Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Empacho Restaurant & Bar, Tomas Morato

Finally got to visit Quezon City's most loved Filipino restaurant!

Even though I live in Quezon City, it took me a long while before I finally got to visit Empacho in Tomas Morato. They've been around for almost a year now and it's really unfortunate I didn't get to try them sooner because I really missed out on good Filipino food all those months. Oh well, better late than never, right?
I was really surprised with its interiors. I thought it was more of a barkada place since Empacho's also a bar, but it's definitely somewhere I can bring my family to as well.
And the food. Ugh. I don't think I've ever enjoyed so many Filipino dishes in one place.

Filipino food has never been one of the first to come to mind when I dine out, but thanks to places like Empacho, it's definitely on my list now.
Here are just some of the wonderful dishes that Empacho has in store for you:

Triple Bypass (P380)

The Triple Bypass is the perfect pulutan here at Empacho! It has crispy chicken skin, salt and pepper chicharon bulaklak, and isol inasal with three special sauces.

Spicy Tamarind Wings (P370)
One of the appetizers I highly recommend. I love how crispy the wings are and how they're cooked with the perfect amount of spicy tamarind sauce and fried chili.

Crispy Tokwa't Baboy (P350)
spicy chicharon bagnet and fried tofu with Empacho's special sauce

Another pulutan treat - the Crispy Tokwa't Baboy. Though I have to admit, I'm not much of a fan of tokwa, so I skipped this one entirely.

But I did love their Sisig Fries (P260). I swear I couldn't stop eating it. On its own, the sisig can be salty, but once combined with the fries, it all works perfectly together. I'm drooling just thinking about it. 

They also had us try their Balut Tempura (P380). It's tempura battered balut with micro arugula salad and salted egg aioli. I had a bite of this and it tasted pretty normal, but I guess that's because I had the yellow part of the balut and not the sisiw. Hehe. I only really like the yolk part and the soup of the balut, I've never tried duck fetus (and to be honest, I don't think I ever will).

Salads are also available on Empacho's menu. Here we have their Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and The Ultimate Empacho Salad.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (P350)
chicken inasal with ripe mango, pickled radish, egg, bacon, toasted bread, romaine lettuce topped with parmesan cheese and served with Pinoy caesar dressing

The Ultimate Empacho Salad (P390)
roasted pork belly with pickled red onion, cucumber, green mango, singkamas, carrots, tomato, and tom yao drizzled with spicy calamansi dressing
Onto the mains:

Pares Lomi (P375)
If you're looking for something warm and comforting, order the Pares Lomi. Though I would recommend sharing it with friends as it's a pretty heavy dish.

Spicy Laing Carbonara Pasta (P390)
creamy spicy laing topped with crispy bagnet

Anything with laing is an instant winner for me. Take this other example, one of Empacho's newest dishes - the Sizzling Laing na Sugpo (P850). So good, I tell ya!!
Empacho's Lechon Belly (P790)

If you want something crispy and juicy, get their oven roasted marinated pork lechon belly! This one is stuffed with herbs and spices served with sinamak for added flavor!
Crispy Pork Kare-Kare (P395)
The Crispy Pork Kare-Kare is one of the more traditional dishes you can find here. Though theirs feature a spicy deep fried salted pork belly with annatto peanut sauce and bagoong. A little bit of bagoong goes a long way, so try not to overdo it.

Bulalo Pares (P420)

If you like bulalo and you like pares, how about trying out Empacho's Bulalo Pares? It's really the best of both worlds! I absolutely loved the sizzling tender beef shank with Empacho's aromatic pares sauce! It's really tender and remains so even when eaten cold! The pares sauce reminds me of the original pares and this time, there's so much meat to share around!

But if I have to pick one favorite, it has to be the Sinampalukang Tadyang (P550).

It's a new dish that packs a lot of flavor! The meat is really tender as well, but what I love the most about it is the soup! It's like a really, really sour sinigang (which is my ultimate favorite Filipino dish). I remember when I was a kid, my sister and I would add more tamarind soup mix powder to our individual soup bowls just because we love ours extra sour.
Everyone saw how much I enjoyed this one that they decided to let me finish it off. Haha! Love you, guys!

But if you're not into anything sour, may I recommend the Seafood Tinola (P380) instead?

It's your traditional tinola broth infused with ginger and lemongrass and finished off with some mixed seafood.

And as we all know, Filipino food has to be eaten with rice. There is no way to survive a Filipino meal without it. Empacho has five kinds: pandan rice, garlic rice, tinapa rice, aligue rice, and guinamos kalkag rice.

Tinapa Rice (P65) and Guinamos Kalkag Rice (P75)

Don't forget to finish off your meal with some dessert!

Pistachio Sansrival (P250)
layers of nutty meringue, coated with butter cream icing sprinkled with pistachio nuts
Salted Egg Lava Cake (P150)
dulce lava cake with salted egg custard filling
Bibingka Cassava Cake (P225)
We were served a couple of really good ones, but there was something about the Bibingka Cassava Cake that made it my favorite. I love that it was served warm and topped with salted egg. It was a party in my mouth - it was so good in fact that my friend immediately dubbed it as "the best bibingka ever!" I couldn't agree more.

As I mentioned earlier, Empacho is a restaurant and bar, so don't be surprised to find drinks on their menu. But, like with every Filipino restaurant, there has to be a version of sago't gulaman.

Empacho's Sago't Gulaman (P90)

I like that theirs doesn't come off as too sweet as it's made with their homemade pandan muscovado arnibal and with coconut water.

They also have a bunch of coolers like Presa-Pakwan (watermelon and homemade strawberry jam), Pipino-Mansanas (cucumber and green apple), and Pinya-Litsiyas (pineapple and lychee) which are good alternatives to drinking soft drinks as these are made with a combination of fresh fruits and mint topped with soda water. 
Cocktails are also abundant here - here are just some of their new ones:
(L-R) Martini de Leche, Calaman-go Mojito, Hilom, Isaw-Ihaw, Ligaya

I actually went back a few days after with my family for my parents' anniversary. They were super happy with the food! I recommended my favorites - Sisig Fries, Sinampalukang Tadyang, Bulalo Pares, and Bibingka Cassava Cake. We also ordered some dishes that I didn't get to try the first time - like the Buttered Salted Egg Seafood and Soft Shell Crab Aligue Pasta. Everything was really good and consistent from my first visit.

I'm definitely recommending this to all my friends! Also, if you have foreigner or balikbayan friends who want a taste of good Filipino food, bring them to Empacho! You won't regret it! ;) 
Huge thanks to the owners Paolo, Rocky, Dimchee, and Ida for the invite! And congratulations on your anniversary! :) 
Empacho is located on the second floor, 170 Tomas Morato Corner Don Roces Avenue, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
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Empacho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato