Again, by very fortunate circumstances I ended up at the grand launch party of Aracama Filipino Cuisine at the Fort. It’s where the old Embassy/Encore club used to be and I wouldn’t have ever thought the place would be revamped into a high-end, good-looking Filipino restaurant. When I got there the place was really busy and bustling with people, it seemed like the whole metro was in attendance. It didn’t take long before I spotted Karen and Mikka (thank you for inviting me!).
I was greeted by a table of some real classy fishball, sisig lumpia and bangus lumpia. The fishballs were mighty interesting because they weren’t the processed type you’d typically find for 10 bucks on the street. They bore a closer resemblance to fish fingers, just coated in a the familiar fishball batter. The sisig lumpia wasn’t such a hit in my opinion. I never like it when sisig feels wet and mushy and this was the case. On the other hand, the bangus hit the spot with its smokey flavor and was such a welcome contrast to the deep fried lumpia wrapper.
After having pica-pica, I darted to the buffet line. There was a wide selection of food. I ended up with crispy pata, kare-kare and soy rice. I thought it best not to photograph the entire buffet spread, noticing that most saucy Filipino food is tough to capture in an appetizing light. It always appeared brown on slosh-y brown in a chafing dish, which didn’t make for much variation in the color spectrum. Here’s a shot of my plate instead!
While my friends enjoyed the kare-kare, I found it bland. I made the brutal mistake of not getting bagoong in the first place because I didn’t see the dish where the bagoong was. Apparently it had chicharon on top and was mighty tasty which is how it made up for the blandness of the stewed beef. Next time. The lechon kawali was just alright, I didn’t understand the sauce. It was really thick and brown and didn’t taste like the average Mang Tomas. What was it? The bed of soy rice and the crispy pata were the winners in this round. I’ve been on the hunt for great crispy pata in Manila since I tried Baguio’s O Mai Kahn and I must say, this really hit the spot. The skin was VERY crispy and had the right fat and litid balance in every bite. The meat was tender and tasty as well which made for a stellar combo. This is how people should make crispy pata all the time.
I was quite full up after a whole plate of food so I moved on to grabbing a drink at the bar. Just so you know, I rarely drink alcoholic beverages. The name “Don Papa” just called out to me, it was something new I haven’t tried. Also, I thought it was cool when I found out it was locally made. Don Papa Rhum was exquisitely smooth and had a caramel like finish. I’m no drinker but this was easy to drink and was light on the belly.
There was a dirty ice cream cart in the middle of the place which pegged my curiosity. I found that the only contents were home-made Chocnut ice cream. I’ve always been a fan of the combination of chocolate and peanuts so of course, I was impressed. The ice cream was really rich as well. I hope this is something regular they serve. Too good to pass up.
I’d definitely go back to Aracama for some fine Filipino food. After the event, they let us take home Chef Fernando’s special Dulce de Gatas and my mom absolutely loved it. I wish I had more of that right now. I hope they serve it there.
Unit C, The Fort Entertainment Center,
Global City, Taguig
Phone: 519-6815 / 0917-8612702
Monday to Sunday, 11am to 2pm (Lunch) and 5pm to 2am (Dinner)