Do you prefer classic comfort food? Or unique, adventurous food? Personally, I prefer the latter. I love trying new food, especially when it’s a re-invention of a classic food by a certain chef.
One of my favourite restaurants here in Manila is a place called Alab, although sadly, it’s not located nearby in Makati, it’s all the way in Quezon City! It’s still a part of the Metro, but Manila traffic is CRAZY and I’m not exaggerating at all. I was just lucky that some friends of mine here in Manila invited me to have lunch with them there, otherwise I would never even bother going there.
Alab is a Filipino restaurant that has a split menu. Half of the menu has classic Filipino dishes, while the other half has Filipino dishes with a more unique spin to it. It’s not exactly fusion, but it’s more of a re-invention of classic dishes that people already love.
Being adventurous, I decided to order the palabok negra which is palabok with squid ink and seafood instead of pork. Palabok is a local dish that typically comprises of glass noodles together with shrimp, pork, chicharon (fried pork fat), and egg. This one was a much healthier version, with squid ink, shrimp, squid, fish, and eggs. I love the normal palabok, but I’m not exactly a very big meat eater. In fact I prefer seafood over meat, so I actually preferred this version compared to the original version.
Another thing that Alab is famous for is their ice cream. They just make the weirdest ice cream flavours ever, and they surprisingly work! Can you imagine eating vegetable ice cream? Alab has that, and they taste great! We got to sample different flavours since we all ordered one different flavour each. I got the kamote q (caramelised sweet potato) since it’s one of their bestsellers, and I loved it! I was quite hesitant to order it at first because who wants to eat vegetable flavoured ice cream for dessert right? But I did and I did not regret it one bit! For some strange reason, the flavour really works well as ice cream. I don’t know how they did it exactly but they did it perfectly.
I really do hope they open a branch in Makati someday! At least they opened one in Taguig City (across Makati to the east; quite near but it still takes forever to go there due to the traffic), although it’s in the far off area and not so near to the central part of the city. I really can’t wait to go back some other time!
The three branches of Alab are located in:
67 Scout Rallos, near corner Tomas Morato, Quezon City
3/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave, Diliman, Quezon City
G/F Venice Grand Canal, Upper McKinley Rd, McKinley Hill, Taguig