And so, the Antipolo food trip continues. Today, Speedy and I had early dinner at Filio Bistro, the third restaurant in Antipolo that we have visited this year after Marison’s and Monte Cafe. In a nutshell, we were sufficiently impressed. But let me enumerate the reasons why.
1. The ambience was welcoming. High ceilings, generous open spaces, muted (but not fashionably dark) lighting and very comfortable chairs. The tables, big and small, are made of beautiful solid wood.
2. There was music playing in the background but the volume did not require us to shout in order to converse. That’s something that restauranteurs should really pay more attention to. There are people (like me) who lose their appetite when the background music is terrible. A double whammy if the ugly music is too loud. People do like to converse when they eat out.
3. When we asked the waiter for details about certain dishes, he knew the dishes well enough to explain. Bravo!
Now, what did we order?
We had the appetizer called cheese wonton. We were expecting cubed cheese enveloped in wonton wrapper and deep fried until golden and crisp. Half of our expectation was met — the half about the wonton wrapper being deep fried. The filling, however, was not gooey melted cheese. Rather, it tasted like a mixture of cheese and crab sticks. We didn’t like it. In fact, Speedy ate one piece and left the rest for me to finish.
But how could we have been impressed if the appetizer was no good? Well, it was the only thing that wasn’t good. The rest of the food we ordered we enjoyed to the hilt with very minor exceptions. Never mind the not-too-imaginative plating. I don’t give points for plating anyway because plating contributes nothing to the flavor, texture and mouthfeel of the food.
For the main dish, I had lengua (ox tongue) while Speedy had the pork ribs. The lengua was melt-in-the-mouth tender. The white sauce generously poured over the meat slices was creamy and of the perfect consistency — thick enough to coat the meat but not too thick for lumps to form as it cooled. Both meat and sauce were sufficiently seasoned. The boiled green beans on top, I could have done without. They added nothing to the texture nor the flavor of the dish. Caramelized onions might have been a better idea.
Speedy’s ribs came with dirty rice and onion rings, the two side dishes of his choice. The ribs were superb — tender but moist meat with the fat so soft. The sauce was salty and sweet and very subtly spicy, the flavors blending together so well without killing the natural flavor of the meat. The dirty rice was good too. Sadly, the onion rings’ breading was too thick that the onion slices almost got lost inside. We prefer a much thinner and lighter coating.
With the food seasoned so well, it wasn’t surprising that the usual bottles of condiments and seasonings were absent from the tables. No dipping sauces were served with the food either — they would have been superfluous.
Happy with the meaty portion of our meal, we ordered dessert and coffee.
For dessert, it was cheesecake (but, of course!). Since we’re looking into going into the cheesecake business ourselves, we might as well check out what’s out there already. So, we had pastillas cheesecake and salted caramel cheesecake. Both were good, not too tall and not too dense. Personally, I prefer a more dense cheesecake but I have to admit that the interplay of saltiness and sweetness in both the pastillas cheesecake and salted caramel cheesecake was delectable.
On a scale of 1 to 10, we’d give Filio Bistro a 7 or even an 8.
For all that food, the bill amounted to PHP892.00 (about USD20.00).
Filio Bistro is at HI-5 Arcade, Sumulong Memorial Circle, Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo, Rizal.