February 2, 2018

Blackport Café: The Newest Travel-Themed Dining Destination

You know what people say, food and travel, they always go together, like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, peaches and cream or chicken and gravy. With travelling, the gastronomic experience is very essential. Why? Besides experiencing the local culture (a huge part of travelling) trying local and traditional food relative to certain region is largely connected with that cultural experience. It’s always safe to say that food and drinks are so intertwined into cultural traditions. Moreover, food awakens all our senses: we smell, taste, touch, see and listen (while it’s being cooked) the food. We are in an amplified state of being whenever we are dealing with food, so it’s just logical that experiencing food while on travel increases the memories that we build along the journey.

Personally, whenever I travel, I’ve found food to be one of the deciding factors when choosing a new place to visit. My first agenda when researching about a particular destination is always where to eat or where to find the best restaurant that offers the best cuisine inhabitant to the place. I know, I have such an insatiable appetite and I am not ashamed of that. Haha! Do you ever get that feeling of nostalgia whenever you eat something, and it reminds you of a place you visited? I always feel that way. 

Speaking of being nostalgic, I just reckoned when I visited Bangkok, Thailand recently. One of the local delicacies that I was super excited to try is the Mango Sticky Rice. After a whole day of touring temples around Bangkok, we stopped by MBK Center to look around and get some late lunch grub. There was a food bazaar with a lot of stalls offering local (and street) food, I immediately looked for the Mango Sticky Rice. When I finally sat down with my friends to start eating, I put down everything, opened the plastic box of the mango sticky rice and ate that first before my meal. I was almost in tears (I’m not joking) when I finally got to taste it, man… IT.WAS.SO.GOOD!


You see how food greatly influence travelling? That experience of mine with Mango Sticky Rice will stick (no pun intended hehe) with me for the rest of my life! I will always include that moment whenever I relate my Bangkok experience and I will never look at sticky rice the same way ever again… I know I’m not the only one who holds the same opinion about food and travelling. Take it from two of the veteran travel bloggers/influencers in the Philippines: Kirk Acebron of Kirk Anatomy and Atty. Mark Estur of Lakwatserong Tsinelas, who recently opened a joint venture to share with people their love for food and travel. 

Blackport Café, situated at 51 Scout Rallos, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, is the newest travel-themed dining destination in the metro. At Blackport, you’ll experience a culinary journey, as the brains behind this establishment share their travels and journeys to guests, thru a gastronomic experience on some of the countries they have visited, both domestic and international.  They envision the establishment to be a destination, for those who love to travel, and for those who are thinking of going on their first trip.  It serves as a rendezvous where travelers get to share their stories, plan their next itineraries and for families and friends to bond over a sumptuous meal.

The restaurant is a cozy place great for hang-out with friends and families. Its quaint wood, brick, brown and black interiors is designed with personal memorabilia from both Kirk’s and Mark’s travels from around the world. From books, to miniatures of well-known landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower, Statue of Liberty etc.), to a wooden boat décor from Maldives, to Kirk’s personal mask collection that adorn the walls of the resto. Their little menus are even placed in leather passport holders, clever right?  Oh and definitely worth-it for your Instagram posts. 

Blackport’s menu items feature spices and sauces that are a result of these travels with specialty pasta, burger and pizza served in black. Yes, you read that right! Black! As in black brioche burger buns, black pasta noodles and black flatbread for the pizzas – an ode to the name of the resto. 

Here are the items that we got to try at Blackport Café: 

Pita Bread with Hummus Dip - this is served complimentary while you wait for your orders. I like that their hummus has texture unlike the ones I've tried already that are usually mashed garbanzos beans and quite mushy. There's also a savoury after-taste to it as was noticed by one of my friends Paola.  

Chili Fries - crispy potato fries topped with ground beef, chili con carne, pico de gallo and cheese sauce. The fries are well-fried and not that greasy. The toppings will remind you of Mexican flavors and generously covers almost all the fries which is great thus no worries of bare fries at the bottom. 

