Just like a friend, Abé aims to bring comfort and solace through heart-tugging dishes filled with flavor and soul.
Abé is a restaurant dedicated to Larry Cruz' father, E. Aguilar "Abe" Cruz. It is part of the LJC Restaurant Group which also comprises Fely J, Lorenzo's Way, Café Adriatico and Café Havana, and serves Filipino cuisine influenced mainly by a Capampangan origin.
The Serendra branch always seems packed especially during dinner; you'd have better luck finding a parking space during a sale than getting a reservation here. Either you come at an early time or prepare yourself to wait awhile for a table to clear up -- which is what we did when we recently dined there. By the time a table was ready, so were we for our orders after leisurely perusing the menu.
It's something that veers away from the usual sour Sinigang dishes that I'm used to, this Sinigang na Boneless Bangus Fillet with Ripe Guava (P399). Yet, the tincture of sweetness I get is like a warm embrace that nestles you gently into a haven of savory broth, caressing and cocooning you into its depths. It has a thicker consistency than your regular sinigang made so by the ripe guava infused into its stock. Soft milkfish meat greet you with tenderness and sprigs of water spinach massage your palate. Every sup of that hot saporous soup only invites another.
Floating above pottage level were slices of eggplants, string beans and ox tail making up their Klassik Kare Kare (P595). Drenched in mustard yellow stew, each bite of the soft meat and fibrous tripe brings about a somewhat bland flavor enhanced only by the mauve shrimp paste nested in a small ceramic container. How I wish it had a more robust taste that has no need for the side spice, similar to the one of Kanin Club's.
The preparation of the Bamboo Rice (P250) purveyed some entertainment as the waiter tapped on the bamboo a few times almost to a beat, as if awakening the sheltered rice inside. A treasure of mountain rice mixed with some shrimps, wood ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots was unearthed as he slowly pulled up the upper part of the bamboo. Careful not to send the whole thing into a jumbled mess, I gingerly scoop a few spoonfuls of rice onto my plate. Not dry yet not irritatingly damp, these cooked grains lent a unique flavor that definitely harvested favorable responses from the table. A pretty nice change from the usual fried rice.
The Lamb Adobo (P410) was my favorite viand of the night. A nice twist from the commonplace pork or chicken adobo, the use of lamb was conducive to its perfect execution. Peeled garlic cloves were sprinkled all over the dark meat while garlic bits were interwoven between huge chunks. The sauce was admittedly on the briny side yet something that if melded with a tamer-tasted viand or rice, resulted in the perfect hodgepodge of flavors. And with the bamboo rice, it certainly delivered.
Washing everything down with our staple drink of Iced Tea (P75) and a svelte glass of Sago't Gulaman (P85) proved to be so satisfying. The former was thirst quenching with its cold temperature smoothly flowing through your throat and the latter providing a sweeter finish, punctured by orbs of chewy sago and cubes of translucent red gulaman, hobnobbing with crushed ice and a treacly brown syrup.
Spot: Serendra Piazza Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Contact No.: 856.0526