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Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Your Comfort Zone - Filio Bistro

A new kid on the Antipolo block has opened. Rather than the beer garden or watering hole (with or without a videoke system) that usually characterizes the joints in this thriving mountain city, a place serving familiar and fillingly good food is set up.  We were greeted by a courteous staff amid a decidedly Filipino industrial interior.  

Despite the wooden furnishings, some with simple ornate carvings, the bistro looked spacious.

Filio is located along the M.L Quezon Memorial Circle past the Liwasang Jose Lico monument, or the intersection of the Manila East Road going to the town of Teresa, and actually took over the space of a cafe which was operating there before.  A big plus is that the location affords ample parking space and a bit of quiet from the roaring tricycles and jeeps.

Filio's bestsellers are its American comfort food specialties like the Barbecue Ribs, the Grilled Barbeque Chicken, and the Jumbo Cheeseburger.  

The Barbecue Ribs were off-the-bone tender and mouth-wateringly juicy from its secret marinade and sauce.  Best paired with any of the 2 choices of sides they offer.  For our part, the Java Rice and corn-on-the-cob was requested, with an additional order of a bowl of crispy onion rings.  These went really well with our porcine morsel.

The Cheeseburger was indeed hefty, with complete garnishings and melting savory cheese.  This was served with Steak Fries and our choice of dip (Garlic Mayo - really good!)  

But aside from these boasted specialties, Filio serves savory Filipino dishes as well.  Their Oxtail Kare Kare is rich and silky, fully supplemented by their own brand of sweet-salty shrimp fry (bagoong).  

Their Lengua Sevillana is served in a creamy stew, with a twist of flavor from the use of shiitake mushrooms instead of the traditional button.  (No picture to show this though, since we had it at another time that we dined in.)  There is also the Beef Caldereta (which we plan to try out next time), and a host of pasta dishes to choose from.

And before I forget, they serve really delectable soups.  A great way to start your meal here, make sure you try their Soup of the Day.  At another time, I thoroughly enjoyed the filling Cream of Pumpkin Soup, and this time, I find the Cream of Chicken equals it in giving the diner a nurturing experience.

We also tried out one kind of dessert (we were already bursting) from their selection of cakes.  The S'mores Cake hit the spot just right.  And compared to other cafes in the area, I like their coffee best.  Plus, they serve perfect espresso, not the burned ones that you get from over-brewing.

It was also a delight to talk to the owner, Diana Lee, who is a lawyer like me. (This is what I call kindred spirit rhyming (-:). She was very engaging and welcomed questions and was very happy to tell her journey from the legal field to the food business, and her hopes for the bistro.  

We were quite glad to know that they will be offering a breakfast menu soon, like starting September soon.  This got my family excited.  With Filio, we're hoping that people won't go to Antipolo and think that it is only Tanduay Rhum or Zombie Tower (the drink) country, but that they will think of staying for breakfast and even lunch after visiting the famous cathedral (of Nuestra Senora De La Paz).  After all, Antipolo's culinary scenery is emerging.  

What an exciting time for foodies and restaurateurs!

Monday, August 25, 2014

French Snacking

It has been quite a busy few months!  Nevertheless, there came an afternoon wherein mother (that would be me) and daughter were left to their own devices during a long weekend. As we waited to get our car get its annual check up, we felt peckish.  After all, its been a few hours since our early lunch.

Thus, we headed to this new boulangerie (well, at least to us who rarely go out to Metro Manila these days) at SM Aura called "Paul".  The Philippine store opened last December 2013, but it was only now that we were able to set foot and experience its black and white aesthetics, which has been its hallmark (except the black livery which was changed only in 1993). 

But really, Paul was founded as early as 1889 in Croix, Northern France, and has been setting up its bakery cafe in malls all over France, providing its clients with the freshest breads and pastries from their headquarters in Marc-en-Baroeul, in Greater Lille. Paul is also a member of the company Groupe Holder, which also owns the luxury brand Laduree.  So you'll quite know you're in good hands.

And indeed we were.  The Croque Monsieur was perfect, the bechamel sauce just right and uplifts the ham and ementhal cheese, then served with a side of salad greens to cut through the richness and give you balance.

The crepes (we requested for the simple one: butter and sugar) were a delight.

And a real treat for me was that they serve Petit Creme - espresso with a dash of cream, the Frenchiness of which I truly miss.

For a more comprehensive view of the menu and price, check it out here.

C'est ce bon!

Paul Boulangerie et Pattiserie
Ground Floor SM Aura Premiere
C5 Road cor. 26th Street Bonifacio Global City
Landline: +63 2 8085324