Sunday, May 20, 2012

Archipelago 7107 by Barrio Fiesta at Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato

I've been to Il Terrazo along Tomas Morato several times to take yoga classes but I had not really gone the rounds of the restaurants there save for one. So when Rowena invited me to try out the menu fare of Archipelago 7107, which happened to be just a level down from the yoga studio, I gladly agreed.

So a few Wednesday nights ago, right after a great yin yoga class, I joined the Food Club at Archipelago 7107.

Some trivia first.

Archipelago 7107 is the brainchild of young entrepreneurs Aimee Tan Cosiquien, Katherine Uy Chan, and Clifford Uy. They teamed up with a 3rd generation restaurateur, Tyrone Ongpauco. If that last name strikes a note, it's because Tyrone belongs to the clan behind the Barrio Fiesta chain of restaurants.

But unlike Barrio Fiesta which is known for its very Filipino ambience in bamboo and wood, Archipelago 7107's ambience is casual but chic.

While some Filipino restaurants focus on recipes from the owner's region, not many provide the whole array of food served up in different provinces. This is what Archipelago 7107 aims to do, which is why I am guessing they named their restaurant this way (Archipelago, to represent the entire Philippines; 7107 being the total number of islands).

Here's a sampling of their menu offerings which we tried that night.

Kuhol sa Gata (PhP 215)

I must confess that never, ever in my life have I eaten kuhol (the culinary name for snails) and I certainly was not planning to break that, even with this well presented Kuhol sa Gata. So contented myself with taking pictures of it while the rest of the Food Club relished it (and they said it was good!).

Ilocano Rice (PhP 245)

Tuyo Rice (PhP 175)
Next we tried two types of rice: Ilocano Rica and Tuyo Rice. The Ilocano rice (obviously from the Ilocos region) is a combination of bagnet, Vigan longganisa, salted egg, onions and tomatoes that served as toppings over flavored rice. Tuyo Rice, on the other hand, is a southern kind of rice preparation. It is garlic rice topped with dried fish and scrambled eggs and served with onions and tomatoes. Both were very good but if I had to choose one, I'd go for the Ilocano Rice. By the way, I checked their menu and these are not the only rice choices they are offering. They also have Seafood Rice and Paella Negra Rice for 3-4 persons per order and Garlic Rice and Pandan Rice available as single serves.

Crispy Pata (PhP 520)

Kare-Kare (PhP 230-regular; PhP 350-family)

Next came the oldies but goodies. Who can have a Filipino dine out without Crispy Pata and/or Kare-Kare? Because I am off major meat dishes except for a few exceptions, I opted not to try the Crispy Pata, deep-fried pork knuckles, but I bet you this is good because it is cooked ala Barrio Fiesta and I know how that tastes - it being one of my favorites as a child. Instead, I went for another favorite of mine, Kare-Kare (tender oxtail and tripe cooked in creamy peanut sauce), which I really missed. Ever since my kidney stone episode, I have tried to avoid it because what is it without the salty bagoong? But I made an exception this time. My excuse? There are veggies! And I did not regret. The Kare-Kare was just yummy. I slathered lots of peanut sauce over my rice and took in just enough bagoong to spice and satisfy my palate. Yum!


The healthiest dish of the night was Gising-Gising, a combo of chopped vegetables stewed in coconut milk. The vegetarian yoginis in the yoga studio above should try this one out. Unfortunately, this dish wasn't on the menu yet so I have no idea of its pricing.

Crispy Paksiw Buntot ng Bariles (PhP 385)

The Crispy Paksiw Buntot ng Bariles, a restaurant bestseller, is a Davao specialty dish. This dish was served up last, but surely not the least, in the lineup of main dishes we tasted. At first glance, you'd think it's a meat dish but in reality, it is tuna fin na pinaksiw (cooked in vinegar) till tender, then deep-fried to get that crisp exterior. I would definitely recommend this dish. I'm sure to order this again next time around...

On to dessert...

Instead of having one dessert item each, we instead tried several samplers. Good, because by that time, we were already quite full.

Dessert Samplers
Filipino dessert was given a twist with these 3 samplers. On the leftmost is Pirurutung Biko at Mangga (PhP 115); in the middle is Coco Mango Soup with Pandan Balls and Sago (PhP 95) and rightmost is Turon and Sorbetes (PhP 85). 

One last thing. Archipelago 7107, while catering to groups and families looking for a place to dine out and celebrate or simply bond, also thought of the young, urban professionals looking for a place to hang out. After dinner hours, the restaurant transforms into a full-blown lounge bar catering to the partyphile.

Thank you to the people behind Archipelago 7107. Yes, on another of those yoga classes of mine, I'll be sure to drop by.

Archipelago 7107
2nd Level, Il Terrazzo
Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Madrinan (near ABS-CBN)
Quezon City

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