Wednesday, September 28, 2016

First Bite: Nicandro Lutong Bahay

I usually avoid Filipino restaurants when I eat out as I could easily cook most of my favorite Filipino dishes at home. However, whenever I crave for dishes that painstakingly take time to prepare like bulalo and kare-kare, I’d eat out. Honestly, I have not heard of Nicandro Lutong Bahay as it doesn’t seem to be active in social media. I only came to be acquainted with this cozy Filipino restaurant tucked along the famous Lilac Street during a Marikina food crawl sponsored by Zomato and ABS-CBN. And I was not prepared to taste something different.

Hello, Nicandro Lutong Bahay
The first thing I noticed was its tables adorned with machuca designed laminate. It was the perfect flat lay background! 
As we wait for our food, we were served with two types of beverages, House Blend Iced Tea (PHP80) and Fresh Sugarcane Juice (PHP95, glass | PHP185, bottle). I got sugarcane and I wasn’t too happy with it. It tasted off and I just could not pinpoint what was wrong with it.
Service was quick as dishes were served within 15 minutes. 
I first sampled Deep Fried Baby Squid (PHP198) and it was pretty good. I enjoyed the lovely contrast between the crispy breading and fresh squid. It also went well with the garlic vinegar sauce and the garlic mayo dip. I craved for a bottle of beer as I pop a few more of the battered goodness inside my mouth. 
I tried the Sinigang na Baka sa Bayabas (PHP438) next and I was surprised by its sweet taste. I wasn’t able to hear the word bayabas (guava) when I took my first sip hence I was taken aback as I was expecting a sharp tangy taste

As I take a few more spoonfuls, I started to appreciate the unique taste of this bowl of soup. I actually liked it. But I couldn’t help myself from looking for milk fish. I couldn’t seem to put together beef and sweet broth and call it sinigang. It was just too wrong for me. 
The Beef and Ox Tripe Kare-Kare (PHP462) was served next and it was just okay for me. I liked that there was a generous serving of meat and veggies but the sauce was not thick and peanut-y enough. 
Perhaps my favorite dish from Nicandro’s would be the Pinakbet sa Bagnet (PHP312) which uses authentic Vigan bagnet. I loved how the crunchy bagnet bits and the fresh veggies complement each other. It’s sinful but healthy at the same time. 

It was a hit and miss kind of lunch. I liked the appetizer and the pinakbet but both were not spectacular for me to go back for more. Well, unless I’m already in the area and suddenly craved for baby squid. 

Nicandro Lutong Bahay is located at 10 Lilac Street, Concepcion Dos, Marikina City.

Nicandro Lutong Bahay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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