My Continuous Rave for Bagoong Club in Tomas Morato

Ever tried eating at Bagoong Club? Bagoong is like the eclectic, all-around sauce of the Philippine Islands, don't you think? A base of salty goodness made with either shrimp or fermented fish, which is why it is available in thick or thin versions, most of the time we use this as it perfectly enhances the flavors of different kinds of Filipino dishes. If you are one experimental dude or chick, you can do many things with bagoong, right?

I never really dedicated my time to experiment with this all-around ingredient much like Bagoong Club does, so here is how my thinking goes at the moment:

"Want something healthy but flavorful? One can saute it with onions and tomatoes to make it savory and simmer it with a few mixed veggies and coconut milk, you get pinakbet. How about making it as a snack? Try cooking bagoong with a bit of sugar and a few chopped birdeye chillies and you can use is as a dip on a plate of sliced green mangoes or turnips. Want to indulge? Just like one of my contributors on Nines vs. Food, why not add a hefty amount of homemade or store-bought chicharon (crispy pork rinds) and top it with hot piping rice? Or why not even mix it to your usual barbecue marinade and make it like a barbecued binagoongan?"

The list is probably endless, right? (and I just can't stop thinking for more ideas right now). Then again, as much as experimenting is concerned, I think Bagoong Club has already passed all the tests with using bagoong aside from its most famous role as an accompaniment to Kare-Kare.

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Me and mama laughing over the menu names

I was already hearing too many raves about Bagoong Club, as they already achieved quite a number of reviews from different food critics and institutions. So when I got there during one weekend with my
family at their Tomas Morato Branch, man was it jam packed! I always appreciate it whenever a restaurant perks up their menu with different names, and looking at Bagoong Club's menu, it reflects the Filipino personality of having a combination of common sense, good sense of humor and awesome creativity. This is attested with appealing categories like "Puro Kababuyan" for pork based dishes, "Pasawsaw Naman" which enumerates their different bagoong versions, and "Huling Hirit", a list of scrumptious sweet endings and specially made cakes that finishes a great Filipino meal.

So anyway, a typical visit at Bagoong Club usually starts with a free appetizer of turnips with two types of bagoong. It was a nice move by them, considering that they offer a favorite snack of mine when I was a child. At Bagoong Club, it's a plate of thick strips of bland, watery, crunchy turnips dipped in either their two versions of bagoong.

We were all craving for some Crispy Pata and Kare-Kare and so we ordered both, along with additional appetizer of Crispy Ensalada, Lumpiang Ubod sa Talong, and Ginataang Hubad na Kuhol at Malunggay.

And we're not hungry, we promise, hehehe.

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Crispy Ensalada

The Crispy Ensalada was quite interesting, as it is all sour from the green mangoes, sweet from the tomatoes and onions, and finally, all out crispiness from the pork bits. It's a fresh take on a typical ensalada that only Bagoong Club can offer.

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Lumpiang Ubod sa Talong

The Lumpiang Ubod dish, on the other hand, was garlicky yummy and healthy!Although it seemed like the actual lumpia is drenched with too much peanut sauce, for me the sauce was just right because one you open through this huge lumpia wrapper, you can find chunks of every yummy ingredient that you can look for in a lumpiang ubod, only....wait, there's more! The ubod mixture is only laden underneath a perfectly cooked eggplant. Coolness!
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Crispy Pata, kare-kare, and the boys (Papa and my brother)

As much as we want to finish the first few dishes that arrived on our table, we preferred to wait until we got all our orders. But when our crispy pata and kare-kare orders arrived, we couldn't help but start eating. A perfect combination that was always considered as a special family meal at home, the taste of both dishes were very flavorful. The sauce of the Kare-Kare was already great in itself, but putting a bit of bagoong adds up to a more satisfying spoonful of goodness for your tastebuds and your stomach. No wonder that Bagoong Club's Kare-kare was hailed by Sooo Pinoy Campaign at Unilever Foods Philippines as one of the best in Manila. And their Crispy Pata is insane! The pork was crispy yet tender and my ears were clapping with joy whilst enjoying eating it with my family.

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Ginataang Hubad na Kuhol at Malunggay

The Ginataang Hubad na Kuhol at Malunggay, a coconut cream based dish made with edible snails, malunggay leaves and chili, arrived last on our table with quite a bit of delay. But it was hot and really easy to eat because we never really had to use some sticks to poke out the meat from the shells.

Overall, we weren't really that much disappointed, because you would know if a certain dish was heated or if it was cooked fresh. And guess what, Bagoong Club cooked it fresh as soon as you order their dishes, so it's truly a two thumbs up gastronomic experience.

I think that the thing about Bagoong Club is that they prioritize the freshness and quality of the ingredients that they use for their dishes above everything. Their mathematical equation for success was innovation using a simple ingredient that is of course bagoong.

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Bagoong Club is a perfect place to visit anytime, whether it be craving, family dinner, or a special date. There's always something for everyone at Bagoong Club.

Try to check their menu at their Facebook Like Page here and try to visit Bagoong Club today.

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