“Doctoring” is the term for the technique we use when we need to enhance or improve the flavor of a dish. The term has been used by some cookbook authors, specifically the New York-based author of the book “Cake (mix) Doctor.”
But that’s getting ahead of our tale of woe, which started when we wanted to have comfort food for lunch one day.
Pancake House, Street Level, South Supermarket Building, Filinvest, Muntinlupa city
We were craving for some noodles (wanton) and siopao, but to our disappointment the Hen Lin restaurant on the ground level of South Supermarket in Filinvest was no longer there.
Instead, we found Pancake House. Well and good, because our past experiences with this chain, specifically its branch in the Molito area, were pleasant.
It had the well-seasoned Daing na Bangus served with fried egg, papaya atsara, a sweetish vinegar dip and garlic rice. We did not even go through the menu, and simply ordered our usual fish. Our companion asked for fried chicken.
Dining area—Small but with enough leg room.
Service—The wait was rather long, considering there were hardly any other diners. We spotted a gentleman on one side of the place and a couple across. We knew the chain had changed hands; management is now the company behind Max’s Chicken.
We thought we were going to have a good meal, as in the past. Not quite. Staff—There was only one male waiter, who managed to avoid our waving hand until a woman came from the counter and took care of us.
Suggested orders—The two pieces of chicken leg and thigh looked enticing, but when our companion’s knife went through the leg, fresh blood oozed out. Back to the kitchen it went.
That was disappointment No. 1. Next came the bangus. Perhaps it was our fault that we did not read the description of the dish, because we were confident they were serving our usual daing. Well, the fish was a piece cut through the middle part (but good that it had the tiyan portion).
It was certainly not daing, but steamed with a very spicy stuffing—perhaps one whole ginger chopped then lumped into the belly with a few small diced tomatoes and onions. At this point, we knew that even those who liked lots of spices in their food would not partake of this. Literally, we “gingerly” picked through it. Negative score 2.
The third was when we asked for garlic rice. We got charged for P19 extra for rice that was not even sautéed, but simply sprinkled with toasted garlic.
End of meal—but not of the leftover bangus which we brought home. Thanks to our innovative kitchen staff, the fish took on a new rendering, with the ginger taste washed off, the fish cut into small squares and made into fish soup. “Doctoring” the bangus, as it were—no thanks to Pancake House.
Service and government charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.