This little foodie went to Market... Basket!
A few weeks ago, while driving from Asian Hospital, I noticed this area with a few new establishment structures and a water park near Festival Mall. From afar, I noticed a restaurant bearing the name Market Basket in its logo. Kinda surprising that another dining spot sprouted up pretty fast like mushrooms in this part of Alabang. I made a mental note of going back soon and taking a closer look. And as fate would have it, I was invited to try out Market Basket's fare a week later.
The newest concept from the Chefs' Quarter Group, Market Basket is a modern-themed dampa restaurant. Just as you would in a dampa-style resto, you get to pick out your choice viand among the fresh catch of the day, and have them cook it for you via any method you choose. Only here, you can have the experience in the comfort of an airconditioned place and sans the smell of the local wet market.
Paluto in four easy steps:
- Choose your seafood - you can refer to the chalkboard for the list of fresh seafood and meat daily.
- Weigh in - how many grams of your choice of seafood or meat would you like to order?
- Cooking method - do you want your seafood or meat steamed, deep-fried, grilled or boiled?
- Choice of sauce - choose a sauce ranging from the familiar like garlic butter sauce or teriyaki, to the more unconventional (at least where dampas are concerned) such as berlinoise and remoulade.
Aside from the "paluto" style dishes, they also have an ala carte menu proffering a wide selection of edibles from appetizers and salads to mains and desserts. Apparently, though seafood is the main attraction, the steaks are not to be ignored either.
The restaurant itself spans two stories of clean and bright ambiance. Al fresco dining is an option with tables and chairs set up at the back, having the water park as its backdrop, complete with a bridge and fountain glinting against colored spotlights.
To start off the dinner, we had this amazing lechon kawali sisig that's crunchy due to the crisp porcine skin, and has a bearable heat enough to whet your appetite. It was sooo good, that as much as I wanted to go for seconds, I found the plate wiped clean, and satisfied smiles plastered on the other diners' faces.
Two salads were brought out, and while I didn't get to try the one with fresh fruits, if the sautéed mushrooms in balsamic dressing were any indication to the quality of their salads, then they must be doing something right in their open kitchen lined with pots of herbs and greens.
One advantage when eating in a dampa-style joint is the freshness of the seafood, and here is no exception. An initial bite of that salmon swimming in sour sinigang broth had me swooning for the obvious superior quality. The tanigue steak, which I usually steer clear of because of its dry nature, had me singing praises, and not just because of that olive oil and garlic sauce.
You can also opt for the seafood bouillabaisse in lieu of the sinigang, or even try their grilled squid stuffed with tomatoes, ginger, and onion.
The maya maya would not be left out, but the clear star, unanimously voted as the best dish of the night, was the stuffed crab. Sitting proudly in all its unbridled orange-hued glory, this mix of crab meat and veggies is one dish you shouldn't ever pass up.
If you think that seafood is all that's up Market Basket's sleeve, think again. It was a pleasant surprise to see that they have a variety of mean meats, too. The distinct taste of the lamb spareribs is a welcome outpouring of flavor. That paired with its fork-tender quality, makes it all the more enjoyable. The surf and turf sports tender pieces of steak and huge prawns that treads on the tough side.
If you're in the mood for pasta, go for the spaghetti with beef and crabfat sauce that's sautéed in olive oil and garlic. By this time, I was totally full, but heck if I'd say no to desserts. I guess there's some truth to the saying that women usually have a separate stomach for them.
The desserts were unique and creative, and a variety was laid before us much to our palates'---and eyes'---pleasure. We started with an unexpected treat... ube ice cream in a sizzling plate surrounded by macapuno balls. The startling sensation of hot and cold fighting inside the mouth was already a delight in itself. Next came a platter of macarons with chocolate ganache and crushed hazelnuts that while good, the mere hint of anything remotely echoing Nutella prevented me from finishing it off.
The sapin sapin crème brûlée may be too dense for my taste, nonetheless, I appreciated its novelty. Same goes for the nilupak, although I preferred this over the sapin sapin for its lightness despite consisting of mashed cassava, sweet potato and ube. The last was a decadent slice of Belgian chocolate cake with a drizzle of salted caramel on the plate that rounded up this epic of a meal, and ended it on a highly satisfying note.
Definitely, Market Basket brings the fun of a dampa setting to an elevated level. With an array of fresh food available, cooked in a copious amount of options, not to mention commendable service, this place is certainly a must-try.
Spot: Unit C3 River Park Festival Supermall, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Contact No.: 845.1073