A couple of days ago, wanting to have a slight change in environment for our regular meeting, I invited my colleague ML for an afternoon snack at Via Mare. I was, in fact, craving for a plate of Pancit Luglug and I'm glad that she was game enough to go with my choice.
We were quickly ushered to our seats as the restaurant was not that full at that hour of the day. Via Mare has been around for as long as I can remember. We would even frequent their branch in Greenbelt 1 whenever Mommy and Papa would allow us to tag along as they go to the office during our summer break. My favorite was the AlTangHap it stands for the three meals of the day: Almusal (breakfast) - Tanghalian (lunch) - Hapunan (dinner). In other words, the choices under this category can be eaten at any time of the day.
Aside from that, I also love their Pancit Luglug (Php. 195) which was what I got that day. I love the plump clear noodles with thick orange sauce cooked with shrimp, meat broth, pork rind (chicharon) and topped with slices of hard-boiled egg and shrimps. It's very similar to Pancit Palabok which uses a thinner type of clear noodles.
I love how well Via Mare can cook the Pancit Luglug keeping the noodles al dente and the sauce thick and delicious.
ML, on the other hand, loves the Puto Maya (Php. 135). This is something new for me. Upon hearing the name, it reminds me of a local childhood phrase that is commonly used to describe a copycat (gaya gaya puto maya). This dish is no copycat as Via Mare has created a beautiful medley of sweet mangoes, sticky flavorful rice and thick coconut sauce. No duplications there, all original!
My dad is a huge sticky-rice fan and I'm sure he'd appreciate this dish. Will make a mental note to take him to Via Mare to try the Puto Maya soon. I love how delicious the sticky rice was. It has a flavor on its own whereas most local delicasies would have bland sticky rice that have to be dipped into coconut sauce, chocolate, sugar or anything that would help perk up the flavor. This one can be eaten as is but I still highly recommend that you take a piece of sweet mango, take a slice of the sticky rice and drop a dollop of coconut sauce on top. As ML would say, it's make your own suman! I'm glad she introduce me to a new must-order on my succeeding visits.
The food was great but I just have to say that the service needs a bit of improvement. Most of the waiters were really snooty that it can take them a while to get you an extra piece of fork or whenever asked for additional paper napkins, some would even frown before actually complying to your request. We were there at 4PM and there were only 5 tables being serviced, majority of the wait-staff were just standing around trying hard to avoid your waves and calls as much as they can. At first, I kept this comment to myself but eventually I told ML that the service was unsatisfactory to which she admitted that she felt the same way.
Via Mare has been around for a long time and while the food was still consistent good, I hope they would improve on their service to keep their loyal patrons in. I think the only time our waiter was extra attentive was when I asked for the bill. Could he be a teeny-weeny glad that we're finally leaving? I hope not..
Via Mare is located at the Ground Floor, Edsa Shangrila Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City. Call them at 631-1506 / 632-0350.