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THE NIGHTLIFE

Mita’s Kitchen in Calamba is worth the trip

Native comfort food with a twist, and German wheat beer on the drinks list
By: - Desk Editor
/ 12:30 AM October 14, 2018
Mita's Kitchen

Mita’s Kitchen is in Carmelray Industrial Park I, Calamba, Laguna. (Photo by POCHOLO CONCEPCION / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Waze is the greatest tool in the world especially if you’re going to a new restaurant in faraway Laguna. Well, not too far, as it turns out, with Waze leading the way.

Mita’s Kitchen is operated by the Martinez family, who named it after their matriarch, Carmelita, whose recipes are the inspiration for some of the dishes.

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It’s the resto’s grand launch night, and I’m there for two reasons: Kaye, wife of Mita’s son Rex, assures me that the food is really “masarap” and South Border’s Jay Durias and Kell Gatdula are guest performers.

The place, which accommodates around 70 people, is packed early. All of them are busy having dinner while a young female singer renders pop numbers.

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Durias and Gatdula start performing at about the same time the recommended dishes are brought to our table.

South Border's Kell Gatdula and Jay Durias

South Border’s Kell Gatdula (left) and Jay Durias (Photo by POCHOLO CONCEPCION / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

An appetizer, OK na Okoy (P120), pan-fried battered shrimp with shredded carrot and bean sprouts, pleases the palate for its fluffy coating. The carrots add chewy texture to the shrimp. But I don’t remember tasting anything different from its “tuka” vinegar to that of the usual suka.

Ok na Okoy

Ok na Okoy (Photo by POCHOLO CONCEPCION / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Belly Tim

The main dish, Belly Tim (P350), pork belly tim slow-cooked in sweet-salty sauce with bok choy and mushrooms, is a winner — standing out further with its chili garlic sauce that makes a mouthwatering desire for beer or wine.

I am offered Hoegaarden (P150) which somehow I avoid for some inconsequential reason. Shrugging off my qualms, I am thankful this time that I get to drink Belgian wheat beer. Its mildly sweet flavor is quite refreshing.

In between bites of Belly Tim and swigs of beer, my attention is drawn to the vibrancy of the SB duo’s tunes.

Belly Tim

Belly Tim (Photo by POCHOLO CONCEPCION / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

What’s remarkable about Durias is his consistent, mostly excellent, performance in any kind of venue — no matter what drawbacks may turn up. The most observant among the audience will easily notice how he loves what he’s doing. Tonight, he’s obviously enjoying the music and the crowd’s warm response.

Gatdula, likewise, is in good spirits, even as he tempers his vocals—the slight restraint in volume matches the intimacy of the gig.

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They do mostly SB classic hits as another main dish, Bagnet Kare-Kare (P350), beckons, and Mita herself joins our table. She came all the way from Lucena, Quezon, just to see Durias play, Mita tells us.

The bagnet adds a crunchy thrill to the kare-kare, which is peanut-saucy good enough without bagoong, though the kind of alamang served looks enticing. Next time.

When I come back, I want to take the whole family at lunch. /atm

* * *

Mita’s Kitchen, Unit 2, Junction Strip, Carmelray Industrial Park I, Calamba, Laguna; Facebook Mita’s Kitchen; contact 0917-825-5460

Group picture

From left, counterclockwise: Kell Gatdula, Thet Martinez, Mita Martinez, Ian Martinez, Ryan Martinez, Rex Martinez, Jay Durias (Photo by POCHOLO CONCEPCION / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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TAGS: Jay Durias, Kell Gatdula, Mita's Kitchen
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