Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Sunday Seafood Lunch at Mama Rosa

With Lent just around the corner, Meatless Fridays can be something to look forward to. At Mama Rosa's...

Chef and owner Ticks Dula Laurel draws inspiration from her mother's cherished recipes adding her own unique spin to authentic local favorites, adding contemporary tweaks while still remaining firmly rooted in traditional flavors. Meatless Fridays can be a flavorful experience, with Mama Rosa's signature seafood dishes.

Located along East Capitol Drive in Kapitolyo, the famed foodie strip welcomes its newest restaurant, Mama Rosa, offering diners classic and comforting local flavors. Inside, one feels immediately at home with its casual and modern interiors, in fact, dining at Mama Rosa almost feels like a visit to a favorite aunt's or grandmother's place for meal.

It's that kind of vibe that makes Mama Rosa special, with its friendly and efficient service matched with the rich flavors of its signature dishes. You can also find jars of homemade Spicy Bagoong, Spicy Tuyo Fillet and the their famous Neptuna Sauce, a blend of sauteed fish roe and crab fat for take home.

Start with Mama Rosa's Kinilaw na Isda (P 280), the local version of ceviche, with three regional variations. The fresh tuna chunks marinated in vinegar spiked with chili, onions, pepper, are recreated in three different versions; with green mangoes and coconut cream, with salted duck egg, tomatoes and black beans; and with cucumber, radish and kamias. Each version is distinct from the other, using different souring ingredients, vegetables, and fruits for a variety of flavors in one dish. And my dining experience at Mama Rosa is off to a great start...

Follow it up with Mama Rosa's Suaje Kebob (P 280), grilled shrimps in skewers served with honey calamansi coriander sauce. The grilled shrimps deliver a briny sweetness along with a smoky hint for fresh and clean notes, but prepare for a vibrant burst of flavors when you dip the shrimps in the honey calamansi coriander dipping sauce. The bold flavors of the dipping sauce just brings out the sweetness of the shrimps, making this another must-try at Mama Rosa.

For the main course, go for the regional classic, Sinaing na Tulingan (P 160), slow-cooked tulingan or bullet tuna in olive oil, dried kamias, and capers garnished with olives and finger chilies. The fish is soft, moist and tender, with its mildly salty yet delicate notes punctuated by the tart kamias and rounded out by the nutty hint of the olive oil. The capers and olives complete the flavors of the dish. Simple and uncomplicated, with rich flavors. Meatless Fridays? No worries.

In between, enjoy a comforting bowl of Mama Rosa's rustic and homestyle Monggo (P 140), a hearty and comforting bowl of traditional mung beans sauteed in shrimps and smoked fish with ampalaya, and eggplant topped with crunchy chicharon. And don't worry about the chicharon, it's the shrimps, smoked fish, and vegetables that carry the dish for our little secret on Meatless Fridays.

And you just got to have some rice to best enjoy Mama Rosa's dishes, like the Pistahan Rice (P 255) soft and fluffy fried rice with tinapa flakes, salted duck egg, tomatoes and chopped fresh spring onions. This one's a meal in itself, perfect for Meatless Fridays, and great with Mama Rosa's seafood dishes.

A friend told me to try Mama Rosa's Guinataang Sigarillas (P 160), sauteed winged beans with smoked fish simmered in coconut cream, and I'm glad I did. The fresh, crisp texture of the winged beans, with its subtle sweetness, paired well with the coconut cream, capped by the salty and smoky notes of the tinapa. It's another tasty dish to complement your Meatless Friday feast.     

Okay, so this one has pork and may not be appropriate for Meatless Fridays, but you just have to try Mama Rosa's version of this regional favorite, the Bicol Express (P 195), with tender pork, green finger peppers and black-eyed beans slow-cooked and simmered in coconut cream. The mild and soothing heat is perfectly tempered by the coconut cream, adding layers of flavors complementing the tender pork. The addition of beans is Mama Rosa's own creative take, and it works, adding texture to the dish. And you can have Mama Rosa's kitchen prepare the dish to your level of desired spiciness. You'll probably want some extra rice with this one...  

Cap your feast with Mama Rosa's new Coco Cream Ice Cream (P 55 per scoop) in Sili, Tinutong na Bigas, Pili, and Gabi. Made with coconut cream instead of dairy, the taste and texture is rich and smooth, with rounder and nuttier notes. And the flavors, like Gabi, Tinutong na Bigas, and Sili were a totally new experience. Other flavors include Calamansi.

The Sili Coco Cream Ice Cream is an interesting flavor, sweet and smooth, followed by a soothing heat that lingers long after the first bite. It's not overwhelmingly spicy, but it's there, as the coco cream coats your mouth with its buttery hint. The Tinutong na Bigas Coco Cream Ice Cream has familiar notes, yet each bite is new and different, and surprisingly unexpected, capped by the distinct notes of black sesame seeds, just like the Gabi Coco Cream Ice Cream. The mild sweetness of pili nuts come through in the Pili Coco Cream Ice Cream. Different, and the perfect ending to a comforting lunch at Mama Rosa.

A cup of freshly brewed coffee Brewed Coffee (P 100) ends my feast on a mellow note, just what you need after a satisfying meal. Mama Rosa offers classic and authentic cuisine with familiar flavors, infused with creative, even unexpected surprises. And just like a visit to a favorite aunt's or grandmother's place, you just know the meal will be a memorable one. At Mama Rosa's...

Mama Rosa Restaurant is located at 9 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City or call 246-9069 extension 876 for inquiries and more information.

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