Restaurant Review: Isla Cafe

Before watching The Croods at Robinsons Manila a couple of weeks ago, we once again faced the usual dilemma when we’re in that mall -  finding a place to eat. Because we’ve been going there at least once a month since I was in high school, we have already tried all the restaurants in that mall. We’ve seen restaurants come and go. I know that mall so much that I can actually tell you what restaurant/store used to be in a specific spot years ago. Haha!

Anyway, our eyes lit up when we saw a new dining place in the middle of the 3rd level of the Midtown Wing. From the name and the looks of its servers, it’s evident that it serves Filipino dishes. A very nice waitress in Filipiniana costume greeted us and ushered us to our table.

When I saw the XO 46 Bistro print on the table napkins, I remember the restaurant along Valero in Makati where I had my farewell dinner on my last day at Navitaire last year. The waitress confirmed that Isla Cafe is part of the XO 46 chain. I didn't blog about that restaurant because I wasn’t able to take photos during our dinner. But aside from the good food and the unique costumes of the staff, what I remember most was how they try so hard (in a cute way) to speak in straight Filipino. They call customers Binibini or Ginoo. And when asked if they could take a photo of us, they say, “Isa, dalawa, tatlo… NGITI!” Hihihi!!! ^_^
DSC_1349 Home of Manila’s best Puto, Pansit at… Putol! =))

If I’m not mistaken, it’s PALAMIG. And judging by how I enjoyed Boyet’s Sago’t Gulaman, I think the missing word from the picture is really palamig. Isla Cafe took the usual Sago’t Gulaman found at the busy streets of Manila up to a higher notch. It is perfectly chilled and has the right amount of sweetness. The Sago’t Gulaman is just so good that I have already gulped down half of it when I realized that it wasn’t mine! Oh well, conjugal properties include food! :p

DSC_1358Sago’t Gulaman PHP65
Me: Hay! Nakikita mukha mo sa picture e. Takpan mo, dali!
Boyet: *face palm* O ayan, nakatakip na!

Boyet scanned the menu multiple times thinking what soup to get. I have gotten used to his soup craving every single meal so I can’t understand why he can’t accept the fact that I can’t be ready to go to the office 1 hour after I get up in the morning. Who says marriage is fair? :p Anyway, he was having a hard time choosing what to get. After minutes of trying to rationalize (WOW! BIG WORD! :p) his decision, he settled with Ginisang Monggo at Tinapa. I shook my head in dismay because I thought he has already learned his lesson from our latest monggo mishap. Read about it here.

Boyet: Sakto ‘yun, Baby. May monggo na ako, may tinapa pa. Soup at ulam na.
Me: Kapag ayan hindi na naman masarap ha!

After a few minutes…

DSC_1363Ginisang Monggo at Tinapa PHP175

Boyet: Miss, nasaan na ‘yung tinapa?
Waitress: Ay sir, kasama na po sa monggo.
Boyet: (stares blankly at the waitress) Ok!
Me: HAHAHAHAHA! Pahiya ka ‘no?!

I took a sip of the monggo soup with my expectations set at the lowest. You can’t blame me. I took another sip, and my husband noticed how my eyes widened. Their monggo should be banned because of its extreme goodness! It’s even better than my mom’s monggo. And the waitress wasn’t lying when they told us that the tinapa is already mixed with the monggo. We could really taste the pungent flavors of the tinapa. Basta masarap, period! Hihihi!

I initially wanted to get their Bicol Express, but I decided to have their Lechon Sisig at Laing. Sisig and Laing?! IKR??!!!

DSC_1379Lechong Sisig at Laing PHP235  

I am a fan of both. I am actually a fan of anything spicy and anything with coconut milk. So when the two are combined in one meal (I am also a fan of anything OILY), it’s surely a hit. The laing was good although I felt that it lacked the usual spiciness of a laing. I had to bite the red chili toppings so I could have what I wanted. The sisig was also good, but I’ve had better-tasting sisig before. I blame my high standards with food. I blame the very delicious monggo because my meal definitely paled in comparison. :p

Boyet and I agreed that we need to come back for their pansit and halo-halo. And since they also brag about their puto, I think it’s worth a shot too. :)

Isla Cafe
Level 3 Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila

Isla Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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