ALTA by Relik at Santolan Town Plaza

There's a new kid in town and we were all so excited to give it a try.

Meet Alta by Relik. It's located in Santolan Town Plaza -- a new retail development by the Rockwell Group. While the mall itself is still slowly being filled, Alta by Relik is located at the outer portion fronting the main road and is right across Starbucks Coffee. I can imagine this place being the newest hangout destination of people in the neighborhood. 

During the recent holiday, Paul and I met up with our friends Abet, Joan, Jaz and Eric as well as our kids for lunch to catch-up with one another as it has been a while since we last saw each other. It's so sweet that they all agreed to come to our side of town to check out this new restaurant. Luckily, we got there when the restaurant wasn't that filled allowing the kids to have a lot of space to play around. I honestly never considered this aspect before. However, motherhood has made me more careful in choosing where I take my twins to. Noisy, crowded places are definitely a no-no.

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Anyway, service was pretty good at Alta by Relik. Paul and I agreed to share our meal so we started with a plate of Caesar Salad (Php. 208). I was surprised at the size of the salad! The serving was very generous that it can indeed be shared not only by two but perhaps it can stretch to 3 or 4 too. It's a very simple salad but it has all the yummy components -- fresh, crisp greens, crunchy bacon bits, boiled egg and creamy dressing. So good and I was so happy we got this.

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For our mains, we had the Crispy Bagnet Kare Kare (Php. 475). This was highly recommended to us by our friend and fellow foodie M who went there ahead of us. Once again, the serving was very generous and it comes with a bowl of bagoong rice.

Oh my oh my! This was so good! I love the crunchy pork belly covered in thick and creamy kare kare sauce served with veggies and yes the bagoong rice indeed complemented it very well. It was definitely something worth trying and having over and over again. However, one bowl of rice will never be enough. Go ahead, don't be shy..order more!

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As for Yaya D, she chose the Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Garlic Rice (Php. 389). This dish initially comes with creamy garlic mashed potato but since Yaya D is so much like me where "rice is life", the server was so kind to offer to serve rice with her dish instead. I wasn't able to try this myself but I will take Yaya D's word as she told me that it was very good. Indeed, she's a foodie too!

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Around the table, we were also able to try the other dishes ordered by our friends. We tried the Salmon Belly Sisig (Php. 275) which was very good too! A bit on the oily side, this makes a great starter especially when you're dining with a big group. Top the crunchy tortilla chips with a portion of pan-grilled salmon belly. It was so good that we actually think it would also make a good main dish. Just add a cup of rice and you're good to go!

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Then, there's the Slow Roast Beef Belly (Php. 425) which was so tender just as a good roast beef should be. Served with creamy mashed potato, I'd say that the price is really reasonable taking into consideration the serving size and how good it was.

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We didn't stop just there. As there were more stories being shared across the table, we continued on with dessert. There were 3 desserts on the menu and we decided to try them all!

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First was the Molten Smores Lava Cake (Php. 195) which was our favorite dessert that day. I love digging into the torched marshmallow top as I scooped out the ooey gooey chocolate filling inside. I got to admit that the cake needs a bit more work in order to get that spongey texture as it was just all chocolate soup inside. I wasn't sure if that's how they really wanted it to be but it would be nice to have a play of texture in one bite. The chocolate was also a tad too sweet that I doubt if one can easier finish one whole order. Perhaps, it's best to share to keep your blood sugar levels on the safe side.

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Then there's the Milo Dinosaur Cheesecake (Php. 189). As I have been raving about the generous serving portions of almost everything that we've ordered that say, I sadly can't say the same for this dessert. It was so tiny that one person can easily consume this in two or three bites. It was good albeit lacking in the Milo flavor or perhaps it's because 5 of us shared this so I could hardly detect any flavor from my teeny-tiny cake slice.

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Lastly, we also tried the Banana Caramel Pie ala Mode (Php. 135). This was just a-okay that I somehow forgot already how it tasted. For one thing, I appreciated that huge scoop of ice cream on top as it was really warm that day (and almost every day this summer).

I'm so happy that there's a growing number of good restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood. I still have my favorite Flossom Cafe and now my new discovery, Alta by Relik.

Visit Alta by Relik at Pavilion 7 and 8, Santolan Town Plaza, Col. Bonny Seranno (across the San Juan Gym), San Juan City. Call them at +63-9173172582.

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