Dining Out

Banchetto Forum: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

casaveneracion.com Yema cake at Banchetto Forum

Friday night, after watching Red, we were so hungry that any establishment still open at 10.00 p.m. would do. Well, anything except Jollibee or McDonald’s. I remember the girls talking about a bagnet place two blocks from their school and since it was just Alex who was with us (vegetarian Sam had a shoot until late that night), we could go totally carnivorous. Unfortunately, the bagnet place was already out of bagnet, Alex said there was a place called Dat’s Mix nearby so we went there. It was still open, we ordered, the food was okay though nothing spectacular, the portions were generous and the price was very reasonable.

Tummies satisfied, we started the long drive home to the suburb. To avoid the Friday night traffic, we took detours here and there, avoiding the main thoroughfares. Instead of taking the C-5 via Global City route, we turned left to EDSA then right to Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong. Then, we saw a vision — a bright and lovely vision of food, food and more food. Banchetto Forum behind Cybergate Plaza. No thick crowd to jostle with. Most tables were occupied but the set-up didn’t have that claustrophobic look. I had my Powershot G10 with me, I said we could have dessert or just browse and take photos, so Speedy found a parking slot and off we went toward those food stalls that seemed to be calling our names and pulling us alternately.

The first thing I saw was the cake (above). Was that custard falling down the sides? I asked the people at the stall what it was, they said it was yema* cake, a kind of bookmark automatically registered inside my head but we didn’t buy anything — yet. Speedy and Alex wanted to look around first. So, we did.

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And in another stall were more cakes. More mental bookmarks.

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And then, the immortal grilled isaw** and everything skewered. I wasn’t planning on having any more meat — we already had dinner — but Alex wanted a stick, I felt envious so I ordered one too. While the isaw was on the grill, we browsed around some more.

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Paella galore. The paella negra was really tempting. Too heavy, however, for someone who already had dinner.

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More skewered things. The chili cheese sticks in spring roll wrappers were like magnets. A photo will do, I told myself, no need to order.

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Then, the stall with pasta and nothing but pasta. In different shapes with different sauces.

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For those who prefer the familiar, there was an array of Filipino food.

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When we passed by the shawarma stand, I immediately noticed how moist and succulent the meat looked.

By that time, our grilled isaw was done, Alex and I ate our delightfully tender and tasty fatty morsels, and then it was time to decide about dessert. Or so I thought. But it appeared that Alex wasn’t done with the savory stuff yet. She wanted shawarma and suggested we split one. Well, it turned out that Speedy and I each had a bite and Alex finished the rest. Certain that she was full, we walked back to the stall selling that luscious yema cake. And we bought yema cake.

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And then we went to that other stall selling more cakes, we saw that we could buy several varieties at a bargain price, and Speedy started choosing what to take home. I left it all to him and Alex knowing they’d choose the best. So, we went home with yema cake, custard cake, chocolate custard cake and red velvet cake.

By the time we got back to the pick-up, we had all made up our minds that we would go back to Banchetto but without eating dinner beforehand.

When we got home, Speedy went straight for the cakes. I just stepped into the bathroom for a few minutes to changed into something more comfortable but by the time I got out, the chocolate custard cake was gone. Speedy and Alex had demolished it between them. So, I can’t tell you if it was any good. Speedy and Alex said it was.

The yema cake was fabulous. The custard cake was good too. The red velvet cake was a disappointment though because it had butter icing instead of cream cheese frosting. We set aside portions for Sam who would be home on Saturday. She’s having her cakes as I type this post, she seems happy so that means it’s just a matter of setting a date for our family outing to Banchetto Forum.

*Yema is a soft candy made with thickened milk.

**Isaw is intestine. In grilled-a-la-satay parlance, it usually refers to pork intestines.

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