BACOLOD CITY – Rarely have I been to a restaurant where I have to ask for a second serving of rice. But Mangan, the newly-opened restaurant in the Ayala Malls Capitol Central, has done exactly that.
Me pardner and I could hardly stand from all the food – which is a good thing too.
Located at the ground floor of the Ayala Mall here, my pardner and I decided to try the place. It’s a cozy place – in a full house, place could get mighty cramped – but no matter. We tried it (we went there TWICE in one week) because we were looking for something that would hit the spot – and the offerings in Mangan did, and how!
I ordered kare-kare (buntot ng baka), while my partner had sinigang salmon belly sa miso. And to assuage the guilt of all that heavy fare, we ordered sautéed ampalaya with eggs.
The second time we were there, we had tinolang halaan at tahong (clam and mussels) and seafood kare-kare.
Was immensely satisfied with the orders. There was just a hint of peanut butter in the sauce of the kare-kare (both types), and lots and lots of fresh young sitaw, plus stalks of native pechay.
The generous portions the dishes were more than enough for two, I tell you, and when we left there were still slices of the meat in the buntot kare-kare (it’s not that it’s not good enough; we were too full). The seafood kare-kare, on the other hand, was less satisfying, unfortunately.
There were signs of the shellfish being either frozen or cooked too long (they’ve shriveled up to almost nothing). Or maybe the bad weather affected the quality of the products.
The generous servings of shrimp, however, is something else – the seafood remained juicy and plump, not cooked to death, a pet peeve, so there was hardy space between shell and meat (I wonder why the mussels and clams could not have been the same).
The tinolaang halaan and tahong also had the same problem (it’s rather tricky, I know, storing those shellfish), so note to self: don’t order the shellfish dish the next time we go there.
Service crew is mostly on the young side, some of the crew look like they had barely earned their HRM program. But no matter. What they lack for relative experience, they make up for speed, so no biggie.
So having said that, will we go back?
But we would probably steer clear of the shellfish.