“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”
– Mark Kurlansky
Filipino food is known to be an influence of diverse cultures, despite our origins implicating a more Austronesian nature – our dishes have gradually evolved along with our history. Mesa (closely translating to high-table in Spanish), one of the leading Filipino comfort food restaurants in the Philippines, backed with 30 years of culinary expertise, continuously attempts to cater the historical taste of Filipino cuisine. From the Spanish-influence and love for “Carne” or meat – to the flavorful and spicy preferences of Indian Food, and the Chinese staple for “rice”, Mesa is eager to take on dishes that has captured the heart of Filipinos throughout the years.
During this particular night, we were given the privilege to taste a mouthful of their best-selling dishes, as familiar recipes were laid out on the table. Filipino favorites such as – Crispy Pata, Laing, Kare Kare, Tinapa, and Suahe – invigorated our ever eager taste buds, as we take photos of the food. For this blog post, however, I will only be taking a closer look on some of my personal favorites.
Patatim is a very local dish that is made up of slowly braised pork leg, subdued in soy sauce and spices like garlic. It is one of the most sought after delights during a regular Fiesta. Mesa, of course, upscaled this one by making it a lot easier to eat and removing the bones attached to the meat. With its sweet and savory sauce, I guarantee a solid A+ for each and every bite!
Crispy Boneless Pata
My logic is this – you can never go wrong with anything that says “Pata”. Yes, well if you are keeping a check on your cholesterol intake, this is probably not for you. Patas are usually made up of deep-fried pig trotters or knuckles, paired with a dip composed of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili. A regular well-cooked pata should have a tender and juicy meat on the inside, but to be honest, I have found this one to be a tad bit dry. However, what lacks in juiciness was easily alleviated with their rocking tasty dip!
Often than not, chickens are always served at any Filipino dining table – almost the same as rice. The ever growing fast food chains have taken advantage of this situation and has dived into creating different ways to exploit the goodness of the good old Chicken. Mesa, on the other hand, not only made it the highlight of my night – but a funny one too. They did not lack the sense of humor when they said that this was called “pinatayong manok” or easily translated into English as “straightened chicken”. I mean, did you not get the joke? I did, and funnily enough, it tastes really good too!
Suahe on the Rocks
Suahe is actually the smaller version of a prawn. If you have read my blog, you know for a fact that I am a huge fan of shrimp – just as much as Bubba on Forrest Gump adores it on the movie. I like the fact that the best things I can eat requires a little bit of work – or in this case, peeling off its shell. As fast as this one goes, I really think it deserves more cooking time. It was a little bit undercooked for me, but as I have said – I will always love shrimp. Perhaps, I was just too eager to indulge in this good ol’ dish for my own good.
My foreign friends call this “A mix of things” because they were quite unsure what were the exact contents of this dessert. With my 25 years of existence on this country, I am more than happy to say that this is probably one of the best tasting halo-halo ever. Their milk was not overflowing, the sugar is blended with the ingredients in a moderate amount, and the contents were generous.
I am wrapping up this narrative with some of their elegantly designed desserts. Though I didn’t quite catch their exact names, I have to say that I was probably busy tasting all of them. As a typical Filipina, my aficionado for sweets runs more than just in my palate – but more on my blood. Most would characterize Filipinos as an avid lover of sweets, to the point that we incorporate it into almost every dish or day of our lives. For Mesa, I have to give credit on their sweetened Mango Sago and Guinumis for their really well-crafted and appetizing look.
So, if you ever find yourself around Ayala Malls 30th, give yourself a piece of Filipino Comfort Food at Mesa. They also accept party gatherings, that can be held at their cozy conference rooms, just inside the restaurant. These conference rooms can accommodate a total of 14 people each, suitable for more intimate party celebrations!
Want to explore other restaurants in Manila? Check out this link.
Find out more about Mesa Ayala 30th:
Address: 30 Meralco Ave, Pasig, 1605 Metro Manila
Follow me on my next adventure: