A culinarian homage to Filipino cuisine
A lot has been done to our beloved Filipino cuisine in an effort to make it more appealing to a wider range of people.
It’s been fused with Western and other Asian cuisines, it’s been elevated to hoity-toity fine dining standards, it’s been brought “back to basics,” at times it’s been twisted so much it barely resembles the food of our childhood.
And then there are times that culinarians and restaurants pay homage to Filipino food in the best possible way: Using homegrown ingredients as the highlight of the dish.
Such is the path executive chef Mia Capay and her team took when they conceptualized Bistro United — The Round Table’s newest restaurant concept in foodie haven Kapitolyo.
Currently on their soft opening since Mar. 8, guests will be pleased to know that Bistro United has made the conscious decision to source their ingredients locally and has partnered with small scale producers and businesses to bring the best materials from their farms to the Bistro’s table.
“That was the biggest challenge for us – finding suppliers,” Chef Mia told Expat. “We wanted to use and highlight local ingredients and support local businesses, so it was a bit hard to find suppliers who can give us the quality that we were looking for.”
“But the struggle was worth it,” she adds, flashing a smile of satisfaction. Bistro United welcomes diners with a green wall – an entire wall filled with plants. The interiors are simple yet pleasing to the eyes — modern yet cozy. Its simplicity renders itself as a backdrop to the restaurant’s food.
“Our interiors are meant to serve as the frame with our food in the center,” said Chef Mia. “We made sure our menu features dishes that will give guests a new experience every time they visit.”
Here are the culinary masterpieces you should definitely try at Bistro United:
Grille Cheese Dunkers
Imagine a crisp grilled cheese sandwich filled with locally made Kesong Puti (white cheese), quartered, then dunked into a hearty, homemade tomato soup with a pesto drizzle.
The tomato soup was tangy, herby, and a little sweet, while the Kesong Puti grilled cheese sandwich gave the dish the saltiness it needed.
Bagnet Sisig Ravioli
Perhaps one of the most indulgent dishes in the Bistro United menu, it’s fresh homemade ravioli filled with homemade bagnet-turned-sisig (yes, they made bagnet and made it into sisig) and cooked in olive oil or creamy aioli sauce. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s topped with bits of bagnet chicharon for an added crunchy texture. And yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds.
The Amazing Roast Beef
The famous roast beef from The Round Table has made its way to Bistro United. It’s still as tender and as flavorful as I remember it to be. Perfect with the au jus sauce and mashed potatoes.
Adobo sa Mangga
This is another The Round Table bestseller that was too good to leave out. It’s beautifully grilled chicken sautéed in tangy mango and salty bagoong (shrimp paste) for that salty and sour element that traditional adobo needs.
Dalandan Chicken with Ube Rice
This duo goes together like any classic dish — except this is the first time I’ve ever tried such a combination. The grilled chicken is still moist and the flavor of the dalandan (a local citrus fruit, like a slightly sweeter lime) marinade bursts into your mouth in every bite. Each piece of the chicken must be savored with a spoonful of the sultry ube rice — made everyday by grating and slow cooking ube (purple yam) with the rice for the vibrant (and all natural) purple color.
This dish is the love child of a crispy pork belly roll and lipsmacking kare-kare. The porchetta itself was tender and juicy with a perfectly thin and crisp crackling. The peanut sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and nutty. The vegetables made the dish pop, just take a look at the braided string beans.
Tilapia Ice Cream
Yes, this is made of tilapia — as in the fish. Their homemade vanilla ice cream is infused with tilapia flakes and the poaching liquid used to cook the fish. It wasn’t fishy at all! It’s just your good ol’ fashioned creamy and sweet ice cream with bits of freshwater fish. It was soooooo freakin’ good! One scoop is just not enough.
Aside from offering unique Filipino dishes, by April, Bistro United will be adding a delicatessen corner to sell sauces, spreads, and their unforgettable tilapia ice cream.
Bistro United is open daily, 12 n.n. to 9 p.m. They are located at the ground floor of D Strip Building, United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For reservations and inquiries, call (02) 706-1668.
By CHING DEE