Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
Unit 1-7, Forum South Global, Bonifacio Global City
Tel. No. 0927-706-0773
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Who knew humble Pinoy food could be this "saucy"?
(SPOT.ph) There’s no parking anywhere near Forum South Global, the latest eating hub at Bonifacio Global City where restaurants and other eateries are quietly opening one by one. It's a shame because the classic Filipino comfort food at Sarsa Kitchen + Bar is the type that should be savored at a leisurely pace, and not shoveled down before traffic enforcers catch your car parked on the street.
Just a touch Negrense as far as the interiors go
The restaurant tries to capture the feel of an ancestral home in Negros, all while keeping it understated: modern with a touch of randomness. Patterns similar to decorative hollow blocks often found in old houses are echoed on the tiles and walls. Plastic flowers in white vases adorn each table while a wraparound shelf displays little eccentricities like figurines and knickknacks. There's an old surfboard leaning next to the air-conditioning.
While the interiors include elements from outside Negros, the menu is straightforward, just the way Filipino food should be. With roots coming from Bacolod, it decidedly focuses on Negrense staples like inasal and kansi. But the way to get a good measure of any restaurant is to sample the basics and work from there. The Panit (Chicken Skin, P170) is roasted, not deep-fried, giving the best of both worlds to these lip-smacking favorites: crisp edges and a chewy core. While an overall crunchiness would prove more addictive, roasting paints a smoky surface that is utterly desirable. The Special Batchoy (P240) is a pretty picture complete with an egg, chicharon, and bacon, but the Regular (P170) is flavorful enough without the embellishments. Sweetish undertones from onions and brown sugar complement the salty stock; the bits of chicharon are just that-bits, but the large pieces of pork belly fill the meat requirement, and there's just enough to last until the last spoonful.
Bacolod-born Chef JP Anglo gets a little creative with his Lechon Kawali (P250). The layer of skin crackles like a cracker and strands of fat keep the pork tender. Each garlic and chive-sprinkled piece is evenly and deeply seasoned, juicy with just the perfect pinch of salt and pepper. Sarsa, as its name lets on, serves everything on the menu with sauces, but Chef JP understands the point of a condiment-to complement rather than actually flavor. Each dish stands well on its own in terms of flavor, and as intriguing as the Lechon Kawali's chocolate-infused sauce is, the pork belly is flavorful enough without its rich sweet accompaniment.
Sweet Roasted Kalabasa
Crispy Tilapia (P245)
The Roasted Kalabasa (P145), likewise, doesn't hold back on flavors. Sweet mashed squash play around with the salty heat of crispy dilis and chili garlic; fried tofu slices and string beans, in turn, pull back the intensity, creating a well-balanced collection that won't leave vegetarians unsatisfied.
Stuffed to the throat with Filipino delicacies as you walk the several blocks to where you parked your car (the nearest parking lot is at the Fort Strip), it appears that the initial problem of having no where to park within the vicinity has its own purpose. A post-meal workout might do you some good after a meal at Sarsa Kitchen + Bar.