Nestled along Timog Avenue in Quezon City is this thematic Ilocano bistro and newest restaurant called Comida Ilocandia. A brainchild of a fashion designer turned chef, Mr. Danny de la Cuesta and his four close friends and business partner which is almost a month-old. One Sunday evening, yours truly was fortunately invited to try this place with its famous Ilocano slow cooked recipes at easy on the pocket prices. If I were to ask pointblank of there is a restaurant here in Manila that offers Ilocano food and delicacies, there is only one thing in my mind and that is Mangan. And now there is another addition to the list and this is definitely Comida Ilocandia. I was deeply excited to have dinner with the owner along with co-bloggers after having had an indulgence in traditional Ilocano massage at the neighboring wellness center named Spaoay, which is also a business of Chef Danny and friends. My Father was actually born and raised from La Union, Ilocos region, making me all the more excited with what this place can uniquely offer. Who would say no to bagnet, pinakbet, tinuno, Vigan logganisa and other Ilocos specialties most especially if they are being offered at decent prices and accessible venue?
A bucket of freshly-baked Pan de Sal with spread was served to keep us busy munching while waiting for our bento meals. As per Chef Danny, the recipe used in making this bread is an age-old one which came from her great grand parents. It was a bit heavy and has a good taste and far from what I normally eat and my mama regularly buy from nearby panaderia. I felt the comfort it brings as the rain intermittently pour that evening.
Next landed on our table were glasses of Champola, a signature drink made with guyabano or guava with pinya sparkler. I do not remember having had this drink before even if I have a pure blooded Ilocono father. Maybe he forgot to introduce this to our family. I cannot really tell or I am just this forgetful :( Taste was different and fruity and yes delicious! Can be served alcoholic or non-alcoholic
Bento Meal Special (side view) PhP250
Bento Meal Special (top view)
We were given freewill to choose whatever we desire from the menu but we simply kept it to those dishes which we can truly enjoy, though some are new and some are old to us. Our group preferred no other than Ilocandia's heritage dishes. Above you can see a bento box filled with five kinds of dishes plus a liter of Champola beverage in the middle. Thus, we had a combination of Bagnet (a version of lechon kawali), Adobo (dry but very tasty), Vigan Longganisa (fatty, juicy and salty at the same time), Tinuno (bite sizes grilled chunks of meat) and small platter of salsa (pickled pipino slices). This meal is already good for two and partnered with unlimited rice. By the way, you can choose whatever 1 liter drink you like from Pandan Iced Tea, Champola, Horchata, Rice Iced Mik Tea, Guave Green Tea, ango Ginger Iced Tea, Dalandan Skush, Long Island or Sangrai. You surely can't get enough of Ilocos cuisine here. Right now, I kinda miss dining there while it is raining cats and dogs.
Chef Danny de la Cuesta as he is so honored to let us try his very own mix of Basi, a local beverage of Ilocos. It is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is made from sugarcane. I instantly remember the Basi Festival in La Union and how everyone got drunk with their very well accessible local liquor. Though I am a self-confessed teetotaler I still managed to take a sip of this well-kown Ilocos beverage. I was enthralled as it was some kind of a slush and it was really really strong and something that I cannot withstand. It seemed refreshing yet easily get intoxicated with this alcoholic liquor.
Just so you know, Comida Ilocandia sells Inartem or drunken fruits, something that is not so peculiar to Ilocanos. They have it as Pickled Mango, Pickled Pipino, Pickled Labanos and Pickled Singkamas and being sold at PhP100 per bottle. Each blogger were given a bottle which is currently enjoyed by my parents and brothers.
33-D Timog Ave., Quezon City.