My own ‘Miele Guide’ ‘Retrospective’: Sentro 1771

18 11 2008

While flipping through last Sunday’s ‘Sunday Inquirer Magazine’, I saw that 30 Filipino restaurants made it to the ‘Miele Guide’, intended “to become established as the most credible, independent and respected system through which restaurants are evaluated in Asia.”  It was launched last October 31, 2008 at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore.  I was very pleasantly surprised to realize that some of my favorites have made it to the list.  So I gues it is but fitting to post in my blog reviews I had written about them in the past years.  Previously, I just shared my reviews through e-Mail to friends.  For my ‘Miele Guide’ retrospective, I begin with Sentro 1771.

 

[This was originally written in Filipino, on August 09, 2004.]

 

SENTRO 1771

Second Level,

Greenbelt 3,

Ayala Center, Makati City

Monday – Sunday 11AM-1AM

Tel. 757-3940

 

ALONG THE expanse of the ‘very now’ and ‘very happening’Greenbelt 2 and Greenbelt 3, you shall find modern and high quality restaurants offering cuisine from practically every corner of the world (at least those known to me).  If you shall check out each and every establishment, you might end up having a hard time deciding where to dine as each one has its own tempting appeal.  But if what you’re looking for is a taste of home that is truly a ‘feast for the senses’, then ‘SENTRO 1771’ in Greenbelt 3 might just be the one for you.

 

Sentro 1771, which has a the tagline ‘Modern Filipino Cuisine,’ was established in 2002.  It is the youngest member of the Chateau 1771 Group Of Restaurants that also includes Chateau 1771 French Bistro in Malate (since 1998), Chateau 1771 in Ortigas (1995), and Portico in Malate (1998).

 

When I entered Sentro 1771, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away, because as I have said, they are specializing on Filipino cuisine.  And who among us hasn’t savored almost everything offered under the header of ‘Filipino Cuisine?’  That is why it was quite difficult to think about any dish they have that could make me single out Sentro 1771 over all the many other Filipino restaurants.

 

I didn’t know where to start with their extensive menu.  Since the menu and the writings on the wall kept harping about this ‘house specialty,’ aside from the fact that it was only then that I had heard about it, I ordered their “Corned Beef in Tamarind Broth with Vegetables (Sinigang na Corned Beef, Php 295.00).”  Per the menu, this is ‘corned beef short ribs and boneless shanks in tamarind broth with native vegetables.’  Before they even served the dish, I was quite surprised when one of their chefs approached me to ask me to taste test the broth.  Wow, that was something new!  Before that, I had never been asked if the sourness or saltiness of a broth was to my liking.  After the final dish made it to the table and I had dug in, I realized one thing – I never thought corned beef ‘sinigang’ could be this good!  It hit the sweet spot, meeting all the three criteria I had set for the perfect ‘sinigang’ (sour broth-based dish) – the meat has to really be of ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ tenderness, falling off the bone is possible; the broth should have the perfect balance of sourness and saltiness (which should be the case here as I had given the thumbs up before the dish was served); and, the vegetables should remain crisp, with a bright green color to them.  Sentro 1771’s ‘Corned Beef in Tamarind Broth with Vegetables’ has all the right to be called the house specialty!

 

sentro23

Good food and great company! One Sentro 1771 trip with Millet, Edu, Arnie and Erwin!

 

While slurping on the ‘sinigang’ (OMG!  Did I just say ‘slurp’?!), I also grabbed bites of the “Crispy Boneless Trotter (Hinimay na Crispy Pata, Php 360.00)”, which, as the name suggests, had meat removed from the bone and cut up in bite-size pieces.  The meat was very flavorful and oozing with its juice, and not to be forgotten was the skin, fried to a delicious crisp!  For my pesco-vegetarian friends, we asked for the “Marinated Boneless Bonoan Milkfish (Php 260.00)”, topped by two types of sauces – one made with fresh tomatoes, and another made with soy sauce and probably, the marinade used for the fish.  But eventhough the fish was already topped with these sauce options, I still chose to have it alongside, and together with the “Grilled Eggplant Salad (Ensaladang Inihaw na Talong, Php 120.00).”  This salad was a great ‘showcase’ of most everything you can love with Filipino cooking.  With each spoonful, I got to savor the many layers of flavors and textures that was such a party in my mouth.  Off the bat, I got the taste of the ‘grill’, which was very fragrant.  Then I got the hint of saltiness from the vinaigrette that was spiked with fermented shrimp paste.  Not to be missed was the texture of the chopped indian mango, the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness and the smoothness of the chopped ripe mango.  Sometimes, you’d come along a dish that will make you go: “Mmm..  What is that?”  You won’t know right there and then what that was, but taken with the dish as a whole, it was good regardless of whether or not you figured out what it was.  In the eggplant salad, that factor was brought by the crushed ‘cornik’ topping that took me a second visit to figure out.  I challenged myself and didn’t want to ask!.  ‘Cornik’ is corn kernels fried to a crunch, a popular Filipino street snack.

 

As if the milkfish dish and the eggplant salad weren’t enough, I ordered the “Fish & Eggplant (Vegetable) Omelet (Tortang Talong at Bangus, Php 140.00).”  I doused it with tomato ketchup and it was such a treat!  Because of all these wonderful food, I had to satiate myself with two helpings of steamed rice (Php 35.00 each).  And to wash everything down, I opted for both their “Bottomless Sago’t Gulaman (Tapioca and Gelatin with Vanilla Extract, Sugar Syrup and Crushed Ice, Php 70.00) and Fresh Pomelo Juice (Php 70.00).

 

I don’t rate a restaurant with just one visit.  I’m very careful before I heap any restaurant with praises.  That’s why it is very important for me to be convinced that a place serves consistently high quality food.  And in the five times that I had dined at Sentro 1771 in the past month, I can say with utmost conviction that the taste, the cooking, and the presentation of their food are consistently excellent!

 

sentro1

The ultimate indication of a sumptuous feast - clean plates! Nothing survived eNTeNG's attack!

The resturant’s interiors are beautiful.  I felt genuine Filipino hospitality through the warm, dark-hued wood used for the walls, the furniture, and the décor.  I liked the touch of the low-hanging ceiling lamps at each table.  The seating capacity was just right and even at full occupancy, I didn’t feel uncomfortably hemmed in.  They also offer “al fresco” dining experience right outside their door.

 

The rest rooms are brand new, and the interiors were very at-the-moment.  I particularly loved the stainless steel appointments and how they beautifully contrast with the native accents – defnitely no clashing there.  When it comes to parking, it wouldn’t be a problem as the restaurant is in the Greenbelt 3 mall.

 

Even after all the nice things I have said about this new dining haunt, some of you may still feel a bit hesitant to fork out that much money for food.  But I find the prices reasonable, taking into account the freshness of the ingredients, the taste, and the fact that everything is cooked to order.  I love to cook so I can tell good, even great cooking, when I experience one.  And Sentro 1771 definitely exceeded my expectations.  So, the next time you find yourselves in Greenbelt 3, check out Sentro 1771.  You’d be very glad you did!


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4 responses

18 11 2008
sagewin

i miss sentro 😦

Like

18 11 2008
data

I want to read the Filipino version!

Like

19 11 2008
Clint

OMG, ba’t nasa pic si Arnie…

Like

2 09 2010
u8mypinkcookies

the best sinigang na corned beef. their sago’t gulaman, coffee pie and garlicky adobo are mus-tries too.

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