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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tres Restaurant : Authentic Filipino and Spanish Cuisine ... A Must Try!

I promised my BFF a pizza treat if she would hang on until the next weekend to watch the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie with me. We're both Potter-head fanatics and she wanted to see it on the first Saturday of showing but I think my offer was too good for her to resist, knowing how "kuripot" (stingy) I am hehe.

We both enjoyed the movie, so much, that it made us both ravenously hungry after! It was around 4:30 PM when we got out of the theater, we checked the pizza parlors but they were all jam packed! Turned off, we decided not to eat pizza anymore and looked for an alternative. We went to the Information Booth and asked for new restaurants at the  Block (SM North EDSA). The mall employee suggested the usual diners and one unfamiliar restaurant,  Tres .... hmmn... we were informed however that the restaurant is located outside the mall so I was a little hesitant but BFF wanted to check it out so the lazy feet went along. It would later on prove to be a great find!

Photo Credit: Tres Cuisine
The restaurant's facade did not come as imposing (Read: expensive looking; read further: scary) but looked clean and inviting. We saw 3 occupied tables through the glass panel windows, which was good because there was more than enough room for us to enjoy a quiet, early dinner. The door opened to a  waiting area with a small bench and a divider made of  colored glass encased on a wooden frame parallel to the entrance. The interior was modest and homey with just about 10 dining tables. The over all design made the room appear bigger than it really was, although the dining area's ceiling was quite low but not at all obtrusive. The motif  was a contrast of Mediterranean colors, that complimented their Spanish and Filipino Cuisine. Small acrylic paintings of Filipino and Hispanic themes  hang on the egg-shell white walls. The lighting was not too dim but had a relaxing effect which was perfect for dining. We chose a table at one corner with a cushioned seat braced on a wall and two wooden chairs on the other side. It was actually big for the two of us but as there are many more available tables, we chose the most comfortable spot. This was because it was still early for dinner but later on, we noticed that a long table had been set up to accommodate a big family who seemed to frequent the place because the children were requesting for their favorites without looking on the menu! More diners seem to fill the room and we found out that there was actually a second floor!

The waiter named William was very courteous as he patiently waited for us to make up our minds and place our orders. The selection on the menu were so delectable, the pictures were mouth watering and the prices so reasonable that we actually had a hard time choosing which ones to pick. After a long deliberation with my BFF, who as I mentioned on my previous blog, was my total opposite, we finally came to a compromise:

1. Laing Rice - Steamed rice in coconut milk with taro leaves

Laing Rice P133 good for 3

I love vegetables, she's carnivorous! She didn't want to order a veggie course so we agreed on Laing Rice instead.

There are actually 6 choices of rice which we'd all love to try because some are really new to our ears and the descriptions and pictures on the menu list are so inviting. But according to William, each serving is already good for 3! We were later delighted to find out that Tres is truly generous in their servings! The Laing Rice could actually be good for 4 persons!

The Laing Rice was served steaming hot. The texture was perfectly soft, tacky and moist. The flavorful mix of rice and Laing burst in the mouth in delightful creaminess in every spoonful, complementing the other viands we ordered. It was so good it could stand  on its own and actually be eaten without any ulam (viand)!

2. My Pick: Lengua Con Setas (Ox tongue with chickpeas)

Lengua Con Setas P253

This dish is of Hispanic origin that had been passed on to the Filipinos for generations. The preparation of Lengua Con Setas is not an easy feat so it is rarely seen on the family table on ordinary days but during special occasions and gathering of relatives, the self-professed "chefs" in our family would love to show off their kitchen prowess by preparing this meal. It's been awhile since I last had a taste of Lengua Con Setas so I picked this dish and was actually not surprised that there was no opposition! My BFF had no objection so long as it was meat, but I still crossed my fingers in case she raise a tongue-issue, which she didn't! hehe.