Korean Gochujang Wings - six pieces Gochujang-glazed chicken wings. This is my favorite of all the chicken wings that we tried at Blackport. Started to have a penchant for Korean food lately, I think these wings embody the Korean flavors that I like. The sauce has all the goodness of being savory, sweet, tangy and spicy. I also love how the spiciness is just right for my liking. A must-try!

Classic Buffalo Wings - six pieces chicken wings glazed in classic buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. Nothing beats the classic! They are nicely and well-done deep fried down to the bones. The sauce had a nice bite to them, and a spiciness that lingered. If you like your wings hot then this is your go-to wings at Blackport.

Japanese Teriyaki Wings - - six pieces Japanese-style wings glazed in teriyaki sauce. I can't even begin to explain how much I love Japananese cuisine and these wings totally delivered! A classic Japanese flavor infused in chicken wings, heck yeah! Here take my money as I'm all for it! They had great aroma, and a ton of flavor and those sesame seeds gives you bursts of flavor every time you bite into them. This has got to be my second favorite flavor of chicken wings at Blackport.

Mexican Nachos - nacho chips topped with ground beef chili con carne, pico de gallo and cheese sauce. This was very satiating because of colorful it is and it quite stays true to its Tex-Mex flavor. The green and red nacho chips also represents the color of the Mexican flag right? The toppings is generous and the cheese dip was yummy and cheesy. These nachos are definitely good pair with Blackport's ample range of local and international beers.

Sicilian Polpette - pasta topped with beef meatballs with Pomodoro sauce, Parmesan cheese and basil. Polpette is the Italian word for meatballs, but unlike your typical, usually American, meatballs, this variety is on the sweet and sour side. Some people like their pasta true to the Italian flavor of just pure plain tomato sweet and sour sauce, this is the perfect variety for you. The sauce is simple yet very earthy while the meatballs are cooked-well and with all that beefy good flavor.

Blackport Carbonara - creamy black pasta topped with bacon bits, parsley, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and comes with a serving of garlic bread. This is Blackport’s signature dish using black-colored pasta, another ode to the resto’s name. I have to say, I’m quite biased with pasta in oil and cream. Sorry, not sorry, but this pasta took my heart away. The pasta is firm and the sauce is yummy and creamy.

Filipino Puttanesca - pasta on Filipino-style Puttanesca sauce with black olives, basil and fermented fish or bagoong na isda; this comes with a serving of garlic bread. A different take to a usual Italian pasta sauce variety as this incorporates Filipino flavors using bagoong. Don’t be afraid though, the fermented fish flavor is subtle and just gives you enough saltiness to balance out the tangy tomato flavor.

Italian Parmigiana Pasta - pasta topped with chicken wings, parsley, parmesan cheese and Pomodoro sauce. This pasta dish gives you what your money is worth as this is perfect for the ones with a great appetite (like me haha!) You have here all the goodness of succulent breaded chicken wings. The sauce has this classic Italian flavor – bold and tasty, that I easily fell in love with. 

Margherita Pizza - New York style twelve-inch black crust yeasted flatbread in Pomodoro sauce, topped with Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and tomatoes. These pizzas are the crowning glory of Blackport and I’m pretty sure these will be the smash hits of this resto. First off, the crust is colored black, not that it is burned but it is really its color, something distinctive to Blackport. You know when you think of pizza with black crust you’ll easily say “that’s from Blackport!” Now this margherita variety is all that you really need and want in your pizza. Basic cheese, tomato and basil but packed with all the earthy goodness and aroma to satisfy your pizza cravings. 

All-Meat Pizza - twelve-inch black crust yeasted flatbread in Pomodoro sauce, Mozzarella cheese, topped with bacon, Italian sausage and pepperoni. If you’re a meat lover like me, this is your pizza flavor. Ooohhh, all those meat, they harmonize deliciously!

