CHECK IT OUT: Lasa Bistro at Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Think of it as an extension of XO46.
G/F Commercenter Building, Commerce Avenue corner East Asia Drive, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Chef Christian Kalaw of XO46 Bistro fame has opened another restaurant to showcase his flair for modern Filipino cuisine. At the Commercenter Building in Alabang, Lasa Bistro spins tradition to fun yet familiar dishes.
It’s a modern interpretation of classic Filipino architecture.
The start of this playful journey begins with the complimentary appetizer: bite-sized, supple puto served with aligue butter that confuse and delight your palate with a totally delectable sweet and salty combo. Ask for it warm (it’s served at room temperature) for that compound butter to melt. Chef Christian brings it over from XO46 and, as always, it starts out the meal on a good note.
The menu lists down all-time favorites like siomai and gambas al ajillo, but they’re eclipsed by heartier items such as the tanigue salpicao, pollo patatas, and sisig varieties in liempo, squid, and tofu. You might take a stab at health by ordering the Tofu Sisig (P180), but the small cubes of deep fried tofu, sliced red onion, and chopped red bell peppers doused in a creamy sauce invite rice-lots of it. No matter what it’s mixed with, that distinct salty-spicy-tarty sisig flavor just works best with carbs.
Lasa's Empanadas (P360) look pretty standard, but this bestseller is anything but. The golden puff (four of them on a plate) hides a mix of chorizo de Bilbao, ground pork, salted egg, and kesong puti that lends more texture and flavor than the usual. The pastry pocket is flaky, pillowy, and unlike other empanadas that are crisp, it feels more like biting off bread.
What’s Filipino food without rice?
The soup section has two kinds of sinigang-one with lechon kawali and another with bangus sa miso, both made sour with tamarind. For a subtly sweeter alternative and perhaps for the kids, there's the Binakol (P195) mulled with young coconut water. The light broth is studded with shreds of chicken breast, corn, and garlic.
The Thai-inspired Crispy Tilapia (P330) takes Asian flavors via a palm sugar and chili-lime dressing and pours it over deep fried strips of tilapia fillets. A mixed herb salad made of basil, bean sprouts, and buko meat tops it all off, providing a fresh and earthy finish to every bite.
Sugpo sa Bihod (P690) is every bit as indulgent as it sounds. Tiger prawns are lined up on a plate, then blanketed with fried garlic and a lovely "guisadong cod fish roe." Squeeze the accompanying lemon wedge over the dish to cut through the richness of the thick sauce. The only thing getting in the way between you and this sinful dish is the prawn shell, which you have to painstakingly peel off before enjoying the flavors.
Barako Bread Pudding
If you're not stuffed, make room for dessert. The Coffee Bread Pudding (P200) combines pan de sal, kapeng barako, and custard to make a light-as-a-souffle meal ender. The bitterness of the coffee is evident but not overpowering; rather, it makes for a pleasing break from sugary desserts.
Though unconventional in some ways, Lasa Bistro lets you have a renewed appreciation for Filipino food, allowing you to enjoy what would otherwise be everyday dishes in creative ways.