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THE QUIET DINER

Traditional Filipino fare served two different ways

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Two restaurants, visited within the last fortnight, presented traditional Filipino food. The difference is that each one had a different stroke in producing and serving traditional food: One was geared toward the more sophisticated diners in Makati; the other served comfort food using an old cooking technique.

Terraz (3/F Zuellig Building, Paseo de Roxas cor. Makati Ave.; tel. nos. 6254831 and 6254832) attracts a parade of dark-suited gentlemen plus a mix of ladies who lunch. Its name is derived from the terrace dining area outside. This belongs to the Raintree chain, which has made a name in the hospitality industry.

Dining area—One is led from the lobby to the restaurant through a dedicated elevator. There is a receptionist to lead guests inside the L-shape dining hall. There are giant golden lamps overhead. The chairs are upholstered in olive green and mustard yellow. Tables are laminated. There is a counter with newspapers and magazines.

Service—Fast from the kitchen

Staff—Neat in their blue tops over khaki trousers. A menu is presented after being settled on the comfortable chairs. An empty chair is placed between guests for the bags of the ladies—a much welcome gesture.

Suggested orders—One either chooses from the selection of blended shakes (watermelon, lychee) or settle for water or the usual calamansi juice. Or take a lemonade, with ginger and mint.

Now go for the Tomato-Basil Soup with Spinach, served on a heater with a stick of Gorgonzola Croquette. One bites on the croquette or dips it in the soup. Refreshing.

This is a prelude to the innovation made on traditional food such as Corned Beef Adobo, perfect with the meat very tender and flavorful. It is served with greens.

Take the Pan-seared Salmon with Japanese rice (note that each main dish comes with a differently flavored rice) and Ponzu sauce. That balances the meal, with an order of a salad.

Then indulge in the Crispy “Lechon-style” Pork done to perfection with the innovative hoisin liver sauce. We thought it was a good combination. Order Baklava for dessert, which is good for two. Punctuate the hearty meal with coffee.

Service and government charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored. Note, this is not a membership only establishment, even if it gives such an impression.

Rating-3 Spoons

*****

The Boiling Seafood at the Lifestyle Strip in Alabang Town Center (tel. 5118232) is named such because it applies one of the traditional ways of cooking and serving seafood—by boiling. While offering mainly seafood, it also serves meat dishes like Beef Salpicao.

Dining area—Minimally decorated. There are giant colored frames, three each on each side of the dining hall. The bar-counter is at one end with a display of half-finished liquor bottles, plus small samples on one side.

Service—We thought we would see the actual boiling seafood, but it’s done in the confines of the kitchen.

Staff—A male-dominated waitstaff gives the diners the menu, indicating which items are available, and listing a selection of sauces—sweet-sour, butter garlic, Cajun, Coco Curry and Crab Fat.

Suggested orders—Start with Crispy Squid Rings with a dip. Then order the shrimps. What we had were really fresh, sweetish and nearly did not need any sauce.

We also tried the Beef Salpicao. It was tender beef and perfectly done in olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and lots of garlic. Each diner was given a small ramekin with salt and pepper. Garlic rice went with the orders. Which left no room for dessert or even coffee.

Service and government charges are included in the bill. Senior cards are honored.

Rating – 2 Spoons

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