More treats for foodies
Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2017 - 4:00pm

Time for another break from business, and when we speak of breaks, it can only mean a treat for foodies as far as this column is known for. 

In recent weeks, our roving B&L crew discovered two restaurants that are virtual testimonies to the highly popular cuisine of the countries they represent. Admittedly, their cuisine cater to the younger generation, although their appeal may be considered universal and without borders as they are decidedly comfort food for many, young and not-so-young alike.

The first offers Canadian classic comfort food which many young Filipinos may not be very familiar with. When one speaks of Canadian classic comfort food, think ordinary and affordable, easy-to-snack-on food like Poutine. This is basically your fries with a variety of add-ons to enhance the dish. At Main Street Bar Café, they served our crew their special Bacon Poutine which, at P230 for a hefty serving good for two to three hungry diners boasts of homemade bacon, mozzarella cheese curd, and beef gravy.  This can actually count as a meal in itself, but in Canada, it is a favorite snack.  They have several variations available.

The proprietor of Main Street Bar Café is young Kevin Tan who studied and worked in Vancouver, Canada for five years before he came home for good. He and his friends used to frequent Main Street, a popular food street in Vancouver and that is how his restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig got its name. It was his tribute to the street full of good memories of enjoyable food and jolly company. The bar café has two levels totalling 500 sq. meters, so there is no space problem and has three function rooms for private events.

Kevin clarified that they are classified as a Canadian restaurant, not American, though the two cultures share virtually the same cuisine. Consider Main Street’s other top seller on their menu: Buttermilk fried chicken, pizza and pasta.

Their Buttermilk fried chicken is marinated for eight hours, Kevin says, and is served with brown gravy and creamy mashed potatoes. Price: P290, not bad for three large pieces.

Their spaghetti and meatball dish served with garlic bread is a favorite among the younger crowd, but what makes it different is their meatballs which are stuffed with mozzarella. Price: P290 which is quite reasonable if only because of the three huge meatballs plopped on top.

Their top selling pizza is their gorgonzola pizza that is topped with gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese and has generous slices of tender steak that is still pinkish on the inside. Prize: P350.

As mentioned earlier, Main Street Restaurant is decidedly Canadian, but this next restaurant is proudly American. 

It was a joy to discover this not-so-new restaurant called Filling Station Bar Café in Makati, if only for their novelty items on display at the resto. Their biggest attraction is a restored 1959 El Dorado Cadillac that had to get in through the large picture window because of its formidable size.

Inside, every inch of space seems to be occupied by novelty items, memorabilia, etc. of the glorious 1950s, an era rich with history, unforgettable movie icons and iconic entertainers led by, who else, Elvis ‘The Pelvis’ Presley. The rock-and-roll era is celebrated here with not just one life-size statue of Elvis in action. One part of the ceiling is plastered with vinyl records; there are 1970s car plates from San Francisco to Manila on the wall.  And check out the huge working juke box, handsome and gleaming, that occupies a place of importance on the main floor.

The resto bar café, which is open 24/7, was not named Filling Station on a whim. There are actual vintage gas pumps of Esso, Shell and Mobil Oil scattered here and there, and super heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, all life-sized in full costume stand guard over these and other treasures in the bar café. One of their function rooms, the VIP Room is a virtual tribute to the sex siren of all times, the iconic Marilyn Monroe, and the room boasts of over 100 photos of the actress, with no duplication.  And in keeping with the challenging times, they even have an all-glass Smokers’ Room.

Other novelty items are still coming in, according to Cristina del Gallego, VP for operations and Carlos Barretto, restaurant manager. According to the duo, the Filliing Station was a brain child of an ex-US Navy chef who settled in the Philippines, but not after collecting and shipping all of these memorabilia to set his restaurant apart from all the rest. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, a gas station was not only for refueling. Remember Route 66? Think of the quintessential American diner that served hot meals to hungry truck drivers or back packers or families out on long cross-country drives. Their food offerings were big servings of American comfort food.

At the Filling Station, their best sellers include their All-American Burger served with fries and cole slaw, and their Cheeseburger Pizza. Their Four-for-All platter includes baked potatoes, buffalo wings, crispy calamares and fried egg rolls. Their Power Breakfast consists of sausages, mushrooms in garlic, baked beans, ham and potatoes, while their nachos are served with bacon bits and drizzled with cheese.

For dessert, they have their various sundaes, and of course, what can be more American than rich milkshakes that come with a refill.

This is one bar café that serves not just culinary, but visual treats as well. There are billiard tables, a well-stocked bar and just about anything one can think of to create a memorable evening for families and friends.

Hope you enjoyed these newest discoveries in the local food scene.

Mabuhay!!!  Be proud to be a Filipino.

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