I don’t get a lot of chance to get out of Valenzuela these days so when opportunities to temporarily make an exit present themselves, my natural reaction is to grab them. Which is exactly what is happening this weekend. It’s been a whirlwind the past couple of weeks, so Johann and I just sort of talk about going somewhere to unwind. We settle on Kapitolyo, where I’ve long planned to go, and choose Silantro among three prospects, in large part because it’s been on my plan for so long and I just want to get it out of my system. Not to mention that I’ve been reading good things about the restaurant.
Kapitolyo feels like a busier Maginhawa Street and has a more young professional energy compared to the university atmosphere of the latter. The Pasig neighborhood has become a cult hit among “food-trippers,” drawing a lot of online buzz for its wide array of restaurants. One of the most well-known is Silantro, a cantina that was born in Dagupan City, but became so popular that it found its way to Metro Manila. It’s now one of the most prominent establishments in the area that it’s not uncommon for lines to form on weekends.
Not that the long wait is a totally unpleasant experience. As with Maginhawa Street, an unsophisticated vibe permeates the surroundings and the casual atmosphere, coupled with the warm afternoon sun begs for a lengthy stay. If you’re not a fan of the sun, though, there are tables inside the air-conditioned room.
The restaurant, which borrows its name from the herb used prominently in Mexican cooking, features the usual Tex-Mex fares, but done with Filipino twists. The brainchild of Chot Sanchez and Paolo De Venecia, Silantro entered the city’s gastro-universe with a cordial welcome. Its dishes are wallet-friendly at around PHP 200 and portions are generous.
Due to our limited budgets, Johann and I keep ourselves to the appetizer side of the menu. We go ahead and order the beef nachos. We are later confronted with a huge plateful of the chips drowning in cheese sauce and beef strips, with – wait for it – cilantro sprinkled on top. It’s worth noting that the beef is of the Angus variety. It’s exactly the kind of oversized serving of carbs and fats that soothes weekend blues, especially when partnered with the trio of sauces (hot sauce, sour cream and cucumber guacamole) served beforehand.
We then order the burrito, with ample portions of rice, beef and lengua wrapped by a large tortilla. The meat is tender and flavorful, though admittedly, I still dream of the lomo saltado at Brasas. But Johann takes his first bite, and it seems as he has arrived in paradise despite his incessant complaints earlier about the afternoon heat. I get to work eating the other half myself, and we both eat in silence until it’s time to get the check.
Yep. We’re going to explore this neighborhood again.
Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina
75 East Capitol Drive,
Kapitolyo, Pasig City
(02) 654 9657