Nothing like authentic Italian pizza and pasta...
Italian is one of my favorite cuisines, with Japanese being the other, and an authentic meal is always a treat. It was my first time to try Lombardi's, and I wasn't really expecting anything much. The place was simple and well-lit, with rustic-meets-modern interiors. Before long, we started on a few appetizers...
This was good, way good. The thinly sliced beef marinated with lemon and olive oil was simply divine on the tongue. And as the protein melts, a shaving of parmesan hits sharply, and you can only enjoy the interplay of flavors they bring.
Like the previous one, this was also good. The immaculately thin slices of tuna went well with the cherry tomatoes; each bite was delicate and superb. Their carpaccios definitely make for great antipasti.
I love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially those that uses mozzarella in between breads, so this particular dish was a hit for me. Don't forget to dip it into the Arrabiata sauce for that added acerbity. The fresh salad on the side actually looked good, but I was intent on savoring this mozzarella sandwich instead.
One bite, and I pushed my plate aside. This was my least favorite dish of the night because I hate capers. And the flavor of it in this pizza was robust. Plus the anchovies made it too salty for my taste.
This one I unfortunately didn't get to try. And it looked good, too. I wanted to taste those great-looking zucchini and eggplant as they melded with the dough and sauce. Too bad, really.
Provolone, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella. Four different types of cheese. Enough to make me want it. Rustic with alternating hints of the cheeses' gastronomic nuances, this pizza made me want to get another slice or two, when usually one is enough.
Another good pizza filled with a variety of Italian hams -- prosciutto, mortadella, salame Milano and coppa. It was light yet filling at the same time, and the flavors were really pronounced. Using fresh ingredients can really spell out a big difference. Definitely a far cry from your usual pan pizza.
Even though I love red sauce in pasta, it's rare that I order the Marinara Pasta, Frutti Di Mare or the like. Not that any of it isn't any good, it's just that it's a hassle for me to shell all the seafood that come with it. Tastewise, I like this dish for its light, tomatoey taste. Albeit it not being drowned in sauce, the flavor is very apparent.
Though nice with stewed tomatoes, Italian pancetta and basil, this dish didn't really leave a mark.
The chef extemporized an Italian carbonara when it was brought up that the authentic one had no cream, very much unlike the popular ones that people were usually familiar with. And yes, even without cream (or especially because of the lack of it), this carbonara leaves an impressive mark on the mind.
I loved, loved, loved their Lasagna! It had that authentic flair that for years I had been looking for, sadly in vain. None of that sweet Americanized lasagna versions scattered in different pizza parlors around the metro. The bechamel sauce, in reciprocity with the stewed tomatoes, clouded my palate in a gorgeous way, as the meatiness of the Bolognese gave that satisfying oomph. Bellissimo! It took all of my self-control to leave a little piece just so it could be my last bite for the night. I couldn't get enough of it that the next time I was in East Wing, I passed by Lombardi's just to take one home.
Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, these flat strips of ribeye steak were tender to the bite. Never mind that I was already full from all the carbs, I was definitely getting my share of this beef. And the mashed potatoes were pretty good, too.
I didn't really bother tasting the side dishes that came with the steak; I wanted to leave even a little bit space for dessert.
It may not be much to look at, but this simple thing had us oohing and aahing. This Vanilla Pannacotta was simply lovely, and if you take a closer look, you'd see tiny black dots, which apparently were the vanilla beans. Creamy with just the right amount of sweetness, it was the sort of dessert that made your eyes roll in utter pleasure.
When you've tasted Bono Artisanal Gelato, every other gelato seems to be inferior in comparison, unless maybe you're in Italy. While the Barca De Gelato had some interesting flavors such as vanilla, pistachio, hazelnut, and orange, it lacked that certain creaminess I sort of expected, and a full-on flavor that I wanted.
I'd definitely be back especially when I'm craving for an authentic Italian meal; there aren't so many accessible places in Manila that offers one. I'd be back especially for that Lasagne Della Casa!
Lombardi's Authentic Italian
Spot: Level 4 East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City