Dining Out

Filio Bistro’s 1st anniversary dinner

Filio Bistro’s 1st anniversary dinner | casaveneracion.com

The invitation to the 1st anniversary dinner of Filio Bistro came about a month ago. The affair was primarily to thank bloggers who have written about the place. As a rule, I don’t accept invitations to blogger events but I said yes to Filio owner, Diana Lee. Two reasons. Diana and I have been e-mailing after I wrote the review and she sounded like a person I’d like to get to know. Diana is a fellow lawyer and we live in the same boondock. Lawyers who give up law practice in favor of a food-related business are, to me, very interesting people.

The second reason is the blogger, another lawyer, from whose blog I first learned about Filio Bistro. Her name is Karen and she is also from Antipolo. It would be nice to meet her too.

So, I said yes. Diana encouraged me to bring my family and we were all excited. Then, Alex got sick and up until the day before the dinner date, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to go. In fact, just an hour before we were to embark on the 10-minute drive to Filio Bistro, Alex felt we should just leave her behind. But she had a change of heart. Perhaps, the memory of her previous meal at Filio Bistro had a lot to do with it. For whatever reason, she wrapped herself in a thick jacket and decided she was going with us.

To my surprise, the only other blogger present was Karen who came with her daughter. The other invitees are not Antipolo residents and it’s a long and arduous drive from the metro so they had to decline. All’s well that ends well. The dinner turned out to be an intimate affair, we ate, we chatted and we swapped what I can only describe as lawyer jokes.

And what did we eat? Heck, a lot.

It started with appetizers. Chicharon with the texture of bagnet (above) with vinegar dipping sauce.

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Then, a plate of Chinese sausages doused with pesto.

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There was a dish of deep fried tofu cubes tossed with a sauce similar to teriyaki.

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The appetizers were followed by the main dishes.

Sam, the vegetarian, was served a specially-prepared grilled vegetable sandwich. See, when Diana said to bring my whole family, I had to give her advance notice that one of my daughters is vegetarian. Filio Bistro is not a vegetarian restaurant and if there’s nothing for Sam, I might as well feed her first at home and she could just have dessert at Filio. Diana assured me that it won’t be a problem and there’d be something for Sam. It would be an understatement to say that I appreciated that grilled vegetable sandwich. More importantly, Sam loved it.

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For us omnivores, there were five main dishes, none of which we have tried before. These are new items in Filio’s menu especially packaged for the student population of De La Salle Antipolo. The De La Salle campus moved to a new location and is now within walking distance of Filio. The 99ers menu simply means that every item is PHP99.00.

Which among the five did I like best?

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The pork inasal, hands down. Why? Lemongrass in the marinade. It was just lovely. Alex would comment later that Filio’s inasal tasted and smelled like the food at the famous Aida’s in Bacolod. That’s a bigger compliment than two thumbs up.

The Southern fried chicken, I didn’t get to try. Speedy and Alex finished it while I was busy cracking jokes about the billboards of a real estate developer here in Antipolo. According to Speedy, the chicken’s crust was good and the frying was obviously done by someone who understands frying because the chicken wasn’t greasy at all.

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The adobo confit was a dream. The pork fat has that melt-in-mouth sensation, the taste and smell of vinegar were not overpowering and the adobo flavors reached deep into the innermost portions of the meat. The fried garlic bits sprinkled over the pork made me smile. I do that too as the crunchy little buggers provide such a nice finishing touch to adobo.

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The chicken burger was breaded chicken fillet — not the inexplicable mush that chicken nuggets and most fast food chicken burgers are made of.

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The meatballs are listed as Swedish meatballs in the menu. They’re more Scotch eggs than Swedish meatballs and they were wonderful! The ground meat that wrapped the hard-boiled eggs was well-seasoned and obviously contained enough fat to give it that succulent texture and prevent it from acquiring that cardboard taste that almost always afflicts too-lean ground meat.

Then, there were the extras that went with the five main dishes.

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Camaron rebosado was served. I don’t normally touch shrimps because of an allergy but camaron rebosado has no shrimp heads nor juices from pounded shrimp heads and shells so I took a chance. Just one piece, I said. Hah! Nothing bad happened to my stomach.

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Had I known that there would be a second dish with shrimp, I would have said “pass” to the camaron rebosado to sample the dish in the photo above. I felt that the slices were all screaming “Eat me! Eat me!” but I didn’t dare after finishing an entire piece of camaron rebosado. Speedy said they were good.

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And then, there was dessert to go with our coffee. After Sam repeatedly gave my food photography failing grades, I told her to take photos of the dessert.

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Before we called it a night, we had took group photos. Well, Speedy took the photos because he and the girls did not want to join in. Hmmmm… Karen’s daughter didn’t join us either. From left, Karen (of Lakbay Mesa), Filio Bistro owner Diana Lee, me and the three chefs responsible for last night’s superb dinner.

My family and I look forward to more meals at Filio Bistro. It’s becoming our go-to place here in Antipolo.

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