Crisostomo: Turn of the Century Filipino Cuisine

Crisostomo: Turn of the Century Filipino Cuisine

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pin It Crisostomo
Filipino cuisine is slowly wedging its foot in the international food scene. The difficulty lies in how to translate the usual family-style servings to something that's more french gourmet (read: sophisticated) looking to be more easily accepted by the other parts of the world. Albeit it would be splendid to see adobo or sinigang in some minimalist and artistic creation (I love watching chefs' different plating techniques), sometimes though, those big servings are the ones that spell comfort and home, and I think those are some of the endearing characteristics of Filipino food, one fact that is equally important to portray to the rest of the globe.

Crisostomo menu
When we dined in Crisostomo's Nuvali branch last year for a little afternoon snack, I didn't think much of the place. Perhaps because all we had ordered were iced tea, sago't gulaman and halo-halo to quench our thirst after basking under the hot sun. Now, a branch has recently opened in Alabang Town Center so we grabbed the opportunity to try their food this time. Reading through their menu was like taking a trip down Noli Me Tangere lane as every dish title included a character's name or a place from that setting. Monikers like Tinapa ni Tiburcio, Elias' Choice, Tadyang ni Tiago, Atchara ni Ibarra and Adobo Damaso lend an amusing personality to each dish. There were even three kinds of sinigang humorously named Sinigang Gomez, Sinigang Burgos and Sinigang Zamora.

Crisostomo interiors
The restaurant was a bit small and cramped. Nonetheless, the decor exudes a Spanish maharlika vibe that's cozy and warm. Wooden balusters line up the glass windows, portraits are mounted on the Tiffany-blue wall, framed by intricate carvings. A big distressed wooden China cabinet houses liquors, wine glasses and pristine white tea sets. Locket and vintage pendants as well as beaded jewelries hang from wooden hands that protrude from mirrored walls. And at the center, an elaborate circular candelabra with tall tea lights and transparent globes pierced by twig-like structures serves as a conversation starter to while away the time.

Crisostomo Don Juan
Finally our food arrives one by one. Don Juan (P295) is an inihaw na liempo dish that was typically your run-of-the-mill pork ribs (though it looked more like belly). Cut into strips, these grilled porcine meat rests on a small banana leaf and showered with chopped chives and garlic bits. The meat was marinated nicely and tender to the bite but for the price I had expected something more.

Crisostomo Bopis de Salvi
Bopis de Salvi (P250) wasn't on this particular menu (something about the wrong one being delivered to this branch) but the waiter revealed that they do have a bopis dish when we asked for one. A mishmash of chopped pig's lungs and porcine heart, this could have been a great comestible save for one tiny detail -- it had chopped liver. My least favorite non-exotic food in the world (!). The red pepper provided a nice heat but I was too busy segregating the tiny chunks of liver that I didn't get to enjoy eating this course.

Crisostomo Callos de Aguinaldo
If you constantly read my blog, you'd know that I love callos. I love the oleaginous property, the bold tomato flavor and the fat-laden proteins. Unfortunately, albeit the Callos de Aguinaldo (P325) is good, it lacks that solid oomph that I look for in this kind of dish. Instead of the usual chopped pieces of ox tripe, this one had longer strips that contributed to a texture that's more rubbery than usual. There were a few chorizo slices and some red and green bell peppers. The sauce dances on the watery end of the oil-water spectrum and the tomato sauce is milder in taste. There was a hint of spiciness alright, but it wasn't enough to fill the void I felt while missing Las Paellas' or Sugar House's version.

Crisostomo Bella Bandida
The Bella Bandida (P295) consists of three strips of pan fried milkfish belly topped with julienned burong mangga and bagoong or shrimp paste. The ever present chopped chives were also there for decoration mainly. This was my favorite among the viands. The fish was succulent and seasoned perfectly; the acidulousness of the pickled green mangoes cut right through the unctuousness of the belly itself. And as if the flavors weren't enough, the salinity of the bagoong made it all the more appetizing.

