Friday, July 18, 2014

Cafe Via Mare: Rediscovering Filipino Cuisine at GT Toyota Katipunan

          Crispy Bacon Salad

I took up Oral Discourse in English at the University of the Philippines-Diliman as part of my post-grad experiment. Of course, at the time I was fresh out of college and I was trying to look at my options then. I took the said extramural course to keep me from being bored as I was then looking for work. So much had changed in a span of eleven years--even our fave hangout place called The Beach House (a small carenderia/eatery) recently closed down. But at the same time, there were lots of new establishments within the area, including GT Toyota in Asian Studies Building. This is where I've found Cafe Via Mare--located right inside the GT Toyota Compound. 

Just like other restaurants owned by Via Mare, Cafe Via Mare also had that chic, cozy ambiance. Expect to see families, entrepreneurs, colleagues, students and even runners to converse in between meals at Cafe Via Mare or to sip their favorite cup of coffee in the morning. I went there originally to cover an event, but I felt the need to commend Cafe Via Mare for the sumptuous Filipino Cuisine that they had served on our table that lunchtime. We've had sinfully filling Crispy Bacon Salad as appetizer. I couldn't decipher if it was something healthy or sinful because the crispy bacon strips were on topped of a salad of greens, with shallots, herbs and tomatoes on vinaigrette dressing. Nevertheless, it was delicious and sort of an initial exercise for your palates and indeed a good choice for an appetizer. 

       Salted Eggs Fried Rice

Cafe Via Mare served us with a special Fried Rice which had minced meat, spring onions, salted eggs and tomatoes. It reminds me of the Chinese's Yang Chow Fried rice. Only this time, the fried rice was made with a Pinoy twist--that of putting salted eggs on it. Personally, I don't like salted eggs, but Cafe Via Mare made me love the fact that salted eggs on their special fried rice perfectly complements all the dishes that we were served. 


When one speaks of Filipino cuisine, Kare-kare should never be missed. I am amazed that Cafe Via Mare didn't used any "short cuts" in cooking this dish. I mean, they didn't use any "instant sauce mix", but rather used mortar and pestle instead to pound peanuts and then turned them into a paste. Kare-kare's made of ox tail in creamy peanut buttery sauce with vegetables like eggplant, banana heart, and string beans, among others. It is served with fish paste (popularly known by locals as Bagoong). The ox tail 's really soft, almost melt-in-your-mouth and the peanut butter goes well with it. 

                Crispy Pata

Another deliciously sinful and tempting was the Crispy Pata--served with its soy and vinegar based sauce, it's definitely worth trying out for. A word of caution though, it could be addicting but let's eat in moderate amount, unless you might wanna end up in the hospital. Of course, you have to eat these with extra caution, eat in moderation.

           Fried Fish Tilapia

We also had fried fish tilapia served with mango side salad. The fish was made crispy and crunchy with the fried batter. And it goes well with the mango strips with it. It adds a rather tangy, somewhat sweet after taste. 

 Creamy Coconut Rice Cake with Mango Slices and Sesame Seeds

Capping off such a sumptuous yet sinful meal, we were served with Creamy Coconut Rice Cake with Mango Slices and Sesame Seeds. This dessert had some syrup on the side. It tastes so good that only a few minutes after it's served, it's gone already! The creaminess and natural sweetness of coconut plus the presence of sesame seeds adds flavor to this dessert along with the syrup. Think of the Filipino merienda favorite "palitaw" or "biko" mixed with ripened mango and "latik" syrup made from brown/Muscovado sugar. 

Overall, I'd recommend going to Cafe Via Mare for the great ambiance and good food. Although it's somewhat secluded from all the commercial establishments along Katipunan Road, still I'd say it's worth checking out for. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Unknown said...

I love dining there!

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