New Restaurant Alert: 13 Ubay at Banawe, Quezon City
This restaurant is a celebrity in itself.
13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining
13 Ubay Street, Sta. Mesa Heights, Banawe, Quezon City
Open daily from 11 am. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Folks who diligently watched ABS-CBN’s recently concluded revival of Pangako Sa ‘Yo might recognize the interiors of 13 Ubay. It's the restaurant where Yna, Kathryn Bernardo’s character, works as a chef. But you go to this side of Quezon City not just to ogle at a telenovela set; 13 Ubay's food is delicious, heavy, and comforting.
13 Ubay is large and spacious. It used to be a family-owned printing press, but when the business relocated, co-owner and executive chef Zaza Sarmiento decided to fulfill her childhood dream of owning a restaurant. “The name is the address. We kept 13 because it’s the lucky number of my grandfather...At the same time, 13 'yong grandchildren ng grandparents ko,” says Chef Zaza. She then tapped her friend, co-executive chef Ryian Sandagon, to run the place with her.
Best seats in the house
Photos by the family patriarch
Lucky No. 13
The modern interiors are punctuated with decor from their travels as well as photographs by the late family patriarch who used to be a photographer. It also boasts an expansive outdoor area that’s perfect for small parties.
“Families dine together in Banawe, which is why most of the restaurants in the area cater to them. We decided to focus on comfort food because people, at the end of the day, especially those who come from work, are looking for something comforting,” Chef Ryian adds.
The menu is filled with cross-cultural classics, from Asian to Western to Middle-Eastern. “Our menu is confusing at first glance,” Chef Ryian admits. “But at the end of the day, whether you serve Asian or French cuisine, as long as it’s good, it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to keep yourself in a box without exploring other flavors, kapag kino-confine mo sarili mo, walang mangyayari.”
Cheese and Raspberry Salad
The Cheese and Raspberry Salad (P230), a medley of fresh herbed cheese, mixed greens, seasonal fruits, onions, and cucumber, served with raspberry vinaigrette, is a light and refreshing starter. It's not the quirkiest dish as far as salads go, but in Chinese-restaurant-centric Banawe, this summery affair is refreshingly different.
A little vinegar to take the edge off
The Fried Tripe (P150), deep-fried honeycomb tripe with salt, pepper, and green chillies, is the restaurant’s answer to pulutan. “I was discussing offal when I was teaching in Benilde and I mentioned, 'Ryian, magpasok tayo ng offal sa menu?'," Chef Zaza says. "Wala kaming Chinese dish before, so I suggested to cook it like 'salt and pepper.' Linagyan niya ng konting twist like paprika and butter. Everyone loves it.”
3 Hour Belly
Grilled Chicken Harissa
Shrimps in Aligue
Go easy on the starters though because the mains are quite intense. The 3 Hour Belly (P280)—slow-roasted pork belly served with pickled vegetables—is a delight. Crispy-fried skin gives way to juicy insides. It fulfills every Pinoy pork lover's dream. The Grilled Chicken Harissa (P370), which is half a chicken rubbed with North African chili pepper paste served with pickled vegetables, features spices that dance on the tongue. The Shrimps in Aligue (P350), meanwhile, is deadly delicious; the shrimps are plump and fresh, as if they've been taken out of the water and are now swimming in chili garlic and crab fat paste.
Chefs Zaza and Ryian are especially proud of the restaurant's tapas (P170/tapa) and cocktail pairings (P200/ cocktail). The grilled cheese, poached pear and feta cheese wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a balsamic glaze, goes well with the sweetish Vine Cooler; the Liver and Banana is stunning against the Miel de Abeja (that's "honeybee"), which tastes wonderfully like Maxx's Honey Lemon candy; and the Mushrooms are a must with the restaurant’s signature drink, the eponymous 13 Ubay, a spicy cocktail that packs a small punch.
Chocolate Praline Cake
Then there are the desserts. The Dalandan Torte (P100)—dalandan custard, meringue, and sponge cake—is a huge win, especially after the hearty meats. The Tres Leches (P100), made up of sponge cake, milk, cream, condensed milk, is classic comfort, as is the Chocolate Praline Cake (P120), which is a remarkable treat of chocolate cake, meringue, praline ganache. The Beignets (P100), essentially a pile of French donuts, make for excellent merienda with friends.
It's no wonder Pangako Sa ‘Yo picked 13 Ubay to set their story in. The restaurant is a gem, and even after the success of the soap opera, still an undiscovered one.
Photos by Sandra Dans