So here I was, enjoying the sights at Nuvali and visiting Ayala Malls Solenad Cinemas. I had come here with a sinister purpose: to eat brunch while waiting for The Force to Awaken.  Yes, today is the launch of Ayala Malls Solenad’s movie theaters, and they are coinciding it with the premiere of the biggest movie event this year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

As the excitement over the movie came to a crescendo, we spotted the most awesome cosplay:

Such cute kids! I am proud of their parents, what fine geeks they are. The Force is strong in these little ones.
Such cute kids! I am proud of their parents, what fine geeks they are. The Force is strong in these little ones.

This ticket not only got me to watch The Force Awakens, which I discuss here, but also got me to eat free grub! It’s an awesome event, made even more awesome by some great hors d’oeuvres.

Cabalen catered the event, and they even left me their calling card. Having never actually eaten at Cabalen before, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t know if their catering menu is different from their buffet menu, but I’ll give my honest opinion as always.

Thank you Cabalen for sating my appetite prior to Awakening the Force.
Thank you Cabalen for sating my appetite prior to Awakening the Force.

 

And now what you’ve all been waiting for, the food!

These Little Barbecue rods are quite different.
These Little Barbecue rods are quite different.

I’m used to Pork Barbecue being sweet. This is different. It’s sour! The barbecue was firmly dipped in vingear. There’s some left in the cups at the bottom. It’s actually a refreshing taste, but I still prefer the sweetness of barbecue sauce.

This is their Lumpiang Shanghai. It's supposed to be pork.
This is their Lumpiang Shanghai. It’s supposed to be pork.

I tried the Lumpiang Shanghai as well. Surprisingly, this Shanghai was supposed to be pork only, but when I bit in it tasted of shrimp. The waiter denies it has any shrimp inside. Seeing as I didn’t have an allergic reaction, there might be some truth to what he has said. As it’s been on the buffet table for a while, the wrapper was already a bit soggy, but not a dock against them as this is simply the limitation of buffet food preparation.

The White Pancit is pretty good.
The White Pancit is pretty good.

Here is there Puting Pancit. Or White Pancit. Or whatever. It doesn’t have the typical yellowish cast you’d associate with pancit luglog, but don’t be deceived; it’s a very flavorful pancit. It’s sotanghon with garlic, green onions and more garlic. There’s a marinading sauce that seeped into the noodles while it was  being cooked, that tastes of soy sauce and garlic, but it must be a very light seasoning as it didn’t color the normally easy to stain sotanghon brown. It’s really white. Very interesting preparation.

 

Next is Fish Fingers with Tartar Sauce.
Next is Fish Fingers with Tartar Sauce.

The Fish Fingers were pretty standard. It’s some kind of white dory fish breaded, battered and fried, with some mayonnaise sauce on the side as tartar sauce.  The tartar sauce seems to just be standard mayo, I didn’t notice if they prepared it any differently. All in all, very good frying, even if it is let down by the limit of buffet freshness.

As a fish and chips lover, this was my favorite of the savory dishes, but that’s how my taste goes.

Pandesal with Kesong Puti.
Pandesal with Kesong Puti.

They also served some Pandesal. This pandesal is no ordinary pandesal… it has a secret hidden within! The kesong puti in theory should give it a very savory taste, but in practice the pandesal was pretty flat and forgettable. Many bites in I did not get any cheese, they did not evenly spread the cheese inside the pandesal. I would rather they slice them in half and evenly spread the cheese inside. It would make for a more uniform gastric experience.

And up next, my favorite! Dessert!

Banana Caramel Turon.
Banana Caramel Turon.

Turon is a well-loved staple here in the Philippines. This turon is quite fancy, being small, lined in sesame, and with some caramelized sugar at the bottom as a kind of dip. In practice, the caramel has long since dried so what you get is a stick of turon with one end heavily sugared, and the rest “normally” sugared.

That said, it’s still delicious. I packed on the calories eating a whole bunch of this!  While turon is always best eaten freshly fried, this one held the crispness quite well owing to the caramelized sugar holding its shape and crunchiness longer.

 

And finally, some Pichi Pichi.
And finally, some Pichi Pichi.

Pichi Pichi is a delicious affair. While I wouldn’t say this beats out Amber’s beloved pichi pichi, its suitably soft and chewy and draped in coconut. It’s very scrumptious. I could eat this all day. But I still prefer eating Amber’s cheese pichi pichi.

 

After the movie, we watched Star Wars. Be sure to check out the review as well! May the Force be with you.  It’s a good movie, so go head out to the theaters and watch!

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Posted by Erwin Anciano

Erwin has been eating food for the past 30 or so years. Yes, he actually thinks that makes him an expert on all things food-related.

Website: http://emuncher.com