Last Saturday morning, I met strong winds and heavy rainfall on my way to Sentro 1771, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, but the awful weather didn’t stop me from safely arriving at the restaurant early for lunch time. 🙂 In this post, let us take a peek at these crave-worthy Filipino food and discover the first modern Filipino cuisine by renowned executive chef Vicky Pacheco, owner of Chateau 1771 group of restaurants.
Review of Sentro 1771 (Serendra, Bonifacio Global City)
According to the staff, this branch of Sentro 1771 in Serendra has been established since 2009 (while the first branch in Greenbelt, Makati has been around for the past 11 years). But the decors and the furnishings still looked new. The ambiance was particularly cool, with high ceilings, large wall paintings, gigantic windows to allow natural lighting, and consistent theme all around. One noticeable thing was the flowers which were placed on each table and the huge arranged bouquet by the entrance.
The busy chefs can be seen through the transparent glasses that separate the dining area and the kitchen in the counter. Above it was a list of signature dishes and other food that are well worth the crave. The fact that they were written by hand adds up to the creativity of the design.
Customers can choose to dine in either on the first floor (indoor or outdoor) or the second floor of this restaurant. Both are quite spacious and I think this place can be a good venue for parties, big gatherings and other events. Once reservations are placed, the name of the guest is written on a piece of paper that’s set on the reserved table.
Service was just impeccable. Staff, once called, immediately forwards and grants the requests. They were cooperative during the food event. All seemed pleasant and approachable, reflecting a good mark of Filipinos’ hospitality. 🙂
First in line for our cameras and critiques was a pica-pica entrée: skewered and grilled organic chicken gizzards cooked adobo-style. For as long as I can remember, I had the impression that chicken gizzards (muscular second stomachs) are dirt-cheap and wholly delicious. Filipinos love to eat them on the streets, but I have not tried or dared to have a bite myself. I’m not that adventurous when it comes to offal; the truth is, I was scared that swallowing animal innards would ruin my “clean” diet and bring harm to my body. Yeah, I had been that conscious all my life and it was only last year when I started exploring “other edible stuff” aside from ones that I’ve been accustomed to.
So there I was, seated on the table with bloggers, momentarily deciding if I would eat it or not. Finally, my curiosity won over. Congratulations to me! I thought the B2B stick (four pieces for PHp 150), which appeared like a pile of tender, boneless, skinless, dark meat chicken nuggets, was not bad after all. It had a slightly chewy texture (not too rubbery) and feral taste.
The Duck Pancakes (PHp 170) came next. These are boneless, beautifully cooked melt-in-the-mouth strips of native duck slow-cooked in beer, rhum vinegar, soy sauce, and muscovado sugar. The dish was presented with four soup spoons of duck covered by rather thick and hard Chinese pancake pockets. I’m not sure if the pancake was overcooked or was just too exposed to the air before serving. In any case, the duck pancakes tasted great.
Thirdly, we had the Macau Chorizo and Cheese Tidbits (PHp 240), a classic comfort food with a twist, which was nothing short of sensational. It consisted of mini spring rolls filled with Macau chorizo, shallots and keso de bola, one we’d love to replicate and try cooking at home with some improvisations as well. 😀
The fourth dish was my favorite: Seafood Bagoong Rice (PHp 530) topped with grilled squid, garlic shrimps and hito flakes (add PHp 45 if brown rice or red rice). Elevating humble seafood ingredients to delicious heights, it was a meal in itself! The bagoong’s (fermented shrimp paste’s) saltiness mellowed, and the sweetness of the shrimp and catfish/hito flakes evidently came forward. The pungent smell and taste of the bagoong was complemented by the green mangoes. Super yummy! I’d remember this seafood bagoong rice as an exemplary dish having that “umami flavor bomb” that can transport the diner’s mind to somewhere otherworldly.
Next up were the “pot dishes”: Chicken Adobo sa Gata (PHp 250) and one of Sentro’s signature food, the Lamb Caldereta (PHp 480). These are definitely most recommended to foreigners who have not tasted any Filipino specialty meals.
