On his 38th birthday yesterday, Chef JP Anglo introduced a new set of dishes at Sarsa, the Filipino restaurant chain with a strong Negrense bent. The food consisted of familiar flavors and ingredients–Deep-fried Dilis, Sinigang na Bangus Belly, Grilled Tilapia, Liempo Pork Adobo and Grilled Squid–but elevated, tweaked somewhat and given a more snap-worthy presentation.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I just want to give it better tires,” Anglo quipped at the preview. The food, all nine new dishes, will be available at all Sarsa branches starting today.
To give his dishes that nudge to make them tastier and more IG-worthy, he and his team of cooks added little flourishes like dipping bowls of mango tuba sinamak (spiked vinegar) and aioli sauce for the dilis; chili garlic sauce and bell pepper tuba for the tilapia; chicken adobo flakes and halved eggs for the adobo; and kangkong (swamp cabbage) pesto for the grilled squid. Slightly charred native peppers (siling haba) julienned red bell peppers provide additional flavor and color to the sinigang as well as the squid.
Our companions liked the Grilled Prawn Skewers that were thoughtfully shelled, and punched up with talangka (crab fat) sauce and coconut milk. Sprinkled on top were chopped white onions again providing contrast color.
Save room for dessert. It looks like Anglo has a winner with his Kalabasa Choco Balls, four butchi-like pieces made of grated squash on top of pandan cream sauce. Inside was a warm, gooey chocolate sauce that tasted so familiar, so Pinoy. Surprise! It’s made of melted Flat Tops, our childhood chocolates individually wrapped in foil.