Sarsa Kitchen + Bar

11:47:00 AM

I had been to Sarsa Kitchen + Bar for the first time over a month ago with friends from my magazine stint. The place was recommended by Jona, who works for a blog advertising agency, for both quality and affordability of the food. We had dinner with Misha, who is still with the magazine, and Denise, who is now with a production company.

While the lengthy introduction on my friends and what they do may have made it sound like it had been a serious meeting of sorts, in reality it was anything but. In our previous life, we were used to being in front of so much food but it's usually suhol for overnight toil. It's just nice to be able to sit down and have a proper meal with these guys again, without having to talk about work.

Getting introduced to Sarsa came at an “opportune” time, as I had been feeling a weeklong craving for inasal and none of the choices at McKinley had been satisfying. Looking back, I can’t help but think baka pine-prepare ako for this moment – you know, hindi naman madaling hanapin ang “the one”. Parang pag-ibig lang.

And before that last thought leads to anything...onto the food!

The Inasal (P165) in question was firm and tasty, with flavors reaching skin-deep. You can do with or without squeezing the lemon; it’s juicy either way. Sarsa’s serving is just relatively smaller than more popular choices, but obviously healthier and, if I may be quick to jump to conclusions, closer to home.

I wasn't able to take photos of what everyone else had, but I'll take you through it quickly. Denise, who was down with the flu that day, ordered Sarsa Batchoy (P170) which we all loved. She wasn't a fan of the noodle they used (lomi, I think) but her complaints were met with our collective disagreement. Jona had Crispy Tilapia (P245) and Misha went for Thin-Cut Liempo (P225) - I tried neither but they seem satisfied naman.

For dessert, we chose Sarsa’s Banana Tsokolate Turon (P80), which came with a (tsok)nutty flavor. I had imagined something close to hazelnut or the Belgian kind - needless to say, I wasn't a fan. That there seem to have been more langka in there than banana threw me off a bit as well.

But their Inasal was enough reason for me to come back, so much so that a few weeks later when Jayvie of our TK group tried to round everyone up for dinner, the suggestion for a second trip (at least for me) came easy!

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar | Awesome in Manila

Jayvie was very easy to convince, largely for his excitement on discovering that Sarsa is by Chef JP Anglo who is more popularly known as a judge for the Philippine edition of Master Chef. Having close to no time (or interest) for TV, of course I did not know who he is. But I have done my “research” and I must say I’m quite impressed at how accommodating he is to diners. Anais and I were egging Jayvie to have a picture taken with Chef Jayps but he put on his pa-shy face that day so, never mind!

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar | Awesome in Manila

Looking through the menu, there were many dishes we wanted to try. However, our budgets (and my appetite) are tight kaya we decided to share na lang.

Anais was fixed on getting Lechon Kawali with Batwan Tsokolate and Pinakurat (P250). Most lechon kawali I’ve tried were either too fatty or too dry or too salty, which wasn’t the case with Sarsa’s offering. Taste-wise, I wouldn’t have it alone. Personally, I think it’s best eaten with pinakurat, as the tsokolate dip (a little spicy) is an acquired taste.

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar | Awesome in Manila

I would probably order their Sizzling Bangus ala Pobre (P295) again. It is served with batwan gravy, which is great to pair. You can taste that the marinade did its job. I’ve had bangus dishes that relied solely on the sahog, but I like my milkfish sourly glorified. And sprinkled with chives. CHIVES. :>

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar | Awesome in Manila

I’m crazy in love with their Ginamos Rice (P55). It was very flavorsome, not at all salty. That little drop of ginamos (bagoong) on top is deceiving. It was more than enough to amplify the ginamos-ness of that seemingly tiny cup of rice. Some would tell you to pass on flavored rice to better appreciate everything else on the table, and while I understand where they’re coming from, I am boldly declaring this as an exception. Naysayers can shut it and eat bagoong! #mayfeelings

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar | Awesome in Manila

I can’t say I feel the same about their Mango Jubilee (P120) – not because it’s crap, but for its price, I expected something more than (heavenly) vanilla ice cream and mango syrup.

A third visit is definitely in the books, kasama na lang kulang! I am curious about Sarsa's Sizzling Kansi, as it seems to be a favorite among local food bloggers. One of Jayvie's friends even commented on a photo shared on Facebook asking if we tried it. It must be really good then!

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
Unit 1-7 Forum South Global,
Federacion Drive cor 7th Ave
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

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