The Chicken Adobo sa Gata retained the vinegar-garlic-peppercorn balance but thickened with coconut milk. The sauce can be slurped with a spoon but is best eaten with rice! The Lamb Caldereta, on the other hand, consisted of Australian boneless lamb shoulder stewed in a not-really-spicy way with carrots and bell peppers. This could be considered as the next crown jewel of Philippine home-style cooking. 🙂
Ms. Vicky then surprised us on how the house specialty, Sinigang na Corned Beef (PHp 595), is prepared and cooked. Vibrant pink in color, the briskets of beef were cured in salt brine, with some spices that added flavor. The beef takes five days to cure, so you can stop wondering just why the resulting boneless beef shanks are so soft. This is another dish that’s best paired with rice, as the tamarind broth with native vegetables was really appetizing.
Next, we welcomed the Camote Cups (four pieces for PHp 240)— carved sweet potatoes filled with cabbage, Baguio beans and carrots—for a splash of color and change from meaty episodes to vegetarian-friendly course. The presentation was pretty and mouthwatering. I was already so full but still managed to push these lovely veggies to my mouth, as the aroma was tempting, hitting me in the face. The Camote Cups were rich and light, with little explosions of flavor from the different vegetables. Add the lumpia sauce with minced garlic and you get a prolific condiment crossing boundaries to anything your heart desires.
Another good choice for lacto-ovo vegetarians is the Two-Egg Ampalaya Crepe (PHp 150) with sauteed bitter melon on an egg crepe, topped with salted duck egg. In fairness, the bitterness of the bitter melon was bearable. Even if it was too bitter, I think I would still love it because of its medicinal and healthy properties. This was quite a refreshing dish that’s worth looking into, even if it takes some an acquired palate to appreciate.
Served on a big blue platter, the Talakitok/Pampano (Jackfish) in Pandan had tomatoes as fillings. It was like a home-made dish made gourmet-like. The secret must be the freshness of the fish and knowing exactly how long to let it marinate. It came with a simple soy sauce, but I used vinegar instead for a tangier taste.
Throughout the meal, we sipped on Fresh Dalanghita Juice (PHp 120 a pitcher) and water to help wash the food down. I love anything that bites (in a pleasant fashion, of course), with a tang and the mandarin orange element in this nailed it for me.
Just when we thought the treats were over, Keso Flan (PHp 220), Fried Suman and Mangoes (PHp 180) and Banana Tart (PHp 150) were dished up to cap off our meal. These desserts were satisfying but not-too-heavy.
The Keso Flan looked like Leche Flan but it’s actually a nice solid slice of cool creamy (not watery or syrupy) cheesecake (almost like a gooey buttercake) with brown sugar top just baked on a cake-y bottom. The Fried Suman and Mangoes, toasted crispy sticky rice topped with ripe sweet mangoes and drizzled with sweet coco jam, were awesome. Color me happy. ♥ It would be a crime for dessert lovers like us to give it a miss! And by some magic, the banana flavor in the Banana Tart was infused so perfectly into the filling that you can’t tell where the bananas end and the tart begins.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
When I checked out the Sentro 1771 menu here before coming to the restaurant, I thought the entrées were just the typical Filipino dishes found in other regular Filipino restaurants serving native cuisine. But upon going over there in flesh and knowing more about their modern take and intelligent twist on the food fare, I stood corrected. Everything in Sentro 1771 was neat. The plating and presentation were superb. One bite and I knew I had to put my phone away and start tying on my bib to eat. 😛
Sundays to Thursdays – 7AM to 10PM
Fridays and Saturdays – 7AM to 11PM
2/F Greenbelt 3, Esperanza St Legazpi Village, Makati –> read review here
For inquiries, contact (02) 757-3941
Mondays and Sundays – 11AM to 11PM
Thanks to Cha Sy, for the invite!