Just another day of food blogging.

This time a Latin food trip. It has been my desire to explore other dishes, other than oriental, to delve better on other cultures.
Last weekend, I took a chance to join some colleagues on a dinner out. And though my appetite spins a bit when Mexican comfort dishes come into the picture (I’ve reservations over nachos because it smells like shawarma, something I vowed never to eat again), I was thrilled when Jeff told me the dinner would be at Silantro in UP Town Center. 
Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina serves Mexican concoctions. But while it is touted to be originally created under the influence of the local culture, the serving mode is highly westernized. Bulky. And neither the taste has a comparison to any regional Filipino fare. It was thoroughly Mexican. And, was it Latin? I wonder.

Beef Quesadillas Php160.00

Paella Fajita mix Php250.00
We tried several selections: Paella, Nachos, Quesadillas, Calliente Wings, Fritas and Burritos. No, we were not on a glutton brigade, we just love to eat hearty meal. And, man, I’ve no penchant over spicy food with the smell of nachos and pungent herbs! So when each dish was laid on the table and the whiff of those piquant spices hits my nostril, it felt like something in my stomach had twisted!.

Beef Nachos Php160.00

But I was perfectly fine while devouring the dishes. I am a certified gastronome adventurer whose appetite rarely tumbles over strange smell on food. I could eat whatever is laid on the table for the first time, without getting sick in the abdomen. So everything went well on that beautiful Saturday evening. We'd a lot of laughter while sharing meal. 

I love food. I love to eat. I love exploring new dishes. And I always enjoyed dining out with familiar people. It makes the whole food adventure really fun and cozy, never mind the long period of waiting on the queue just to grab a vacant seat.

Papi's Fritas Php130

Silantro takes pride on their yummy Papi's Fritas, a fusion of pan-fried potatoes, delicate herbs and spices and drizzled with rich lip-smacking melted cheese! So delightful that when you scoff it, the gooey cheese will slink over to your mouth. Creaminess at its finest!

Silantro's Burrito Php180.00
Another Silantro's best is the beef burrito, which everyone has been raving about. Though I only took a few bite (because I am not into meat), this type of burrito is really gratifying. Prepared on a paella-styled dish with a fusion of beef chunks, rice, vegetables and wrapped in soft pita, this dish satiates hunger if you're looking for a complete meal.  
However, my honest take on the recipes might not be favorable. Paella, for instance. Yeah, Paella. We’ve known this dish as a Spanish original recipe. But at Silantro, the Paella did not taste like there was a trace of EspaƱol influence on it (or was it my taste bud only?) nor come nearer to its recipe cousin, arros valenciana. It seems like something was missing on the mixture. The spike of some spices perhaps, and the savory pinch. It was simply rice, coated with chili powder, pepper and seasonings. Even the mussles never tasted savory at all.

Calliente Wings Php205.00
Calliente Wings (sweet and spicy chicken wings) did not successfully capture my fantasy over some delightful-chicken-new-recipe-finds. Aside from its really hot tad, the absence of some flavorful tang on the recipe made my oriental appetite flinched. But everyone in the group appreciated this fare and savored every piece of the dish. So I guess this dish is perfect for Mexican food aficionados.
But I like the quesadillas. Thoroughly Mexican. The rich tomato salsa and all the goodness of Mejicano dish ingredients were delicately mixed and wrapped in soft tortilla pleats. And it was top with peeved potatoes. Good earth, luscious! 
I’ve misgivings over Latin food because I find the thick tomato salsa and the smell of nachos very revolting, but the potions of quesadillas and fritas with all the goodness of guacamole salsa, light tart, creaminess and spices capture interest. It went on some varieties. Flavorful but not too spicy. Cheesy but not too creamy. And these characteristics of most Mexican food were on the dishes at Silantro.
The good side of Silantro is its very generous serving. In fact, each order can already be shared by three persons. And very affordable! So far the cheapest I’ve tried for a continental fare. Indeed, diners can devour anything they want in the menu without ruining their budget.
The downside of this restaurant at their UP Town Center branch, however, is the service. A bit annoying. Okay, there was a bulk of diners streaming to the restaurant when we got there, tables were quickly filled in, prompting customers to stand outside, painstakingly waiting for some vacancy. It’s fine. Everyone can wait. Patience can be stretched. But the management should have at least anticipated the overwhelming flow of the crowd and had foreseen the bottleneck of a tight space on a weekend!
We ended up like queuing for Star Wars or Wonder Woman, with a throng of people fidgeting with us. We waited for almost an hour! When we finally had our turn to occupy a table, another disappointment seethed in. With hunger pangs already rising and falling beneath our gut, our precious food still nowhere in sight. 
It took almost 30 minutes before our orders were served. And it was not until we followed up like, four times! Oh, customer service. Anyway, when each plate was laid (it was served on interval. My God! Why those precious orders could not just be put down altogether? Felt like the kitchen of Queen Elizabeth II where royal servants served the food on queue!), the sumptuous appearance of food and the modish plating thoroughly thawed the annoyance I silently felt.

Usually, when I get home and thought about the food I’ve just taken, I would often recall which among the dishes captured my curiosity, something that made me want to go back to the resto. With Silantro, I could not think of anything,other than Papi's fritas. Not that all the selections I tasted sounded terrible but because Mexican dishes are not really on my card. 
However, it was gratifying to finally try Mexican comfort food! Though Mejicano dishes rarely fascinate me, dropping by at a Mexican restaurant has been on my mind for quite sometime now. Been hearing a lot about the goodness of quesadillas, enchilladas, tortillas and fajitas while still hooked watching Mexican soap operas some years back. And it was good to finally try some of the specialties.

The taste couldn't be considered as something new because Mexican dishes shared something in common with Spanish cuisine, which is a very familiar taste to Filipinos. The fusion is very rustic. Felt like striding back in time, to colonial days where Spanish paella, pomodoro and enchilladas also dominated the dining tables of most Filipinos. 
For Latin food junkies, the savory recipes at Silantro are really worth of a repeat visit. Dishes were good. Yes, in fairness to the restaurant’s chef. Flavorful and lip-smacking. Because most potions were cheesy. And cheesy concoctions always pacify hunger and irritation. At least on my part. I always believe that cheese and creamy concoctions are tonics for a disgruntled spirit. 
And yes, nachos (did I say nachos? :-D) even if I detested the offensive smell, the melted cheese saved the day. Moreover, I like chips! All those big savory triangular crispy cuts that creased in my mouth as it crashed. Delish!
Overall, Silantro’s selections of Mexican fare are satiating. And if you’re on some tasty Latin cuisine exploits, and provided you can tolerate the agonizing moment of waiting while stomach grumbles, this branch at UP Town Center is an ideal dining choice. However, if you’re on a hurry, very hungry and have a tendency to be impatient, I guess you need to think twice. And look somewhere else. The place is very crowded during weekends. You will really hit the roof while waiting for a vacant space.
Nonetheless, it’s a good place to feast on Mexican comfort food without getting overboard in spending. Silantro offers an enormous serving of all items in the menu at reasonable prices. A budget-friendly restaurant, indeed, for every gourmand.