The lengua (ox tongue) was soft and smooth, it melted in my mouth and tasted like a prime cut beef tenderloin! The sauce's consistency was thick but not oily and coagulated. I think the garbanzos (chick peas) were grounded to achieve the perfect thickness and texture because I did not notice it with the button mushrooms. It had the right balance of tangy sourness and sweetness from the tomatoes, and  just enough saltiness combined with mysterious spices creating a wholesome umami flavor fullness! Ayayay!

The Lengua Con Setas was also served in ample proportions along with the others, what more can we ask for?

3. Her pick: Crispy Sisig with egg  (Crispy Diced Pork)

Crispy Sisig P193

Much as I want to be as openhanded as my BFF when I made my pick, I really had to put up a logical argument before acceding to her choice. Sisig?!? Really now, why not fish instead? We already chose a beef viand! But the truth was, I never really liked Sisig and she knows it, so why pick on me now? Grr! First of all, it is served in a hot sizzling plate that splatters oil all over and fills the entire room with mist and smoke then the smell of it will all stick to your clothes! Ugh! Secondly, the Sisig I know has a soggy texture of pork fat and a gummy overcooked pork liver all swimming in a pool of oil that leaves a foul after taste! Eeew! But I already had my pick so I had to give in and be fair, after all it was a treat for my BFF, right?

But surprise, surprise! Tres' Crispy Sisig did not fit my former description at all! In fact, it is now officially my favorite dish in this restaurant although I am of course speaking too soon because I have not tasted all their specialties yet!

It was served hot on a sizzling plate but was not spitting oil all over the table nor did it set the smoke detector in alarm mode! I was pretending to ignore it at first trying to live up to my conviction that I hate Sisig and also to make BFF feel guilty because she seemed to be enjoying it so much, but I guess I wasn't really a spiteful person (Read: No pride haha!) so I got an initial spoonful of serving and my oh my! Truly, the Lord rewards those who are forgiving because it was the crispiest and best tasting Sisig I have ever tried! The crispiness of the pork sealed in the flavor that blended so well with the other ingredients! It was heavenly delish!

Tres' Crispy Sisig brought back a childhood eating habit that I thought was long ago corrected... when my mom's cooking was so good I used to say "Ummm... sarap!" (Ummm....delicious!) after every spoonful and grin as I chew the food slowly while swinging my crossed legs under the table *happiness*! I caught myself doing it in three consecutive spoonfuls of Tres' Crispy Sisig with Laing Rice! I had to stop myself 'though because BFF was giving me the "you're-embarrasing-look" LOL!

4. Lucky Pick: Binagoongang Lechon Kawali for only P3! That's right! It's not a typo error! P3 only for a minimum purchase of P500! Alas, the name TRES! You will also notice in the menu that all prices end with the number 3! This promo will run until August 31, you might want to take advantage of it too!

Binagoongang Lechon Kawali P3 for every minimum purchase of P500 until August 31, 2011 Regular Price: P193

Tres Cuisine always cooks up promos at the price of P3, P33, or anything to do with this number! We were lucky to avail the priceless Binagoongang Lechon Kawali (Pan-fried Roasted Pork in coconut oil and shrimp paste) for just P3!

The usual Pork Binagoongan is sauteed in shrimp paste and simmered with coconut milk making the pork tender and soft. The Tres' Bingagoongang Lechon Kawali has an extraordinary twist of crispy pork combined with the lush creaminess of the coconut milk and the distinctive taste of shrimp paste! Oohlala!

We would have loved to try their desserts but there were no more room for it as we were both full and lightheaded (Read: Food High! Yeah!) but for sure we will come back very soon at Tres Cuisine!
Too bad they only have one branch for now, I hope they open one in Metro East or Pasig City where it's nearer from my place and also in Makati City where my work place is.

Me and my BFF were happy as can be! A great movie and a great dinner... perfect weekend! On our way home, we both agreed that we made the best compromise ever at Tres! Talk about a win-win situation!

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