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Monday, May 23, 2011

Alba Restaurant in Alabang

I don't often go to Alabang, especially now that toll fees at the South Luzon Expressway have gone way up. I'm only likely to be there en route to an out of town trip down south, or on my rare visits to my "southern" friends. One weekday afternoon, Z and our Spanish friend Ismael had to go there for some errands, so I was excited to eat in a restaurant likely to be found only in that corner of Metro Manila. All of us though (especially our import Isma) were not really experts on dining in the area, so we didn't know offhand which restaurant exactly fit that description.

So, we just decided to let Isma try Alba, a Spanish restaurant, so we could ask him his opinion on its authenticity. He said he hadn't tried a Spanish resto in the Philippines, so it was as good a time as any to see how this one measured up to his genuine Spanish palate. Z and I gave him a free hand in ordering, and he got excited by the items available on the menu. (Maybe he was feeling homesick since he's been in the country for a few months already.)

He decided on some Manchego cheese, Escalivada (described in the menu as roasted vegetables with anchovies), Coca de Pisto y Sardinas (sardines and vegetables on Majorcan bread), and Paella Negra (okay, maybe I kind of urged him to choose that one). First up, Queso Manchego.

Queso Manchego

He didn't really say much about the cheese (except to say it was satisfactory), probably because it was imported from Spain (or so I assume). My comment was that it was quite thinly sliced. I like my cheese chunky. Next... the Escalivada.


This was what he had the most to say about. From what I gathered from his reaction, this is something he often eats back home. He said that when he has this dish, there is usually more olive oil, and he treats it almost like a dip for bread. We asked for more olive oil so he could approximate this taste.

As for the Coca de Pisto y Sardinas and the Paella Negra, Isma said that he enjoyed eating them as well. He said he got quite full from our meal, and I think that's something, since he is very tall and presumably hard to satiate.

Coca de Pisto y Sardinas

Paella Negra

His overall verdict? Everything tasted good, BUT the dishes were prepared in a different way from what he is used to. I'm assuming that the dishes were slightly Filipinized to be as widely palatable as possible. It's also possible that some of the ingredients used in Spain are simply not available here and alternatives had to be found.

As for my own opinion, well... I enjoyed everything, particularly the Paella Negra. Although this dish always leaves me unable to smile right away due to the squid ink that usually hangs around on my teeth and gums longer than I'd like. (Not a recommended dish for people in the early stages of dating.)

Alba Spanish Restaurant
Westgate Center
Filicity, Alabang
Muntinlupa City
Tel. No. (632)771.2178 to 79

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