Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Bite: 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining

I got this random SMS from Angelo one evening inviting me to this family owned restaurant along Ubay Street. I am quite familiar with the restaurant as I’ve seen a handful of posts a few days back by Splat Manila. It was perfect timing as I was also invited to Miriam College’s cooking simulation scheduled on the same day where I was assigned as a food critic. *Woohoo!* Anyway, since I was already in Quezon City, I figured that it was the food gods way of telling me to say yes. And I did. 

Hello, 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining!
I had no idea that Banawe is quite far from Katipunan. What was supposed to be a 25 minute trip turned into an hour and half drive thanks to the holiday road madness. But my annoyance with traffic was soon swept away when I saw the homey facade of 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining.
We went straight to the second floor where the new menu launch was held. Almost everyone was already there when we arrived and the program already started.
We were given some welcome drinks and we could choose between Ginmansi (PHP200) and 13th Old Fashion (PHP200). I chose Ginmansi while K chose the latter. 
I liked the mix of alcohol and calamansi. It wasn’t that strong too making it a nice beverage to pair with my meal. K on the other hand commented that her 13th Old Fashion was a bit too strong for her liking.

The first dishes served were Bacon Pizza (PHP250) and Cheese and Raspberry Salad (PHP230). 
I loved the Bacon Pizza which was like breakfast in pizza form. I enjoyed munching on the thin crust topped with tomato sauce, cheese, egg and homemade bacon which was grilled to perfection. 
Though the pizza didn’t look as round as the ones you usually get from pizzerias, this one did not disappoint. It was rich in taste and had beautiful contrasts of textures
The Cheese and Raspberry Salad on the other hand didn’t have raspberries which was weird since the dish’s name had it. Anyway, it had other fruits like apples and was tossed with mixed greens, red onion, tomato, cucumber, glazed nuts, breaded cheese and drizzled with house vinaigrette. 
It was a nice light appetizer but it would have been better if it had more fruits and if the cheese was tangier since its natural taste was already masked by the breading. 
Next served was the Salmon and Capers pasta (PHP300). 
Though I love salmon, I was disappointed with this one as the penne was a bit undercooked and the tomato sauce seemed to have overpowered the smoked salmon’s and fried capers’ taste. 
I fell in love with the Twice Cooked Ribs (PHP320) which was so flavorful and went well with the spicy apple kimchi
Yes, you read that right. Ribs with kimchi. It was a beautiful combination of sweet and spicy. (The kimchi was extremely spicy for me but was enjoyed by my foodie seat mates.)
The Grilled Chicken Harissa (PHP390) was pretty good too. The North African chili pepper paste gave the grilled chicken a bit of earthy flavor and spicy kick. Make sure that you also get a spoonful or two of the braised beans for more flavor and grainy texture. 
The Chicken Bacon and Cheese (PHP300) was also I'd be willing to order again as I love chicken breast! 13 Ubay St. enhanced it with homemade bacon, cheese and cheese! What's not to love?
The Kare-Kare (PHP500) was hyped up by Chef Zaza’s mom as she mentioned how she likes her kare-kare to be traditional and faithful to the original list of ingredients. However, I think my preference was changed by the more modern versions of this Filipino favorite as I liked this dish the least. 
Though fragrant and full of tripe, ox tail, string beans, eggplant and banana heart, it wasn’t flavorful enough for me. It lacked the distinct peanuty taste and the sauce itself was not thick enough. I was also surprised that the homemade bagoong was sweet. I was expecting it to be salty and I prefer it salty. Some foodies though liked 13 Ubay St.’s version. I guess it was just not made for me. 
I was lured to the opposite end of the restaurant when I saw the other dishes were being served for flat lay hence I missed out on enjoying Binagoongan (PHP320) and Seafood Sambal (PHP250) hot and fresh. Luckily, there was still a spoonful left of each for me to sample when I got back to my seat.
Though sinful as it was perhaps 2/3 fat, I enjoyed devouring the crispy fried pork belly in bagoong sauce. It wasn’t overly salty but its oiliness will force you to eat it with rice. 
I heard that the Seafood Sambal was spicy as the seafood in the dish was sautéed in Oriental chili paste. Surprisingly, the portion I got wasn’t spicy at all. 
Taste-wise though, this one was forgettable.
And finally, we have reached the end of our food sampling and we were treated to two of 13 Ubay St.’s bestselling desserts namely Ube Piaya (PHP170) and Ube Cheesecake (PHP160). Again, these two were hyped by Chef Zaza’s mom so we couldn’t help expect a lot from these dishes. 

First served was Ube Piaya which was basically an ube-filled piaya topped with tres leches ice cream. 
It was pretty good though it would have been better if it had more ube halaya as it was quite light in terms of flavor.
The Ube Cheesecake on the other hand was a winner! I had no idea that ube could be a wonderful cheesecake especially if the crust is made of poltroon
It was the highlight of my visit and I would brave the traffic anytime for more of this!
I had a great time at 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining as it made me feel like I was welcomed inside a home and not a restaurant. 
Each dish served to us has a story and the fact that most if not all the ingredients used were made from scratch made it even more special.
13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining is located at 13 Ubay Street, Santa Mesa Heights, Banawe, Quezon City.

13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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