Sentro’s menu is precise to its point. There is a reasonable number of food on the menu that will not give you a hard time deciding what to eat.
For appetizers, we had the Crispy Kilawin and the Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls. The Crispy Kilawin is basically Deep-fried pork belly cooked in the traditional way with onions, leeks, carrots and steeped in vinegar. This could actually pass as ‘ulam’ if you are a big fan of lechon kawali, though it could also pass as ‘chicharon’ because it is perfectly cooked – soft and crispy at the same time.
The Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls are not the typical spring rolls that you get in restaurants. The filling of the spring rolls are tinapang bangus, salted egg, mustasa, onions and tomato. Surprisingly, for someone who is not a big fan of vegetables, I found this really good, especially when eaten in one mouthful. With added vinegar, the flavours will marry perfectly.
We also had the Papaya Salad, which is far from the usual lettuce salad we buy on the go. It has freshly cut green papayas with pickled carrots, cucumber, fried tofu, hito flakes and fried shallots with flavored fish sauce (patis) dressing. A truly Filipino salad that anyone can enjoy.
For our main dish, we tried the Lengua with Mushrooms Salpicao – ox tongue fried in olive oil and topped with garlicky mushrooms. I am not a big fan of lengua because I am afraid of feeling the texture of the tongue, but this was perfectly cooked and was really tender and tasty. It actually made me forget that I was eating lengua and think it was just regular pork meat.
Also a part of the main menu is Tilapia Fillets in Coconut Milk. It is flavored with garlic, ginger and coconut milk with malunggay. This is my favorite dish on the whole menu because it took me back to the time when my mom cooks for the family at home. It is very good and the malunggay is a perfect companion to the sweet taste of the coconut milk.
You get to taste the Sinigang Corned Beef before they serve it to you, so you can change how savoury it is if needed. It is made with corned beef short plate and boneless beef shanks in tamarind broth and native veggies. I like my sinigang really sour, so I asked the table attendant to make it so sour that our eyes would squint while eating it. The beef is so tender that when you poke it with your fork, it will fall into half.
The Seafood Bagoong Rice is one of the best rice I have ever tasted. It is topped with grilled squid, garlic shrimp, hit flakes and mango strips. At first, I thought it was really salty, but then I realized that it was because of the bagoong. This is perfect to pair with the Tilapia Fillet in Coconut Milk. It’s like a seafood party in your mouth.
The bagoong smell can stay in your mouth, though (- but hopefully not!), so better follow it up with buko sherbet to clean your palette!
Last on the list is the Keso Flan, which is a baked no-crust cheesecake served with queso de bola slices and red egg. This is how you end a dinner with a bang because it’s the weirdest and best dessert I have ever had. You have to try it to believe it. You have to put a bit of cheesecake, cheese and red egg on your spoon for you to understand why these three are a good unlikely pairing.
I got the chance to catch up with Chef Vicky Pacheco and she actually told us how Sentro differs from other restaurants that offer Filipino food. “Normally Filipino food is served in a casual setting with casual service. We’re serving Filipino food in a beautiful setting where there is attention to detail and tabletop presentation. The ambience is world-class, but not stiff,” she said.
The overall dining experience at Sentro 1771, Capital Commons is beautiful; the service, the ambiance and the food are glorious. The food is reasonably priced as it is good for sharing and gives good value for money. Though there are Sentro branches at Greenbelt and at Fort, I haven’t had time to visit either branches yet. However, since I reviewed Sentro 1771 at Capital Commons, I have already gone back 4 times with different group of friends trying to sell it to them and without a doubt, they have enjoyed dining and staying at Sentro, too.
Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave. cor. Shaw Boulevard, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Tel. No: 941-8277 / Mobile No: +63 917-327-8183