Front and Sentro

2 02 2011

Unexpected star – Sentro's Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Roll

WE WENT (there) for the corned beef but left singing the spring rolls praises on our way to get cupcakes.

One thing about hosting visiting family over is that you want to take them to places that you yourself love.  In my case, my list was full of restaurant choices – I left the sightseeing to the others.  Hahaha!  And oh, a little shopping was on my list too.

I say I had a “list” because the “visiting family” happen to have been away for exactly a decade already.  And the places to take them to did a list make.  At the top of the roster were the Serendra Piazza, Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt 5, and Cupcakes by Sonja.

By way of restaurants, I saw it fitting to kick things off with my own Miele Guide retrospective that starts with Sentro, the one at the Serendra Piazza.

“We’re here for the ‘Corned Beef Sinigang’!”

“Corned beef in sinigang?!”

“Yes, you heard it right.  Corned beef in sinigang!”  I told my brother, enunciating ‘corrrned beef’ like it was Chateaubriand, but quick to add, “Though don’t you go back home to Chicago and empty a can of corned beef into a soured broth just to make this dish!”

Corned Beef Sinigang


That's a hunk of meat. As always, quite flavorful as it is quite tender.

I knew that by dropping the name of the restaurant’s specialty dish, I would elicit curious “oohs” and “ahs” from the guests.  I could tell that their excitement was building up to a raging crescendo, tempered only by the crackling of salted dried watermelon seeds (butong pakwan) that was the restaurant’s complimentary starter.

Being the self-appointed orderer that I am (“I’m an excellent orderer.  You may want to eat with me for the rest of your life.”), I built a spread ‘round the Corned Beef Sinigang (corned beef short ribs and boneless shanks in tamarind broth with native vegetables, Php 595.00) as the focal dish.  The Crispy Boneless Trotter (“Hinimay na crispy pata”, Php 550.00) was a necessary reminder that we’re having a full-on Filipino meal in honor of my brother’s family.  My nephew’s eyes opened wide as they passed around the platter of deep-fried tender morsels of trotter meat, not missing out to crown the pile they served themselves with with shards of the skin, fried to a perfect, deliciously crackly crisp.

The huge serving of the Kare-Kare (Stew of oxtail and beef tripe in a rice flour-thickened annatto peanut sauce with native vegetables, Php 820.00) brought us back to my mother’s kitchen where this dish would be whipped whenever we were in a celebratory mood.  Yes, the almost cramped seating at Sentro’s Serendra branch had already taken care of making the dinner cozy – I couldn’t turn without hitting someone or something with my elbow, not that I’m complaining – but it was the Kare-Kare that gave the get-together a really homey feel.  Familiar.  Warm.  Comfortable.

As if apologizing –almost, but not quite – for the undeniable richness of the meat dishes, we had to ask for the Rated GG (Deep fried fillets of galunggong (hard-tail mackerel or round scad) served in oil and generously sprinkled with fried garlic, Php 445.00), the Green Mango Salad (Php 100.00), and the Sitaw Express (String beans in coconut cream sauce, flavored with lemongrass, Php 160.00).

Rated GG


A fillet of Rated GG


Sitaw Express

The pièce de résistance turned out to be the Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls (however paradoxical that sounds – “fresh” but “smoked”?).  We didn’t ask for it at first.  But my sister-in-law caught the description posted on the wall and eventually had her curiosity piqued.  I translate, “Fresh egg roll of smoked milkfish, salted duck egg, mustard greens, onions, and tomatoes.”

Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Roll

I do remember heaping praises on the corned beef sinigang still – even when nothing was left in the terracotta to tell that corned beef was even in there – but everybody else was bowled over by the ingenuity of the milkfish spring rolls.  I knew it when the look in my mother’s eyes told me she’d have my share if she could.  And she did.

I love love L-O-V-E Sentro's cutlery!


I wanted to take this home!


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

A cat and a donkey (and a notebook) from the Lion City

2 02 2011

Partner came to dinner bearing gifts!

“THERE ARE countless good reasons under the sky for giving.  But the sweetest one may be for no reason at all.” – the RedEnvelope Fall 2003 Catalog

While I consider myself to be generous, I’ve been blessed with people in my life who manage to – just when I least expect it – “outnice” themselves and make my generosity pale in comparison to theirs.

Over dinner with Partner at Mamou, she handed me presents from both her and The Boy Wonder – a couple of new wristwatches from Universal Studios Singapore and a “MY RECIPE BOOK” notebook by kikki.K, that purveyor of “Swedish Home / Office Style.”

Partner put me on the spot and made me declare which between the two wristwatches – Puss In Boots and Donkey – I like better.  She laughed boisterously at my response and bragged that she won a bet against The Boy Wonder.  Haha!

As for the recipe notebook by kikki.K, I couldn’t wait to perfect my own version of Fettuccini Alfredo with Shrimp so that I could put the recipe down for posterity.

Thanks, Partner and The Boy Wonder!  I love the presents.  Hugs and kisses!

"Puss In Boots" and "Donkey" wristwatches from Universal Studios Singapore from Partner and The Boy Wonder


Puss In Boots




"My Recipe Notebook"... Wait, I want to turn that into my own TV show!!!


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.