My first evening back home and as usual, I was craving for Filipino food but just wanted to have a quick and simple meal. After asking around, we were told to go to the main Rustan’s supermarket, where the old Le Gourmet restaurant right by the entrance used to be, and try their one-year old renovated restaurant Benny’s. Named after Rustan’s founder Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., Benny’s is a simple place serving Filipino classic dishes and all-time favorites.
We were not disappointed with the choices in the menu and had a hard time deciding which to order as there were only two of us for dinner. Finally, we settled on sharing the crispy tadyang (beef short ribs), sugpo sa gata (prawns in coconut milk) and their Pinakbet rice. We also ordered some fresh fruit shakes – pure fruit juice and ice blended into a cold, refreshing drink. My dalandan (native green-skinned orange) and my mom’s watermelon were sweet enough without the addition of sugar syrup. The deep-fried short ribs were both tender and crispy at the same time, the prawns in coconut milk, creamy and full of flavor and the modern version of the classic Ilocano (northern Philippines) vegetable dish, akin to a tropical ratatouille and flavored with bagoong (fermented fish paste), was outstanding. The rice was fried in the Pinakbet sauce and topped with the usual vegetable mix of long beans, squash, okra, bitter melon and eggplant, crispy pork belly and pork rinds.
Benny’s is all about comfort food and remembering the tastes of home. It was a delicious meal to mark my short visit to Manila and have a true taste of the Philippines that I miss so much and never seem to be able to duplicate while abroad.
Ground floor, Rustan’s Supermarket
(right by the entrance to the supermarket)
Telephone: +632 666 6682