December 20, 2015

Mesa Filipino Moderne Cuisine

Whatever I do, when it comes to food, my palate will always search for what it is natively accustomed to. No matter what other cuisines I get to try, a big part of me will always enjoy Filipino food. I'm sure everyone around the world can relate to me when I state that good old home-grown cooking will forever be our first love when it comes to food. There are times when you tell yourself that you've grown weary of the usual food that you eat and you crave for something different like from a different cuisine. But then there are days when you crave for grandma's "sinigang", aunt's "beef caldereta" or mom's "pinakbet"; and when you finally satisfied your cravings, you feel a different kind of euphoria and nostalgia all at the same time. 

Filipino cuisine have its roots to many different cuisines: Spanish, Indian, Malay, Chinese, American and Japanese to name a few. It has also evolved into somewhat like a fusion of sorts and continues to change as time goes by. So when I was invited with a group of bloggers to try the best-sellers of Mesa Filipino Moderne Cuisine at it's 3-month old branch in Eastwood Mall, I was truthfully excited. Not only that I will get to eat some my favorite Filipino food but this time around it is with a different take. 

Mesa Filipino Moderne Cuisine is not a new restaurant in the Philippine dining arena. It is a part of a long running family food business managed by Mr. Eric Dee; the same company behind popular Philippine restaurants like Todd English, Tim Ho Wan, La Mesa Grill and Chin's Cafe (to name a few).

Mesa means table in English. Mesa's maiden branch was launched on in 2009 and since then have had 22 branches all over the Philippines and will open it's 23rd branch, it's first out of Philippine soil, in Glendale, California USA in 2016. Mesa considers their culinary offerings as stylized Filipino food which aims to relinquish locals' love for Filipino food and not intimidating to foreigners. 

Each branch have different design and interiors, but all possess distinctive, contemporary and native-inspired theme and ornaments, creating a high-energy ambiance in a casual and homey setting. Their Eastwood Mall branch for me looks modern with native touches. Just check out one of the photos in the slideshow where the dividers are wood banisters which you will usually see in old Filipino houses. They also have an outside seating area overlooking the park in front of the Eastwood Mall. Btw, they also have 2 function rooms available at this branch for small gatherings and events.

As for the menu of Mesa has been a constant one and once in a while specials are added. Mesa  serves a wide variety of items from appetizers to soups, main dishes to grill items, choice meat and seafood complemented with a selection of desserts and coupled with specialty drinks. In contrast to others, substantially all items are prepared daily inside the restaurant’s kitchen facility using high quality and fresh ingredients based on innovative and authentic regional recipes.

During our visit, Mr. Eric Dee dropped by on his way to another engagement. He happily explained to us the story behind Mesa, the stories behind some of the menu items and and his personal stories of his food adventures around the world. He proved to be a foodie himself and personally chose the entries that we will try which he happily quipped as his "personal favorites" at Mesa.

So without further ado, here are what were served to us on that 12-days-before-Christmas night which was surely perfect for our holiday and festive ready tummies: 

Coolers: Ripe Mango, Kamias (soursop) and Sampaloc (tamarind). The kamias and sampaloc are Mesa's 2 best sellers for the drinks. I only got to try the kamias shake, it was good but I was not able to finish it because it was sour and I'm on the lookout for my stomach because my gastritis was acting up since the day before. i like it though since I also love that sour taste like unripe mango.

Tofu Salad - soft bean curd topped with century egg and shrimp with sweet soy-based sauce. I must say this is my fa-vo-rite of all the items we got to try. It was something new to my palate - the combination of this "salad". Well, I have to be honest, I just have a love affair with century egg and tofu.

Tinapa Roll - flaked smoked fish with tomato onion and salted egg wrapped in lettuce.  Another item that is on top 5 from all that were served to us. I'm so Filipino that tinapa is one of the food that I would eat anytime. And paired with salted egg (another favorite of mine), complete nirvana. Eric Dee (one of the owners) also concocted for us a special sauce dip for the tinapa roll: chili plus sukang pinakurat which did complement well the tinapa roll. 

