Served one way,
Or maybe two...
Mesa is a part of the Lamesa Grill group of restaurants, co-owned by Kiko Pangilinan. It offers modern Filipino cuisine, with sporadic unusual dishes. Perusing the menu was actually enjoyable, with intriguing dish titles that compel you to have a go at their fare, such as Pomelo Salad with Latik, Sisig in a Pouch, Pinatayong Manok, and Duck Basil Fried Rice.
I love laing and I especially took delight in Mesa's Laing 2 Ways (P150). Though both explode with much flavor, I favor the crispy version for that additional tactile property. The taro leaves cocooned in sapid coconut cream, garnished with adobo flakes for good measure, renders a saporous taste that really stirs the appetite.
At first I was hesitant to try the Drunken Ostrich (P350), but I suppose curiosity got the better of me as I tried to imagine whatever could an ostrich taste like. Chicken? Pork? Or one of those grotesque tasting viands redolent of exotic animal meats like frogs and horses? As the waiter laid down the platter, the dark comestible resembled the familiar beef. I gamely poked my fork into a strip and as I bit into the tender meat, it still reminded me of beef, only a bit sweeter, with the slices of mushroom providing an earthy flavor.
I appreciated the succulence of the Baby Squid in Olive Oil (P270). As I pop a piece into my mouth, the flesh of the small squid, caressed with olive oil leaves a delicate taste, punctured with the occasional hint of garlic.
A trip to Mesa wouldn't be complete without ordering their Crispchon Served 2 Ways (P999 for 1/6 serving)...
Unfortunately though, I didn't care much for the Crispchon Tossed in Chili Garlic. There were too many rib bones and not enough meat that my teeth weren't satisfied with what they're gnawing at. Sure, the flavors were distinctive, with the garlic and the salty seasoning making up a bold taste that seizes the mouth. But for P999, I felt it wasn't worth it. Even at half the price (after all, it was just one way), there still wasn't much value for money as all I could nibble on were bones. I couldn't even decipher where the crispy skin ended and the bones began.
The Crispchon Wrapped in Pandan Crepe was the redeeming version. I don't like wansuy or cilantro because of its sort of pungent taste, but somehow, the acridity worked when combined with the cucumber and the sweetness of the Rikki's Choice sauce, reminiscent of my favorite duck crepe hoisin dipping sauce from chinese restaurants. The other two sauces I've tried were the garlic and the spicy pork liver, which is sort of like the Mang Tomas lechon sauce.
I like Mesa for the adventurous but not overboard menu with inveigling names that coaxes one into trying unconventional Filipino dishes, as well as those with a twist. It's a restaurant where you never tire of ordering something new, albeit may be a hit or a miss, but a fresh experience just the same.
Spot: Ground Floor Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City
Contact No.: 7280886