Quantcast
Latest Stories

M Café now has a ‘Kabila’ of reinvented Filipino specialties

Think cheeses from Davao, or dinuguan that’s ‘a spicy ginger and lemongrass pork blood stew topped with crispy pig’s ear’

By

ENSALADANG Kabila: cubed ripe and green mango, guava, singkamas, tomatoes, onions and salted red egg served with calamansi vinaigrette.

When it closed for renovations a couple of months ago, Museum Café at the Ayala Museum complex was due for an update. The owners, Raintree Restaurants, had a good thing going there, but they felt it was time to offer something new.

That something is a Filipino restaurant serving its take on traditional Pinoy food.

Dubbed Kabila, the restaurant shares precious retail space with the café, an arrangement the group first tried out with Stella and Rocket Room when they opened the two restaurants earlier this year at Bonifacio High Street Central in Taguig.

Now, guests can choose to be seated on either the right (Museum Café) or the left side of the room (Kabila). They can also cross-order from either menu.

REFRESHING sago’t gulaman

A cheese plate featuring different cheeses from Davao’s Malagos Farm or a platter of thinly sliced Excelente ham and toast rounds might not seem Filipino at all, but these can be found on the new menu.

“Instead of labeling our dishes as ‘authentic Filipino,’ we decided to come up with items that were Filipino in origin but were our interpretations of them,” Martin Wisniewski, vice president of Raintree Restaurants, said.

THE OWNERS of Kabila chose thinly sliced ham from the Excelente branch in Quiapo because their late grandmother said it was the best of the lot.

Culinary road trip

To this end, he and chef Kalel Chan went on a culinary road trip of Luzon armed only with an open mind and the book “Linamnam” by husband-and-wife authors Claude and Mary Ann Q. Tayag.

“We already had a few dishes in mind, including my grandmother’s lengua and beef sinigang, but we wanted to augment this with other items like pork bagnet, dinuguan and Bicol Express,” Wisniewski said.

He narrated how he was surprised to see bagnet and empanada fried using cooking oil that had turned dark because of repeated use.

ASSORTED cheeses from Davao’s Malagos Farm

“In Vigan, we decided to forego our empanada and come back the following day because we thought the manang would use fresh oil. The next day, the oil was still black; maybe that was their secret ingredient,” Wisniewski quipped.

Instead of trying to replicate the crispness of Vigan empanada, Chan used a flaky pastry with fluted edges,  filled with shredded papaya, salted egg and homemade chorizo.

Other “adaptations” include fresh lumpia with the usual ingredients (coco heart, shrimp and minced pork) but with a lattice-like egg roll wrapper; Kare-Kare made from scratch; and a colorful salad that combines chopped ripe and green mango, guava, pomelo and jicama.

Playing safe

After giving the menu a once-over, one might notice that the items are not exactly one of a kind. In fact, many of them can be found, in one form or another, in the many restaurants and eateries offering Filipino food.

SLABS of glistening pork bagnet

What then sets the menu at Kabila apart from the competition?

“Eventually, we will introduce new items but since this is new for us, we didn’t want to scare off people with exotic dishes. In fact, our Kaldereta which uses New Zealand lamb is one of our slow movers, because Filipinos are still not big fans of lamb,” Wisniewski said.

CHOCOLATE Tablea cake served with candied pili.

Despite the wary start, they could be doing something right—their dinuguan is  one of their bestsellers.

“It took us over 20 versions before we came up with a dinuguan that everyone liked. Every time [Chan] presented a new variant, somebody always found fault in it. It was either too dry, too soupy, too sour, too salty or too fatty,” Wisniewski said.

DECADENT dessert of leche flan-filled turon

Now, the dinuguan at Kabila is deliciously described as “a spicy ginger and lemongrass pork blood stew topped with crispy pig’s ear and served with puto.”

Maybe in the next few months, guests will be treated to a selection of new dishes not found in every other Filipino restaurant.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: dining , Food , Kabila , Lifestyle , Museum Café



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Pope’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
    Marketplace