Wednesday, July 12, 2017

When in Davao: Saging Repablik

I'm always on the lookout for good food. I usually check apps and ask for recommendations whenever I'm somewhere I'm not familiar with. And when ForkSpoonManila recommended Saging Repablik to me when I was in Davao, I made sure that I drop by the place. After all, Forkie said the magic word... bibingka

Hello, Saging Repablik.
I've read a few reviews about this place on TripAdvisor before visiting. Most reviews say that service is slow and that the serving size of the dishes are not that generous. All reviews agreed though that this place offers delicious meals. It's just lacking in some aspects. Reading these made me expect a bit less from the place. 
I recall someone mentioned that this place is Instagram-worthy. And it sure is. The restaurant was oozing with hipster vibes with its wooden, brick and cement walls, potted plants, tin cans and straws on empty glass bottles. 
We were warmly greeted by one of the staff who ushered us to our table. He quickly handed the menu and even cracked a few jokes with R's dad. It made me wonder if this guy is new as he's definitely not someone who'd define bad service. 
We decided to go with Smoked Bangus Pomelo Sanigang (PHP245, solo), Sabagnet (PHP220, solo) and Beef Tenderloin Salpicao (PHP250, solo). We also tried its Fresh Sweet Lemonsito Juice (PHP80) and Fresh Pomelo Juice (PHP95). And what's a trip to Saging Repablik without trying its famous Gigingka? We tried its Giginka with Walnuts (PHP80).
First served were our drinks which were served on plastic bottles that reminded me of Sap's. 

I liked my lemon calamansi juice. It had that sweet yet tangy taste that I like. R's pomelo juice was good too.
While waiting for our mains, we feasted on the gigingka. And it was pretty good. 
It was moist, fluffy and tasted just like banana bread with the texture of bibingka
Beef Tenderloin Salpicao was served next and our group couldn't help ourselves compare it with Tiny Kitchen's succulent version. True, both are tender but there's something about Tiny Kitchen's salpicao that had that delectable wow factor. 
Don't get me wrong. Saging Repablik's salpicao is not bad at all. The chunks of meat were tender and had that delightful garlicky taste
It's just that it doesn't have anything that made it extraordinary.
Sabagnet was served next and I drooled over the sight of the huge crunchy pork skin
It may look very sinful and I bet it really is but... it was worth every calorie and cholesterol! It was really good! The pork was perfectly cooked--crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and leaves you wanting more. The saba added a lovely break from the fatty treat and also served as a dessert. 
It took a while before they got to serve my Smoked Bangus Pomelo Sanigang. But it was worth the wait. 
I was overwhelmed by the generous serving of my order but I was saddened by how much they scrimped on the smoked bangus. I tried to fish out some pieces for the photo but couldn't get any. Apparently, there was a whole smoked bangus at the bottom of the pot and there were just too many veggies that buried it. The serving size was so big that I was ready to raise the white flag midway. But it's too good too to leave leftovers. 
The smoked bangus was fat and had this delectable salty taste which went well with the tangy broth. The pomelo and saba added sweet notes to the dish making it extra delightful. 

Overall, it was a great lunch. I liked everything that was served and service was surprisingly good. I still remember calling one of the staff to ask for the wifi password but he handed me a piece of paper with it even before asking him. I'm not sure why this place received a lot of complaints with service and serving size as everything was perfect during my visit. And I will definitely be back for more!

Saging Repablik is located at V. Mapa St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur. 

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