Kabila may mean the “other side” or “across” in Tagalog, but don’t treat Kabila Filipino Bistro as an option. Sharing space with its sister restaurant, Museum Cafe, in the vicinity of the Ayala Museum in Makati, the Kabila Filipino Bistro, simply offers people yearning for Filipino food a simple but fresh alternative in a cozy fine dining space that’s bright, relaxing and have an unhurried feel.
When traveling to the north, making a stopover in Pampanga is always a sensible decision. And why not? Kapampangans are really known for their rich food tradition. But eating takes on a deeper, and should I say cultural, meaning when you make a stop at Bale Dutung. Tucked in a residential village, the place looks more like a house than a restaurant which it actually is, being the abode of chef/cook/artist Claude Tayag and his wife, Maryanne. That said, the treatment we got was more akin to dining in a friend’s house.
With the globalization of the Filipino palate, is it still viable to set up a Pinoy restaurant nowadays? Ponder this: on one hand, you have to market to a younger generation of diners reared on a steady diet of pizzas, burgers and pastas. On the other hand, you have to appeal to an older generation who may have grown tired of the old favorites and are gravitating to international fare. Following the suggestion of a friend, we ventured to Mandaluyong to look for 1521 in the hope of finding a more definitive answer to our question. We’re happy to say that we walked in hungry for food and answers and walked out with a positive outlook and contented tummies.
1521 has an interesting story to go along with the great food. The name stands for the year in Philippine history when the Spaniards landed in the Philippines, marking the start of the Spanish colonial period. The restaurant’s mission is very noble: to rediscover Filipino cuisine. Simply put, 1521 is all about Filipino food with interesting twists and turns; fusion cuisine that pays homage to our roots but given fresh tweaks to provide both the young and older diners something interesting to discover. We’ve seen our fair share of Filipino fusion cuisine that strays far off the mark and happily, this isn’t the case with 1521. As its owner, advertising maven, Tanke Tankeko points out, it is food that’s faithful to the fare she (and us from the older generation) grew up on.