Me and my wife have been to the new foodie hub UP Town Center quite a number of times already. Katipunan is familiar place since I graduated from nearby UP Diliman.
Our first visit was in Ginza Bairin while the second one was in a Greek restaurant called Kos Greek. So when Seats For Two was invited by Pinác to try their Kapampangan dishes, our tastebuds were excited to travel a little north. 🙂
Pinac is located at the second floor of the UP Town Center. The restaurant interior has a neat take on classic Filipino design native to Pampanga down to the chairs and tables.
Kapampangan lunch is served! Before going on with the mains, we had one of their specialty dishes and 2 salad variety for starters.
Pinác got us on first bite as we started with a boom with their specialty dish called Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro (P235). It looks really simple with 5 pieces of Crispy Hito Balls (catfish). But what made it special is when you combined it with all the other ingredients including the ‘buro‘. Buro is Filipino for “fermented fish“. You dip the catfish balls in buro, wrap it with mustard leaves, and enjoy! 🙂
It was followed by the salad duo Fried Kesong Puti Ensalada (P145) and Ensladang Pako with Fried Itik Floss (P125). The former is your basic mixed green salad but includes kesong puti balls and bagoong vinaigrette.The latter is a bit more exotic as the Fiddle Fern with salted egg , green mangoes, cucumber, and tomatoes, is topped with deep fried “itik” floss. It is then served with Pinac vinaigrette.
Both were good but I liked the Ensladang Pako more because of the added texture care of the itik floss. 🙂
Starting with the right appetizers, wifey and I were in high expectations for the main dishes. And we were not disappointed.
First in line was the famous Kapampangan Paella also known as Bringhe (P345). With a glutinous rice base, gata and chicken is mixed with it cooked in banana leaves-lined skillets. It was a refreshing take on the common paella.
Next came the gigantic Crispy Pata (P645). Pinac’s Crispy Pata (pork knuckle) is poached with secret ingredients for at least six (6) hours and then deep fried to achieve the signature crispiness of the dish.
With UP Town Center being surrounded by offices and schools, Pinac thought of catering to the students and regular employees as well who looks for quick-serving but quality food that is still easy on the pocket.
So Pinac came up with no-fuss meals that come with a serving of rice. In this category, we tried the Beef Salpicao (P275) and Lengua (P285). My wife and I shared an order of both. The Beef Salpicao came in beef tenderloin cubes with butter, Worcestershire, plus garlic rice and pan roasted vegetables on the side. The Lengua (braised ox tongue) came with shitake sauce, garlic rice, and mixed vegetables, as well.
Cooked just right and full to the flavor, we fell in love with both.
More Capampangan Cusine
We can say we were already full by this time but I think we were only halfway through the menu tasting. :)For me, this next dish is the highlight of this gathering – the Prawn Thermidor.
The visually appealing Prawn Thermidor (P395) offers roughly chopped prawns topped with mushrooms and cream sauce served with a side salad. It’s so good I think it should be priced more. 🙂 lol
Somewhere along the sequence of serving the main dishes, we had the Lumpiang Ubod Taquitos (P185). I’m featuring this last because I want you to remember it.
Lumpiang Ubod is a common dish in Filipino restaurants but I’m loving Pinac‘s Lumpiang Ubod Taquitosis for its modern twist as it is also mixed with shrimp and shitake lying on top of fried crispy wontons and finally drizzled with light peanut sauce.
The combination mixed well with the taste of all the ingredients. It is highly recommended by Seats For Two.
To end the good and filling meal with a boost of sugar. we had Calamansi Panna Cotta and Turon with Dulce De Leche (P120), the endearing Dulce De Leche Cheeesecake (P195), and the Brazo De Mais at Salabat (P185). The last one is a merigued filled with creamy custard. The ginger tea that came with it properly cleansed our palate.
On a last note, the Cucumber Mint Dalandan (P85) beverage was a refreshing treat which accompanied us in this gastronomic journey.
Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine
2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave.,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines