked in the kare-kare was fried, so it missed the tenderness I was expecting. I would want the fish to be just boiled without the crispy exterior and rubbery feel on the inner flesh. Nevertheless, the vegetables soaked up the nutty kare-kare mix — delicious! The broth was so creamy and toothsome. Grab a bowl of hot steamed rice (PHp 50) and enter paradise. We added bagoong (shrimp paste) which made the dish more appetizing.
The Adobong Sugpo sa Aligi (PHp 390) left such an indelible impression. The tiger shrimps in crab eggs were filled with sweet and briny juices that pool in the curve of the shell. They somewhat tasted like the buttered shrimps at Dampa marinated in orange soda. Such are too rich for everyday eating, but as an occasional treat, they’re well worth the effort and the calories. I thought it’s also good to mention here that the shell was easily removed, implying that the shrimps were not overcooked and they were fresh.
Staff said that their Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (PHp 185) recipe includes tiny bits of meat. So we asked to have them removed and make this dish completely vegetarian. Our wish was their command. The sautéed vegetables were crunchy and stayed true to their supposed unique tastes — sweet and savory. I’d prefer coconut milk with thicker cream though.
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
As the name suggests, Bangus Specialty Restaurant is predominantly a seafood (bangus) joint. I found their food quite good. The only knock against the dishes is the portion size, which is stingy (see the Sizzling Bangus and Adobong Sugpo sa Aligi as examples) and not tantamount to the prices. Food prices are generally bad news for the wallet.
Ground Floor, Connecticut Carpark Building 1, Greenhills Shopping Centre, Greenhills, San Juan City | 02 7253038, 02 2121212