Renzie Recommends: Abe at TriNoma.

From the same group (the LJC Restaurant Group, that is) that gave you other great restaurants like Cafe Havana, Cafe Adriatico and Bollywood, comes another great dining concept: Abe.

Abe first opened its doors in Serendra, and now another branch has opened in TriNoma. I was able to check out Abe at last Wednesday’s Bloggers’ Food Tour (organized by the good people of Yehey.com), along with other fine food establishments. Abe is definitely one of those restaurants that I’ve got to check out next time I’m at TriNoma.

The Man Behind The Name.

Abe is a kapampangan word for ‘friend’ or ‘companion’. Incidentally, it’s also the nickname of renaissance man Emilio Aguilar Cruz (1915-1991), father of Larry J. Cruz (who owns the restos, thus the LJC group, get it?).

Abe Cruz had been known to have traveled a lot, not just within the country, but all over the world- partly because of his position as ambassador for the UNESCO in the 70s. His travels have been the inspiration behind the various food dishes featured in the restaurant- so you’ll be treated to a wide selection of Abe’s favorite dishes from Binondo, Europe, the Ilocos, Chinatown or from the recipes of family friends.

Giving the restaurant its unique personality and ambiance are selections of Abe’s artwork and memorabilia- drawings, old photographs and collected pieces, mostly. So the resto has a warm, welcoming Filipino feel to it, nostalgic yet relaxing.


Specialties of the House.

Abe, for the most part serves favorite local dishes from the region of Pampanga: the Binukadkad na Crispy Pla-Pla (a large deep-fried tilapia fish splayed wide open), Kare-Kare (a tasty oxtail and tripe stew served with shrimp paste- great with lots of rice), Pastel de Lengua (tender and savory ox tongue cooked to perfection- matches very well with its pie crust topping), and Spicy Sisig Pampanga (minced pork jowl and chicken livers sautéed in garlicaccompanied nicely with ice-cold beer and good conversation).

From other regions comes the Gising-gising from Bicol, the Pinakbet from Ilocos, the Black Pata and Crispy Salted Shrimps from Chinatown, and the Cocido and the Morcon from our old Spanish past. Also included in the menu are really interesting dishes such as Gilda Cordero Fernando’s Lumpiang Pica-Pica and the Rellenong Mais– from a recipe shared by Thelma San Juan and her mom.

(We were fortunate to have sampled what Abe had to offer at the Bloggers’ Food Tour– my personal favorite is the Pork Binagoongan which I had with some rice, and with some of the lumpia and rellenong mais on the side.)

Where to Find Abe.

We visited Abe’s restaurant located on TriNoma’s third level. Aside from all the great food mentioned above, Abe also serves a variety of Filipino merienda favorites. The restaurant is open from 11am to 12 midnight. For reservations and inquiries, call them at 901-5691 to 92.

Alternately, you may want to visit the Abe at Serendra- located at the ground level of the Serendra Court. The number there is 856-0526.

Renzie Recommends is a continuing series of personal reviews of things I think you should try out. Covers various pop culture interests, leisure and recreation spots, restaurants and coffee shops, hotels, spas and resorts, and all things in between. Remember: work to live, and not the other way around- and don’t let anybody tell you differently!

Cheers, everyone!

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