Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Bite: Gabe's Homegrown Dishes

I have known Gabe’s Homegrown Dishes for quite some time now as it has been active in tagging me on Instagram. It sure was an effective marketing tactic as it made me curious and I ended up checking food apps to read reviews about the humble Filipino restaurant. After a few tags and likes, Dan of Gabe’s got in touch with me and invited me to visit his restaurant to sample some of their dishes. 
Hello, Gabe’s Homegrown Dishes.
It is quite easy to miss this restaurant if you are not so familiar with how its signage look like. Located at the second floor of YDG building along Katipunan Avenue, it is on the same side of Sandwicheese and at the opposite side of the biggest Banappple branch. 
The space is quite small and could accommodate around 20 customers maximum at a time. I love though how family friendly the place is with its comfortable couch for sleepy toddlers and a bunch of board games and cards to entertain kids and kids-at-heart. 
Dan arrived with his family a couple of minutes after we arrived. And while waiting for the dishes which were being cooked by his lovely wife, we had a chat with Dan and he told us that most of the dishes are based on family recipes with Kapampangan influence. As for the restaurant’s name, it was named after the couple’s firstborn, Gabe. 
After a few minutes of chatting, our order of Lemonade (PHP65 per glass) was served and it was well-loved. It was tangy and sweet at the same time; making it a great thirst quenching drink. 

It took a while for the first dishes to be served as the restaurant was understaffed the night we visited. It took a bit over 30 minutes for the first dishes to be served. 
Lengua (PHP250) was first to come out of the kitchen and it was an instant kids’ favorite. The tender lengua could be easily mistaken as your usual well-cooked meat. We all enjoyed the thick, creamy and slightly salty gravy that complemented the beef’s tongue.
Next served was the bang for the buck Pancit Malabon (PHP100, single serving | PHP300, good for 6-9 pax | PHP600, good for 10-16 pax | PHP950, good for 20-25 pax).

There was a good amount of toppings and the Filipino feast staple dish had a nice rich taste. It also gets a lot better when drizzled with calamansi juice. 
My only concern with this dish was that the pancit was a tad overcooked with the noodles being a bit mushy. (And I am quite particular with my noodles. I like ‘em firm.)

Kare-Kare (PHP200) and Beef Tapsilog (PHP115) soon followed.
I loved the thick sauce of kare-kare. Though it lacked a bit of peanut-y texture, I loved its rich taste. Our bowl also had a generous serving of vegetables and beef. I went crazy with the big chunks of tripe or what we Filipinos call tuwalya. R’s niece, J stuffed herself with rice swimming in kare-kare sauce and shrimp paste.
R’s family enjoyed the the flavorful Beef Tapsilog. It was just okay for me as I like my tapa a bit tangier and not sweet. Also, the beef chunks were not as tender as expected.
The Crunchy Pork Sisig ni Gabe (PHP185) was up next and it was also another well-loved dish by the group. I wasn’t too fond of the mayo though as I liked my sisig to be just topped with egg. Overall though, it was still good. Just make sure you add calamansi juice for that delectable salty and tangy flavor. 
Also, mix your sisig right away to avoid the undesirable burnt taste. (Note: Dan mentioned that they are working on expanding their sisig offerings and they might soon offer other sisig versions to be paired with beer.)

Just when we thought we’re done with dinner, a plate of Salmon Belly in Bechamel Sauce (PHP160) and Baked Ribs (PHP190) were placed on the table. 
Everyone enjoyed the crunchy salmon belly as it was like eating fish version of chicharon given its crispiness. The béchamel sauce added a creamy texture and slightly milky taste. Salmon lovers would enjoy this dish. 
The Baked Ribs was well marinated and had a sweet barbecue taste. It was like eating ribs version of Pinoy barbecue. It would have been a lot better if the meat was a tad softer. The meat I got from the side was a bit tough and slightly dry.

And finally, we have reached the sweet part of dinner… desserts!

Dan and his wife prepared Fried Oreos ala Mode (PHP100), Halo-Halo (PHP100) and Valencia ala Malabon (PHP80) for us and we loved them all!
The fried Oreos were not overly sweet and the warm batter was well complemented by the vanilla ice cream. 
Our halo-halo loving selves were thrilled to see the hefty serving of toppings. For PHP100, you are guaranteed that there won’t be a single spoonful of just ice. 
But the crown for best dish that night was given to Valencia ala Malabon. The banana fritter stuffed with munggo beans, topped with brown sugar and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was a combination powerful enough to make a grown person tear up. I’ll definitely be back to have more of this. 
Despite the slow service due to lack of manpower (and proactiveness), it was still a lovely dinner. 

Note: Parking could be challenging here as I heard that the underground parking is quite tight. There are parking slots in front of the building but these are often used by the building tenants on the ground floor. It is advisable to just take Uber/Grab/cab to this place or have someone drop you off. Also, the place does not have a lift so visiting this restaurant with elders could be a challenge. 

Gabe’s Homegrown Dishes is located at 2nd Floor, YGG building, 219 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

Gabe's Home Grown Dishes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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