Abe is a restaurant I have heard so much about. It was one of the last restaurants opened by Larry Cruz before his death in 2008. Larry was the first Filipino restaurant guru with his original concepts like Cafe Adriatico (1979) and Cafe Havana who then went on to own eighteen restaurants. Abe was named after his father, the prominent writer E. Aguilar Cruz and showcases Kapampangan food from Pampanga, a province in Luzon, known for it’s regional cuisine.
It was difficult to book a large table at Abe but we managed to get a reservation that evening. There were eight of us for dinner which was great as we could order many different dishes to share “family-style” as Filipinos do. We sat down to a very full restaurant. It was so packed and noisy that we could hardly hear each other speak. There was a bowl of burong mangga (pickled sliced green mango) which we dug into while deciding what to order.
We started out with some lumpia (fried vegetable spring rolls) for the kids then all the food started to be served: sugpo sa aligue ng talangka (prawns cooked in crab fat), Binukadkad na plapla (deep-fried butterflied Tilapia), gising-gising a.k.a.”wakey-wakey” is a cheeky name for a plateful of chopped green chilies simmered in coconut milk, crispy tadyang (fried beef short-ribs), pinakbet (a local ratatouille of bitter melon, aubergine, okra and squash cooked in salty bagoong – fermented shrimp paste). All this accompanied by bamboo rice – brown mountain rice with bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms, and shrimps steamed inside a bamboo shell.
The food was authentic and original and I really enjoyed the different dishes we ordered especially the crispy tadyang which brought me back to high-school days and many meals at Bistro Remedios in Malate, one of Larry Cruz’s first restaurants. It was too bad that the meal went too quickly and the noise in the restaurant was almost unbearable. It was so noisy that we couldn’t even chat over dinner.
After a dessert of fried suman (sweet rice cake) which we dipped into the accompanying chocolate eh (thick Spanish-style hot chocolate usually served with churros) which we all shared, we paid the bill and stepped outside where it was much more quiet. Next time maybe we should brave the heat and dine al fresco where we could have a delicious dinner with some kind of conversation.
Serendra, Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila
Telephone: +63 2 856 0526
Open daily for lunch and dinner