Saturday, April 12, 2008

Out of this world

We’ve been remiss.

For an almost strictly MidMetMan * dweller like me, going to Ambos Mundos is like going to another world because it’s located in, well a side street off Recto. So it was really cool that fellow food blogger, Tish, got Issa and me to accompany her to this part of the Metro.

Yep, that is a pig at the entrance of the canteen.

Ambos Mundos, according to the photocopied news clippings slipped into the menu holder, has been around for a while. It’s primarily a Filipino comfort food eatery with a heavy Spanish influence (ambos does mean both). The ground floor is an open air cantina, where you order from their long list of rice toppings, among others. Upstairs is the airconditioned dining area.

Anyway, to the meal at hand, first to arrive was my drink, Cold Milo. This is probably my next favorite drink after cold milk tea. Which makes me wonder why I just don’t buy Milo and make it myself. Still, it was great, and complete with unmelted Milo bits.

Next up were the house specialties, Paella Ambos and the morcon. Paella Ambos is Paella With Everything On It. It had crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, chicken and pork. The small order (P390) was good enough for us hungry three. While they surely didn’t scrimp on the ingredients, I think I like mine to be of the more traditional Valencia type, including the toasted underside.

Not a cause for worry, because the rest of the viand were pretty good. Can’t remember having morcon (P227) before, but this roll of beef was tasty. And while I mistook those red tubes to be hotdogs, thankfully, it was real, good sausage.

We then had inihaw na liempo and torta crabmeat sa talukap. The liempo, normal and all, was my pick. It doesn’t quite go with the whole Spanish theme, but grilled pork (and toasted fat) was pretty good with their sweet and spicy sauce. I forget the price but one order should be good enough for two or three.

I sort of arm-twisted Issa into order the torta crabmeat because my lola used to make this exact dish and I wanted to compare. I’m happy to say that the Ambos Mundos version was up for the comparison. The crabmeat was tasty, and even if it was priced at P200 per, it was one fat, stuffed crabshell.
At the end of the meal, we got the ginataan and bibingka. The ginataan wasn’t exceptional and won’t even make this story. But the bibingka was pretty good. Interesting that they mix sesame seeds with the niyog and sugar. I like my kakanins and rice cakes, and this was awesome.
Incidentally, right across Ambos Mundos is what seems to be a famous Chinese resto / panciteria – Wah Sun (formerly known as Sun Wah, seriously). Carlos Celdran’s blog says that, way back, the families of each restaurant intermarried. Interesting twist to the whole “both worlds” idea. Anyway, the product of that marriage is the fact that you can now cross order dishes from either restos.
Sounds like this makes for another great reason to head out of MidMetMan (okay, annoying).

1. Ambos Mundos is on F. Torres St, Sta Cruz, Manila. Tel no is 733-1160.

2. We were given the heads up that parking might be difficult. We took the LRT2 line (from Gateway) and got off at the end, Recto. Get on the side of Isetan, head towards Rizal, cross it, and you’ll see F. Torres St on your left. For LRT1 line users, I think Doroteo Jose might be your stop. I think.

*Middle Metro Manila. My pauso term for the area within the triangle of the QC-San Juan border, Pasig and Makati. Also Taguig… so I guess we have to make that a rhombus