July 30, 2018

MESA Filipino Moderne Opens its 43rd Branch at SM Mall of Asia

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. But for whatever it is, 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. But I’m also always up for something new. Taking Filipino food to the next level by infusing some intermixture with other cuisines is a green light for me. After all, I heard it through the grapevine, that Filipino food is the next big thing.

It was the year 2006 when Lamesa Grill opened its first branch in SM Mall of Asia. During that time, the concept wanted to simply provide a Filipino version at those Japanese & Korean cook-on-your-table restaurants that were so popular then and serve authentic Filipino grill recipes. Many do not know that it was through Lamesa Grill that MESA Filipino Moderne was born three years later. What once was simple offshoot of Lamesa Grill in 2009 that aimed to bring in a different kind of dining experience to Filipinos, is now a 43-strong household name that continues to provide incomparable dining service, and a true embodiment of Filipino-with-a-twist in its interiors and food. 

Last July 26, MESA adds another location to their roster with the opening of its 43rd store in one of the top premiere malls in the country - SM Mall of Asia. Dubbed as one of the destinations for tourists and locals alike, mall-goers are now treatd to another great location where they can enjoy MESA’s freshly prepared dishes. 

Hi Anj! 😊

Inside MESA SM MOA’s doors is a dining area fit for 80 guests and an alfresco dining area for 30 guests. It lined with unique and eye-catching chairs with rattan accents, wood-finished tables, distinct lighting features, and other store details reminiscent of classic Filipino houses. The whole restaurant offers a homey and warm native vibe married with modern-industrial execution fit for enjoying all of MESA's dishes. 

I tagged along with my fellow foodies during the opening of MESA at SM MOA and we enjoyed a casual yet feast-ly dinner: 

Crab in Salted Egg - a whole crab smothered in our salted egg sauce. This huge crab was exquisite and you better have a platter of hot plain rice ready for this. The meat was subtly sweet and moist. The salted egg garlic sauce was just sinfully rich and presented a great array of flavors.

Salt-Crusted Apahap - Seabass baked in rock salt to preserve moisture in the fish. This dish is very unique and had an eye catching presentation. Servers will prep and de-bone it table-side for some added dining flare. The taste is simple but truly savory. 

River Shrimp (Swahe) On The Rocks - is a dazzling showstopper with its river shrimp cooked tableside on extremely hot 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. Everytime I dine at Mesa and order this, I always get excited watching the steam come out of the clay pot and I always make sure I get on video. I always love the fanfare that comes with this dish. The shrimps as always were fresh so it was tasty even without the soy-sauce dip. 

Crispchon - a juicy and flavorful rendition of suckling pig by MESA served in 2 ways (wrapped in Malunggay crepe or tossed in chili-garlic). Garnishes including wansuy, cucumber, leek and sauces (Rikki’s choice, garlic mayo, sweet chili, spicy pork liver, wansuy infused and curry mustard also comes with it. The one served to us was a full 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 using a 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 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 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. I love the 3 ways on how you can eat the Crispchon.

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 Mesa’s menu items. For first time eaters of this, it would for sure be something new to the palate. Well, I have to be honest, I just have a love affair with century egg and tofu that is why I love this pieces of heaven way too much.

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 called Sauce Number 5 for the tinapa roll: chili plus sukang pinakurat which did complement well the tinapa roll.

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.

Laing 2 Ways - taro leaves, pork, and 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. 

Tinapa Rice - stir fried rice tossed with smoked fish flakes topped with tomatoes and red salted egg. The rice is very tasty with generous bits of crushed tinapa. This is one of those moments that you can say “kanin pa lang ulam na!” It was an explosion of flavors in my mouth. Though it is already packed with flavor in itself, it was still good to combine in with the other savory dishes. 

Inihaw Sampler - grilled chicken leg quarter, squid, liempo, bangus belly, mussels, shrimps and pork BBQ. It's a real deal and basically all the good grilled things that everyone loves. Always a winner I must say. 

Lychee Cooler - real lychee fruits blended into a fresh concoction. I’ve tried most of the best-selling drinks at Mesa and this is the only left for me to give a shot and it did not disappoint. Loved it!

Crispy Leche Flan - slices of Filipino all-time favorite Leche Flan wrapped in rice paper then deep fried and served with caramel sauce. This is one of Mesa’s best-selling desserts I couldn’t agree more. It has all the goodness and sweetness of turon and also my fave leche flan. 

Pandan Macapuno Rumble - buco pandan using shredded young coconut meat topped with crispy cereals. A Filipino classic dessert with the added crunch and texture of the cereals. 

As always, the service at Mesa was fab, I want to give a S/O to our server but I forgot his name. He was pretty attentive and greatly helped us with our choices. Mesa is one of those homegrown restaurants that I will always come back to especially that I can find them almost in every district with 43 stores nationwide to be exact. With its extensive menu, there is always something new try that I haven’t eaten yet (because I would usually stick to my Mesa favorites). Mesa Filipino Moderne is without question, a force of Filipino flavors with a flurry of modern and traditional taste.

G/F North Wing, Entertainment Mall
SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Philippines
Website: www.mesa.ph
Contact Nos: 0917-852-MESA 
Facebook: facebook.com/MesaPH
Instagram: instagram.com/MesaFilipinoModerne
Twitter: twitter.com/MesaPhilippines

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

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