Hito Flakes On Spoon - crispy pulled catfish with mango salad. The crispy hito was good and not that oily, the green mango salad is a surprising twist to it.

Baby Squid In Olive Oil - sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with garlic and laurel.  This is a simple dish which is delicious as it is. i loved that it had lots of garlic.

Chicken Binakol Soup - chicken simmered in broth with young coconut and green papaya. To be honest, I'm not really a fan of soupy dish except for sinigang and I know some people will find this dish weird. What I like about it is that the coconut juice, where the chicken was simmered, didn't taste so much as coconut and only just a hint of it.

Crispy Boneless Tilapia - served with four sauces.  It was nice that the fish meat was cut into nuggets for ease of eating. It was crunchy, crispy and tasted great on its own already. My favorite dip among the 4 was the honey patis. 

Garlic Chicken - chicken tossed in honey garlic glazed. This is an original recipe of owner Eric Dee's grandmother and had Chinese flavor influence. Though it was glazed I loved that the chicken was still crispy. 

Laing 2 Ways - Taro leaves, pork, shrimp paste in coconut cream topped with adobo flakes served original and crispy. I am a fan of laing and I love both versions of this. 

Sigarilyas sa Gata - wing beans tossed in coconut milk with shrimp. I like anything with coconut cream, may it be a dish or a dessert. The sigarilyas wasn't that crunchy anymore but was still good, a nice alternative to ginataang sitaw because it has more texture. 

Duck Basil Fried Rice - stir fried with duck flakes, chili and basil. This as flavorful though I only ate a couple spoonfuls because I didn't want to get full and be able to enjoy all the other dishes. 

River Shrimp (Swahe) On The Rocks - fresh river shrimps cooked on Lava rocks with Mesa’s special sauce dip. This dish is such a treat to watch when it's being cooked in front of you, see the video below to see for yourself. The shrimps were fresh so it was tasty even without the soy-sauce dip.

Crispchon - served 2 way – wrapped in Pandan crepe, wansuy, cucumber, leek garnishes and sauces (Rikki’s choice, garlic mayo, sweet chili, spicy pork liver, wansuy infused and curry mustard). The one served to us was the 1/2 Cripchon. This was very delightful to eat and well worth the cost because you can eat it in 3 ways. First is pecking duck style rolled with pandan crepe and dipped in an array of sauces and then the second and third tossed in chili garlic and garlic. The pork used is a 16-week old pig massaged and marinated in milk (whoa!) so the meat was very soft, tender and tasty.

After it has been presented to us, the crew started their work on removing the crispy pork skin, chopping them uniform rectangles and wrapped in pandan crepe together with garnishing.

And what's left of the pork will be chopped, divided and cooked into two parts, the first part will be with chili garlic flavor and the other half with garlic flavor. 

chili garlic flavor
garlic flavor

I love the service of the crew at mesa Eastwood, they were attentive, helpful and always smiling. The price of the dishes is worth it for the quality and amount of the food that they serve. This food tasting event at Mesa, by the way, also served as Team Aldous' Christmas dinner. And if you can see the dinner was as festive as you would have in any Christmas Eve dinner. 

Mesa Filipino Moderne Cuisine
Eastwood Mall / Greenbelt 5 / Tomas Morato 
SM Megamall / Boracay Regency Beach Resort
SM Southmall / Ayala Center Cebu / Cagayan de Oro City
SM Lanang Premier Davao / Robinsons Magnolia
 Powerplant Mall, Rockwell
Contact Nos: Luzon: 0917-852-MESA Vis-Min: 0917-327-MESA

For more information and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Mesa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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  1. Looks really like a great place!
    Thank you for the pictures!
    Now Im so hungry!
    Wish you a Merry XMas!


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