Crisostomo Salome's Secret
Salome's Secret (P295) is actually stuffed squid which I really loved. The big squid was grilled beautifully with a bit of charred portions on top. The chopped chives was sprinkled across the seafood's length. Imprisoned within the rings were slices of tomatoes and onions, which rendered color to the plate. The meat was tender and I liked how the sweet sauce complemented that smoky flavor.

Crisostomo chocolates and rose pastillas
As we were about to leave, the waitress handed out rose-shaped pastillas to the girls at our table paired with bars of their eponymous chocolates. The pastillas had that smooth, milky flavor which was really nice, but the chocolates were a revelation. Dark chocolate with tinges of salt tease and tantalize the palate with a sensuous reciprocity of sweet and salty. Each bite ensues a titillating sensation as opposite taste forces perform a delicious tug-of-war inside my mouth.

Crisostomo
Spot: G/F The Garden (New Wing) Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City
Contact No.: 869.0988
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13 comments:

J said...

The food looks delish! Have you tried MESA yet?

Guia Obsum said...

Hi J! Yes, I've tried Mesa. :) You can read about it here...

http://www.foodreviewsmanila.com/2011/10/mesa-filipino-moderne.html

MrsLavendula said...

what an interesting restaurant!

the food dude said...

I've heard of this resto from a friend, I should visit soon. The squid and bangus look delicious, great photos!

Mich of Mich Eats and Shops said...

Ive seen them in Greenbelt and I've always wondered about the quality of food there. Now that I've seen your post though, the food doesn't seem to be anything particularly special. I'm a callos fan too so it's disappointing that theirs isn't any good.

Gio of The Hungry Giant said...

When I saw their Resorts World branch when my dad and I were in Manila, I told myself I just had try it out. We didn't get to do that, sadly, but your review got me excited when the moment does come - just because I'm after the ambiance and experience (parang nasa bucket list lang. haha!). :D AND....we share one thing in common: I dislike liver. With a passion. hahaha!

Lovely Tan said...

Their sizzling lengua is to die for!! Swimming in butter, it tastes like heaven!

Shalum said...

I like Crisostomo! And those blue walls and lighting, I could live in! Excited to try Elias in The Fort.

Ariel C. said...

Warning to those who want to try with this restaurant. We went here together with my wife at alabang town center branch I ordered their Kare-kare (taste is ok but i dont like the crunchy nuts on it and price is P300 plus) i was thinking of another dish to pair for what i ordered, the waiter suggested their lobster which he said this is great whith the special sauce blah blah.. my wife would like to try their squid but he insisted to order their lobster he even said to us "tingnan nyo po sir sa ibang table yan ang inoorder dto" (bec. they push it to their clients..) since he is very persistent for us to order that dish and i was really hungry on that time without even thinking for what i ordered will cost P3,000 pesos and above and They will not tell you how big or how much they are going to serve you will be suprised when you got your bill. So, they serve their small (P3,300) "Special Lobster" ( i dont know there is nothing special on that dish or even on their sauce which he reiterate it to me i dont know how many time he said that)late exactly when we are about to finish. Imagine Just for that night i spend P4,000 for that 2 dishes which we did not enjoyed.

cel said...

went there will highschool friends, I think Crisostomo is very pricey.... well maybe the food is better but nothing especial really.

legallyspeaking said...

Have been to Crisostomo ATC more than twice already, but my most recent visit (Monday, 5th of November) could be the last. While the quality of the food is good, service is another story. We ordered Sago't Gulaman, which I found too sweet, and there was just a handful of "sago" and "gulaman" in the drink (they should rename it: "Some Sago't Gulaman"). I asked one of the servers to bring us water (so I can pour some into the Sago't Gulaman), but it took the guy at least 5 minutes and a sharp stare from my end to bring the requested drinking water to our table. Our designated server was a guy strangely named "Ibarra", who was the major turn off. First, with his tight trousers which exposed his partially unzipped fly, stood in front of the counter touching his teeth with his bare hands. Second, minutes later, he stood again on the same spot, sneezed without covering his mouth, and he was just less than 2 feet away from diners seated on the table right in front of him. Totally grossed out!

Crisostomo ATC said...

we took note of your concerns and measures will be taken - crisostomo alabang

Crisostomo ATC said...

we took note of your concerns and measures will be taken - crisostomo alabang

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