BY RICKY MONTECILLO
August 15, 2016
When was the last time you ate Kare-kare cooked the long way, its peanut sauce made from fresh ground peanuts and not the short-cut and convenient way of using peanut butter?
Kare-Kare is a Filipino stew and a favourite national dish. Usually it is served with oxtail, pork hocks, pig feet or beef stew meat. It is served with string beans and egg plant. To spice the flavor, it is served with Bagoong, or salty shrimp paste.
Coming from a long road trip from Montemar Beach Club in Bagac, Bataan with friends, we went to Cafe Fleur in Angeles, Pampanga. The trip was long and tiring and we were famished by the time we arrived at L-463B Miranda St. Brgy Sto. Rosario, 2000 Angeles City, in the vicinity of the Holy Rosary Church (Santo Rosario Church). It was already sun down and it was going to be our “lunch”. My daughter said, “This better be good, I’m sooo hungry!”
Chef Sau Del Rosario, an esteemed and muti-awarded Filipino Chef, who is a native of Pampanga owns the restaurant.
Fortunately, Chef Sau’s close friend Ms. Tetta Tirona was with us and it was she who brought our group to the place. The Cafe occupies an old kapamgpangan (native of Pampanga) ancestral house, retrofitted and re-modelled as a Cafe and Restaurant.
We ate in the main dining hall on the second level. You climb up the antique wooden staircase which leads to the hall. The ceiling is typical of the old houses built during the Spanish occupation era, high ceiling with capiz windows all around. The flooring is still the original wooden planks. There is a simple yet stylish old chandelier for lighting.
The feel and ambience is very similar to the old structures in Unseco Heritage sites in Vigan Ilocos Norte.
And the food is just so exquisite. You just know it is cooked and prepared with the touch of class and excellence, from its flavour, taste and presentation. I ordered the Kare-kare of course, which I shared with my daughter Samantha and wife Tina. The sauce of the dish is so thick and delightful. Instead of the usual oxtail or beef stew, it is served with baked pork or lechon kawali, whose meat is very tender and juicy and the skin, crispy. Delicious, yummy, and definitely a block buster dish!
And guess what? For its classy ambience and mouth-watering dishes, it is surprisingly affordable.
Tetta and her husband Willy ordered the sinigang na sugpo. We also had Okoy or fried sprouts and shrimps with flour as appetisers. Samantha also ordered Pad Thai, which is also delicious.
Another must taste is the Tamales, another Kapampangan specialty made out of ground rice, peanut and coconut milk. Cafe Fleur’s Tamales is specially served in a glass container creatively prepared with some garnish. It is a perfect appetiser as a prelude to the sumptuous dinner.
For desert, we ordered the Lechemon. Shortcut for Leche flan and mamon. It’s the ultimate encore to our food concerto. Hmmmm! So sweet and yummy!
Dinner in Cafe Fleur by Chef Sau Del Rosario is simply heavenly!