10 September 2011

A Place for Happy Tummies: Banchetto Forum

Last Thursday I was supposed to have a quiet dinner with two girl friends. We ended up going all the way from Manila to Banchetto in Pioneer with a few other friends and having a very rowdy dinner. Good choice! :D

Friends who eat together stay friends forever.
I've been to Banchetto before but in Emerald Street in Ortigas which I think was a larger food fair with more participating booths, unless I was just being fooled by the different layout. 

Like most food fairs, there was a good variety of food: a selection of grilled meat, the usual street food (fishballs/squidballs/kikiam etc), isaw and the likes, pasta, pizza (a big WTF for Sbarro though, if I wanted to eat that I'd go to a mall thankyouverymuch), jumbo burgers and lots of meal sets which for me were fairly similar to those sold in mall food courts. There was a huge selection of desserts too but I'll talk about that later. 

What first caught my tastebud fancy? GRANADA for 10 bucks apiece.

Green Chili Peppers filled with Mozarella, rolled in lumpia wrapper and fried to a crisp.
HOT. And really explosive. Yummy.
I first had this at Oarhouse Pub (their version was sans the spring roll wrapper and was called Jesus Christ Chili Peppers) and I was hooked even though it was expensive (Php 70 for 3 pieces). Then Chicken Charlie offered it (they called it Cheesestick Dynamite) for about P12 per piece, but theirs were minis compared to these. Super sulit! I'd go back for that alone. 

There was a lot of yummy-looking food there, and cheap too (like the 100-peso mac 'n cheese, chicken roll and mashed potato combo) but we wanted something we couldn't get easily in mall restaurants and the hospital cafeteria where we ate most of the time. In the end we decided to gorge ourselves on our favorite street-food.

Granada, my burnt beef kebab, and chicken and pig intestines
I had the beef kebab (which they burnt but it still tasted good enough so whatevs) which cost Php80 without rice. The sauce was delicious! I found it a little expensive though, because the last time I went to Banchetto Emerald my friend Red bought a really juicy beef kebab for Php 40! Haha. Cheapskate.

My other friends had isaw manok, isaw baboy and betamax (grilled chicken intestines, pork intestines and coagulated pork blood) for Php 25 per stick. The sticks were huuuge and the intestines tasted "clean", so they were satisfied.

The boys were still hungry after that so they bought Buy One Take One hungarian sausages for Php150. I still say it's a little expensive but the sausages were very good daw

Then came our favorite part of the meal. Dessert!

There are a lot of dessert choices in Banchetto: there were Crepes from Crepapips (which I heard were to-die-for, but I just had crepes in Cafe Breton that afternoon), and stalls selling cakes and pastries everywhere. P bought a chocolate cake which looked mouthwatering, but tasted just like Regent's Dream Cake which you can buy for Php5. Haha. (Message me and I'll tell you which booth it came from.) We bought our cakes from Med Chef which I first saw in Mercato Centrale on my way out. One of the best food decisions we made. 

A week or so ago, we've been reminiscing about our first few years in med school and where we used to hangout and eat. One of our favorite desserts then was the chocolate-caramel cake from an eatery near campus, so naturally we gravitated towards this one:

Med Chef's Moist Chocolate Cake
Moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and caramel sauce. Heavenly. :)
The other cakes looked so appetizing though, that we decided to choose one cake each and share.

Smores Cake, Moist Chocolate Cake, Best Ever Banana Cake, Carrot Cake
All of them were yummy! I like banana cakes, and I must say their "Best Ever Banana Cake" is really the best ever I've tasted. The carrot cake was really good too, but W ate his so fast I only got a bite. I'll certainly buy their cakes again and take a few home for my mom from whom I got my sweet tooth. Hehe. Plus I want a taste of their red velvet cake and the cake tower too!

The cakes made us very happy. 
The name "MedChef" doesn't hurt its popularity among us either. 
We wanted to try out more, but we were really full. All of us were satisfied too, and happy with what we ate. We're going back next week for Round 2. :)

Banchetto currently operates in 3 venues (Libis, Forum/Pioneer and Megatent), 4 times a week. Check out BanchettoManila.com or their Multiply for the monthly schedule.

What I liked I've always liked food markets and the variety it offers. A lot of good food, relatively cheap, and if you're with friends, there's something for everyone in the group.

What I didn't like Tables are difficult to come by (the place is packed!) so you'll have to do some hovering for a while.

How good is the food? 7-8/10. It really varies depending on who's selling the food. A word of caution: how it looks is not necessarily how it tastes. But you can always ask for a taste before you buy. A lot of stalls offer it, particularly those offering desserts. Don't be shy!

Price Php 100 can feed you well, but there are also more expensive offerings.

Not a lot of pictures, because I was too busy eating hahaha and the food on our tables started disappearing into people's stomachs before I can get my camera out! Maybe next time. ;)

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