New Restaurant Alert: APU Authentic Filipino Cuisine at City of Dreams, Parañaque
Flavors from home in a classy setting
APU Authentic Filipino Cuisine
UG/F Aseana Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque City
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) A meal at APU, the spot of Filipino at Parañaque's golden City of Dreams, starts pretty easy enough. Sashaying servers in black sayas and iridescent sashes offer bite-sized versions of pan de sal (one for each person at the table) with swirls of liver spread, ube, and butter. The placemats are shaped like banana leaves, the silverware is a complete set, plate-changing is a norm, and meals come with wines (a selection of which takes up a pretty significant space in the restaurant). This is one very classy Filipino meal.
Ensalada using ripe mangoes
It's the irony, of course. Filipino food, though brazen in flavor, is humble and homey in approach. In this fortress-styled dim space in the country's most opulent "city," it hardly seems to be the case. APU is run by the same people behind posh destination restaurant, Caviar in Alabang. The manager is Dutch, and so are most of the owners. One of them, however, is married to a Kapampangan who takes the lead in this concept.
The food is kept simple and the flavors classic. The Seafood Kare-Kare (P750) flaunts a rich and substantial peanut-butter infused cream that goes beautifully with the sharp saltiness of homemade bagoong. Instead of the usual deep orange ocean where you spend a few good seconds trying to fish out something good, APU’s is in a shallow pot, with the seafood fully displayed bathing in a sauce that’s meant more for lathering than sipping. The mussels are tender, the squids are soft, the fish are flaky, and the shrimps al dente.
The Sinigang (P680), which you can get in either seafood or pork, is perky and vibrant. A sip bursts into this comforting tanginess throughout your body. The pork are huge chunks of belly-tender in between cottons of juicy fat. There's a nice medley of juicy tomatoes and fresh beans to take it from simple to stunning.
A fish-based marinade gives extra thrill to the Chicken Inasal (P450), creating a depth of flavor that works seamlessly against the smoky kiss marks from the grill. It comes in a pair, and we suggest the thigh to really deliver juiciness into every bite. Get the sinangag, the strong garlic flavor snakes through every grain, rewarding you with that wonderfully aromatic taste.
APU is Kapampangan for "grandmother." And while it's far from the scene of palayoks, stories, and refillable rice (nope, diet is not a word in grandma's vocabulary) that we're used to with Lola, no doubt she'll be proud.