Thursday, November 19, 2015

New Favorites: Lola Cafe + Bar's New Menu by Chef Jonvic Mangibin

An old favorite gets a fresh and flavorful infusion of creative and new flavors... 

Lola Cafe + Bar introduces new dishes created by noted Chef Jonvic Mangibin, adding to the innovative repertoire of dishes in this Quezon City dining hotspot. And it's great to see something good get even better...

I've always been impressed with Lola Cafe + Bar's innovative style (see my previous posts on Lola Cafe + Bar and their signature dishes here and their impressive desserts here), and it just keeps getting better. At Lola Cafe + Bar, traditional Filipino comfort food is updated with a playfully modern spin, and this unique culinary style is reflected in their new line of signature dishes. Chef Jonvic Mangibin brings his own  creative culinary style to Lola Cafe + Bar with a range of inventive and flavorful dishes (for more on Chef Jonvic Mangibin, check out his creative dishes at a cool pop-up on my previous post here). Our feast with Lola Cafe + Bar's new dishes began with the Chicken Liver Tostada (P 195), a light starter with liver pate and bacon crisp. Smooth and creamy, the chicken liver pate delivers mild and delicate flavors in contrast with the bold sweet and smoky notes of the bacon crisp. Two distinct notes in one dish, setting you up for even more flavorful dishes... the surprisingly tasty Cauliflower Fritos (P 230), another starter reflecting Chef Jonvic Mangibin's inventive style with battered cauliflower draped with sweet soy glaze, sesame seeds and lime. The mild flavors of the cauliflower are pumped up with the sweet soy glaze, and the breading adds its own distinct layer of texture. The lime, sesame seeds and fresh vegetables complete the dish.

A comforting bowl of Molo Soup (P 295) is served next, with chicken meatballs in a rich and flavorful saffron and annatto broth with bonito flakes and kesong puti. The richly flavored broth delivers complex flavors from the blend of saffron, annatto, smoky bonito flakes and creamy kesong puti, yet each distinct note weave in seamlessly with every sip.

Chef Jonvic Mangibin then takes the classic pork sisig to a whole new level with his Bone Marrow Sisig (P 275), tender and juicy grilled pork jowl with sweet and tart kamias jam topped with crunchy garlic crumble on roasted bone marrow. You just can't go wrong with bone marrow and sisig...

The sinful richness of the pork sisig and roasted bone marrow are perfectly tempered by the tart kamias jam and nutty garlic chips for balanced flavors. This one's definitely a must-try dish at Lola Cafe + Bar.

Chef Jonvic Mangibin's Tinapa Omelette (P 235), with smoked fish, organic eggs, mixed greens, bonito flakes, and Lola relish served with grilled bread is another inventive dish with distinct local flavors. The soft and fluffy omelette is punctuated by the smoky notes of the tinapa, with fresh and clean hints of flavors from the tomatoes and vegetables. Each of Chef Jonvic Mangibin's new dishes highlight the masterful blend of flavors and textures, and it just keeps getting better as the next batch of dishes were served...

...including the Bacon Belly Batchoy (P 320), with braised bacon slab and ox tripe in a sweet garlic broth topped with soft boiled eggs and crunchy chicharon. Chef Jonvic Mangibin's take on the classic batchoy retains the original flavors, pumped up with the infusion of a tender and juicy slab of pork belly. Just perfect on a rainy afternoon. Or any day, really.

Complement your meal with one of Lola Cafe + Bar's refreshing salads, like the Alugbati & Kesong Puti (P 200 Solo/P 310 Share), a refresing mix of charred alugbati, roasted carrots and beets drizzled with aged balsamic. The alugbati, or malabar spinach, and the kesong puti add a distinctly Filipino spin to the salad, with contrasting notes from the creamy local cheese and balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing salad dish.

Then, Chef Jonvic Mangibin pulls out all the stops, reinventing classic Filipino dishes with an innovative twist. The comforting flavors of the traditional Chicken Tinola are recreated in a unique rice dish, the 1/4 Chicken Confit & Tinola Rice (P 280), with tender ginger chicken on lemongrass rice pilaf topped with green papaya and crisp fried greens. Everything you love about Chicken Tinola is right here in this bowl. The soft, moist and fluffy rice pilaf is richly flavored with the familiar notes of the classic classic tinola, and each spoonful leads to another. Think of it as Chicken Tinola without the broth, yet all the flavors are there.

Chef Johnvic Mangibin then duplicates the concept with his take on the sour and tart sinigang, with his Miso Salmon & Sinigang Rice (P 320), pan-seared salmon on tamarind and tomato rice topped with grilled vegetables. The mild and delicate notes of the pan-seared salmon are punctuated by the vibrant flavor of the tamarind and tomato rice, as the grilled vegetables complete the dish. The duo of rice dishes, the 1/4 Chicken Confit & Tinola Rice and the Miso Salmon & Sinigang Rice perfectly recreates traditional flavors presented in a refreshingly innovative execution for a whole new flavor experience.

More of Chef Jonvic Mangibin's creative style is showcased with his interpretation of the traditional palabok, the Black Palabok (P 295), with soft and chewy glass noodles topped with prawns, squid, smoked fish floss and soft-boiled egg covered in rich squid ink bisque. The squid ink makes this one a truly unique dish, and yet another refreshingly new flavor experience that's both familiar yet different.

But Chef Jonvic Mangibin isn't quite done yet, with the Coconut Boneless Bangus (P 430) served next, boneless milkfish belly covered in creamy coconut & leek sauce topped with fried garlic. The mild notes of the milkfish are perfectly complemented by the creamy coconut and leek sauce. The addition of creamy coconut and leek sauce adds a whole new dimension of flavor to the milkfish, another must-try at Lola Cafe + Bar.

Chef Jonvic Mangibin's Brisket "Bistek" Tagalog (P 410), fork-tender cured brisket with fried onions, garlic confit, Lola relish, in soy-calamansi sauce completes the feast of new dishes at Lola Cafe + Bar. The rich soy-calamansi sauce is kicked up with the tart hints of fresh cherry tomatoes and the subtle sweetness of onions. And that brisket is so tender, you'll go for seconds.

But save room for dessert. Lola Cafe + Bar's Strawberries & Cream (P 150), a delicate and indulgent dessert made with meringue topped with creamy strawberry, coconut, and tarragon mousse...

...and the creamy Banoffee Pie (P 170), a rich banana custard cream on graham crust with peanut butter cap your feast at Lola Cafe + Bar. Chef Jonvic Mangibin's new dishes are a welcome addition to an old favorite in Quezon City, with the potential to become new favorites. Check out what's new at Lola Cafe + Bar, and find your new favorite dish.

Lola Cafe + Bar is located at 99 Scout Lozano, or call 501-2620, 219-3254, or 0917-817-6745 for inquiries

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