1521: rediscover Filipino cuisine

It was a Friday evening and Paul, who was able to get off from work early, asked me out for dinner. Of course, I agreed and began racking my brains for a new restaurant that we can check out. Finally, it hit me! Now's the chance to introduce one of my newest food discoveries to Paul -- 1521!

Since it was also a payday Friday, I had to be extra cautious in choosing our dinner destination to avoid getting stuck in terrible traffic. Luckily, my chosen restaurant was not that far from my office. I somehow sensed Paul's immediate apprehension since the place was empty when we arrived. I guess, we were pretty early for the Friday dinner crowd.

Knowing that it was my second visit to the restaurant, Paul just told me to surprise him and so I did!

A table of discoveries

1521, as we were told, was the year the Philippines was discovered by Magellan and his troops. Thus, this restaurant wants its diners to rediscover the beauty of the Filipino cuisine. Don't expect to see traditional dishes here. What they have to offer are dishes that have been recreated using local ingredients but given a unique twist and flavor in every bite.

Paul loves Banana Chips and so I chose the Bad Banana Chips (Php. 70) for our appetizer. I also remembered my brief chat with Tanke, the owner of the restaurant, who highly recommends their version of this Pinoy munchies.

The verdict? My dear fiance loved it to bits (pun intended)! I personally liked the garlicky taste of the usually sweet banana chips. It's so good we were actually planning on ordering another bowl.

After cleaning our bowl of Bad Banana Chips sparkling clean, then came our main order. A huge deep dish filled with veggies and meat with that oh-so-mouthwatering peanut sauce was served in front of us. Presenting the Grilled Kare Kare Thai-Keko (Php. 330) -- as the menu perfectly describes it: "it's your classic tripe and beef peanut stew with a thai twist!"

Paul and I enjoyed our Bangkok trip and this dish definitely brought back all the wonderful travelling memories. Served with bagoong rice and strips of green mangoes, this is another winning order that surely won our heart.

As the usual Kare-kare normally has a lot of peanut sauce, 1521's version just has the right amout of peanut sate sauce drizzled on top of a generous serving of veggies and really tender meat. The bagoong rice completed the Thai feel of the dish which also was a perfect match to the sauce and the smokey flavor of the beef. Needless to say, we once again cleaned out another platter.

Our dinner was simple yet very filling. I'm so happy that Paul enjoyed 1521 as much as I did. Finally, he understood why I couldn't stop raving about it since I first tried it a couple of months ago.

We are already scheduling our next visit, this time, I'll let him try the Tom Yum Inasal, Munggo ng Mayaman and the Potchero ni Tankeko.

1521 is located along Shaw Boulevard (beside Mr. Poon), Mandaluyong. For reservations, contact them at 794-0433

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