I don't know with you guys but where ever I am I would always rather be at the beach. I seek it and even the thought of it makes me miss it so much. I know for a fact that in another parallel universe I am a mermaid because I have this longing of becoming one with the sea. Whenever my feet feels sand underneath it, a sort of calm and peace envelopes my soul. Unfortunately for me, I am not able to got to the beach this summer because of my work schedule. Plans to go hit the shores are not until later this year. So yeah, what a bummer...
But I recently went to a place that gave me the almost complete island vibe I am missing way too much. I was invited to this newly opened restaurant in City Golf named Isla Una located at Julia Vargas Avenue in my hometown of Pasig City. It absolutely assimilated all the feels of being in a restaurant that could be found on the beach, but sans the beach and the sea.
Isla Una is a 3-floor contemporary Filipino restaurant and grill inspired by the warmth of Filipino hospitality. They serve homegrown Pinoy comfort food; some are table staples that we've come to love and other dishes uniquely curated by the people behind this resto.
grabbed from Isla Una's facebook page
The first floor is the main dining area which is perfect for family and friends who loves small gatherings and to eat their hearts out.
The second floor is more like a lounging area and where the bar is located. On the third floor is a roof deck which overlooks the Ortigas Center cityscape.
I was amazed to find another restaurant with a roof deck; since lately I've been smitten by roof deck bars. Now I have another go-to place when I want to just chill on a weekend night after a stressful work week.
Simple colors and interiors makes this restaurant a perfect hang out place on any given day. I love the elements that makes me reminisce of island life; like the ropes hanging off the ceiling and the green walls on the ground floor; the bamboo centerpieces; the graffiti and paintings on the walls on the second floor; the faux grass covering the floor of the roof deck.
As for the food here are the dishes that me and my co-bloggers got to try:
Crispy Pata - deep fried pork leg, crunchy and flavorful on the outside and super moist and tender inside. Just like any Pinoy would like it. The Crispy Pata *sigh* it just is...
Lechon Belly - Cebu's famous roasted pig, rolled and stuffed with spices and herbs with chicken liver sauce. I love roasted pork belly especially if it's Cebu's version of it because (sorry for the vegans out there) they use young pork for it so expect nothing but tender, juicy meat with the crispiest pork skin there is.
Sizzling Bulalo - slow oven-baked beef shanks braised in Filipino-style herb mushroom gravy. Oh man, this dish is to die for! Here's tip, save the bone marrow for yourself asap be selfish! Lol! The sauce was creamy and went well with the tender meat of the shank. You gotta see the video and be enticed!
Kare-Kare - original Filipino stew of ox feet, ox shank, tripe and native vegetables in ground peanut sauce. The meat and tripe were super tender and very easy to cut and eat. The peanut sauce was quite sweet for my taste but the bagoong (shrimp paste) that came with it neutralized the sweetness.
Bangus Ala Pobre - pan-fried milk fish with tomato salsa and special vinegar sauce. I love milk fish and was glad that Isla Una's was boneless. I went straight for the belly haha!
Prawn Aligue - prawns cooked in smothering and creamy aligue sauce. Oh my! This is my favorite of them all! I knew we will be eating seafood so I popped an antihistamine before I went there so I was good to go. Love the creamy crab fat sauce to bits!
Yamang Dagat - prawns, mussels and squid cooked in flavorful broth of garlic, ginger and coconut milk. This is your seafood galore soup. Loved that the broth tasted a bit like it's with curry but I think it was ginger that made it taste like a Thai curry soup. This is a must order!
Pancit Guisado - stir-fried thick noodles topped with vegetables, kikiam, shrimp and pork. Who can go wrong with a Filipino staple food? Pancit is life yeah?
Bagoong Rice - I love that the bagoong (shrimp paste) was not over powering. It was just right and I freaking love it!
Garlic Rice - Pinoy's fave version of fried rice with lots and lots of roasted garlic for the win!
Yema Palitaw - sticky rice cake coated with coconut shreds with yema filling. This is a childhood afternoon snack in steroids! O.M.G. who's the genius behind the idea of putting yema (toffee) filling in it? I need to bow down at your feet!
Drinks - Kalamansi and lemonade. They were super refreshing, I wish I'm drinking them while I'm playing with sand with my feet... but it'll do.
Oh and before I forgot, I was went nuts about the music being played at Isla Una! It was so perfect for when you're at the beach lounging and drinking summer cocktails! Like, talk about giving you the complete island vibes! I can't get over it that I even asked one of the staff if I can copy their playlist and she was happy to obliged! Now the songs are saved on my desktop computer and on my mobile phone. And yep it's on repeat!
Missing the beach? Or just want to chill out and satisfy your Filipino comfort food cravings? I'm telling you Isla Una should be your destination! Thanks a lot Isla Unafor serving us your best-sellers and and Aldous for organizing this event; it was truly a fun and filling night with my fellow bloggers.