Four Cheese Pizza - Italian Quattro Formaggi twelve-inch black crust yeasted flatbread topped with Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar and Bleu cheeses. This has got to be my favorite of all the pizzas we’ve tried at Blackport. Very simple, nothing fancy, just cheeses. Oh no wait! It’s fancy because it’s got Bleu cheese - which I looove! The cheeses are generously topped all over Blackport’s signature soft and crunchy (at the same time) flatbread. It is surprisingly light with a flavor punch that comes from the Bleu cheese. I’m a hands-down cheese lover and I enjoyed every bite of this. Every time I sink my teeth on this, man, it’s just like I’m being sent to cheese heaven! Haha, sorry, I was just imagining I’m eating it all over again. Oh I can't wait to eat it again!

Taco Mexican Pizza - twelve-inch black crust yeasted flatbread topped with chopped lettuce, chili con carne, cheddar and Mozzarella cheese. A different spin to the usual pizza utilizing toppings usually what you would find on top of your nachos. it has good dough and good sauce. If you’re up for some truly Mexican flavors, you got to try this one out!

Japanese Burger - ground beef patty topped with Kani, Japanese mayo, Teriyaki sauce and black sesame seeds. Sandwiched with lettuce, tomato and cheese on a special soft black bun. This comes with a serving of thinly sliced crisp potato wedges and dip. A complete meal with a distinct Japanese flare. A quintessential fusion dish that will surely tantalize your taste buds. The burger patty has bold flavors, juicy and tender. I just love the combination of Kani and Japanese mayo adding teriyaki sauce to it kinda reminds me of my favorite okonomiyaki. It’s very unique and I like it. 

Indian Burger -  ground beef patty topped with curried caramelized onion, sandwiched with lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and mayo on a special soft brioche black bun. This comes with a serving of thinly sliced crisp potato wedges and aioli dip. If you’re tired of the usual fast-food burger and want a reimagination or something with an unexpected ingredient combos, this Indian burger will serve you exactly that. The burst of flavor, especially the curry is something extraordinary. If I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of this cuisine, but I love trying something new and this burger delivered me that. 

Biryani Rice Indian-style Biryani rice topped with garlic, coriander, tomato slices,caramelized onion and fried chicken. TBH, I'm not really a fan of Indian food, but I was able to try this and it was actually good. The spices were on point and a bit hot. I can eat this for sure as the Indian-cuisine flavors are not that strong.

Crispy Pork Liempocrispy fried liempo chopped in cubes and served with vinegar dip. This is outright one of the best entries on Blackport's menu that will go very very well with beer and other alcoholic drinks. It's very crispy, crunchy and had the the right amount of saltiness. Also, this is more like the chicharrón version than the soft and tender counterpart lechon kawali. 

Cookies and Cream Milkshake - this your good ‘ol crushed cookies, whipped cream, milk and chocolate syrup. This tasted something like a Sunday summer afternoon during your younger years. ;-) 

Strawberry Basil Tea Shake - like I said a while back, I like trying something new and the combination of strawberry and basil is something unusual to me, thus I ordered this. Thank goodness, it didn’t disappoint! The basil added a nice subtle peppery, sweet and aromatic flavor to the sweet and sour taste of the blended strawberries. Btw, they also have unique shake combos that you must try like mango + basil and/or guava + basil. 

Blackport opens at 5:00 pm am and closes its doors at 12mn. By nightfall, it becomes an ideal space to hang out and have a few drinks.  The owners’ goal is to serve beer from around the world and at the moment, along with Blackport Cafe’s selection of cocktails and mocktails, known brands from South America, East Asia and of course the Philippines are some of the best sellers. 

So, what about you guys? Do you eat local when you travel? What are the most awesome food you’ve discovered or tried so far and makes you remember that destination? I hope in some way you’ll share it with much enthusiasm, after all, just like what Ibn Battuta said: “Travelling, it leaves you speechless then turns you into a story-teller”. 

51-B Scout Rallos St, Tomas Morato
Bgy Laging Handa, Quezon City
Facebook: facebook.com/blackportph
Instagram: instagram.com/blackportph

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

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