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Friday, April 11, 2014

Food That is Heaven-Sent - Angel's Kitchen

One of those quiet, tiny cafes I like in Metro Manila is still around, thankfully. Although I have dined here since the early '90s when it was called My Angel's Kitchen, it is only now, with a new name and look, that I am writing about it.  It is long overdue, I suppose, but I'm glad that with the proliferation of so many good places to eat these days, Angel's Kitchen is still around.

Angel's Kitchen is best known for its Pinakbet Rice with Lechon Bagnet and Chocolate Bagoong.  Arguably, they're the ones among the first to deconstruct a Pinoy dish with a witty twist on how to serve the bagoong or shrimp fry.  Another reason for Angel's Kitchen's fame is its pretty, cozy and quiet interiors.  I have always liked the homey, country feel the cafe had before, but its present interiors are equally comfortable.  They have already expanded by having another branch in Rockwell Makati called the AK Bistro, but I still prefer going to their Greenhills abode just because that's where it all started.

My friends and I started our meal with its old standby of Baked Artichoke Dip with Parmesan and served with Crostini (Php268/USD6), perfect to whet the appetite for more good things to come.

Then this was followed by the Waldorf Salad in Honey Calamansi Dressing with Boursin and Grapes (Php268/USD6).  The crunch of the lettuce and fresh fruit does well to showcase the citrusy freshness of the salad dressing. You will definitely know that the dressing was made from scratch.  The serving is good enough to be shared by 2-3 people and give you room to try out other offerings on the menu. At another time, I had the Soft-Shell Crab with Mango Poppyseed Dressing (Php288/USD6.40) which I also recommend highly.  Enjoy the succulent taste of the sea balanced well with the sweetness of local mangoes. 

Of course, we had to get the Pinakbet Rice, but I won't highlight that here.  It still took center stage, especially how the chocolate tempered the in-your-face saltiness of the bagoong and transform it into a mild-mannered companion to the vegetable rice and crispy pork belly.

There were other dishes that stood well on their own too, like the John Dory in Parmesan and Caesar Glaze (Php408/USD9) - baked creamy goodness of cheese covering the fish fillet, with the shredded lettuce on top acting as a gremolata to give balance.

And there was the Homey Tinapa Rice with Tocino Barbeque (Php388/USD8.62).  I love tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish) on everything - pizza, springrolls, pate, and especially in fried rice that only a Pinoy can think of and do.  The salty, smokey flavored rice paired well with the sweet marinade of the tender pork barbeque.  Indeed, a comfort dish that you keep going back to refresh the soul.

And what of dessert?  There's their best seller, the Banana Cream Pie of which layers of fresh bananas, custard and cream tower well above the dessert plate,

and the eternally comforting carrot cake.  Need I say more?

Angel's Kitchen
57 Connecticut Street, San Juan, Metro Manila
Landline: +63 2 744 1018
(best to call ahead to reserve your table as they get a full house easily)

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