We may enjoy the pleasures that haute cuisine and international fares bring, but nothing satisfies better than authentic Pinoy food

A modern approach to the classics
A visit to the recently opened branch of Sentro 1771 in Serendra Piazza brings with it plenty of interesting discoveries; and no dish will ever bring as much astonishment and wonder as its best-selling Sinigang na Corned Beef. The menu invokes—”You’ve got to try it to believe it!”—and indeed, every lip-smacking bite of the boneless shanks of corned beef short ribs stewed in tamarind broth and vegetables will make you a believer. This is just one among the wide selection of modernized Filipino cuisine crafted by Chef Vicky Pacheco, the executive chef of the Chateau Group of Restaurants.

Sentro 1771 prides itself on transforming familiar homegrown flavors into exotic discoveries and has reinvented many of our much-loved family recipes. Of course, if you are craving for something closer to home, the quintessential kare kare and home-style chicken adobo is also part of the menu. Chef Pacheco’s flair for the modern, however, is evident in the Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls, which looks pretty cosmopolitan with the only Pinoy element being the traditional lumpia wrapper; however, a bite into its medley of tinapang bangus, itlog na maalat, mustasa, onions and tomatoes brings familiar, heartwarming flavors that call to mind lutong bahay. Filipino cuisine, noted for its sour element, is best interpreted in the Tomato Kesong Puti Salad—freshly sliced and skinned tomato with fried kesong puti, drizzled with tangy tomato-anchovy dressing.

Modern marries the classic even in Sentro 1771’s desserts. Its best-selling no-crust Sentro’s Cheesecake, served with queso de bola and itlog na maalat, is reminiscent of the traditional bibingka. Another timeless Pinoy delicacy undergoing a Sentro renaissance is the maja blanca—here, the melt-in-your-mouth coconut milk custard is served in delicate thin rice crepes, and it comes out as a perfect fusion of culinary innovation and the familiar.

Cap off the meal with a bot of freshly brewed coffee or Sentro’s refreshing fruit duos while basking in the restaurant’s cozy ambience. Jing Turalba artworks acquired by the owner make for striking conversation pieces set against cheery sunflower walls, while the high ceiling gives the place a warm and airy feel that sets it apart from restaurants within the vicinity. Designed with the Filipino family in mind, Sentro has become a much-loved destination among locals, tourists and balikbayans. And with recent expansions that include exclusive function rooms that house 20 to 25 people, Sentro makes for the ideal venue for a business meeting, family gathering or birthday celebration.

Sentro 1771 has two branches: Serendra Piazza, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (tel. no. (2) 856 0581) and in Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City (tel. no. (2) 757 3940).

Published in HIPP Magazine’s November 2009 issue.