Being of Spanish descent, the word Zarzuela is but second nature to me. I know how then, the Spanish era had influence on what we had as Filipinos and "Zarzuela" was their form of entertainment. It was a play on lyrics and drama. From Baroque to Romantic - all that Filipinos adore. At the posh Shangrila Mall located in Shaw, the new East Wing houses that same name. Zarzuela, and it promises now to be a play on Filipino cuisine. We tried this out a few days ago.
It was a sunny afternoon and the windows provide ample ambient light. It was like spending your lunch time in a sunny LA Cafe but inside the mall + it's air conditioned. You can opt to have the bunker chairs near the window or these single wicker ones over light classic wooden tables. Everything's sturdy and lines, colors and aesthetics are simple. Not too fancy, and without runners or table cloth.
There were simple art work framed in walls and small flowers on each table. I would have loved to have fresh ones but that would probably be a little pricey so that's given. Men and women serving were clad in Orange and Beige ensembles, the place was spick and span. Very classy, muted music was also played in the background. Quite nice.
As for outside seating, they have these tables adjacent to their restaurant but it's not really outside per ce. It's still inside the mall. If you prefer a relaxed setting and do my favorite activity called "people watching" then this is probably the best place you could dine. Overall, the interiors are simple and clean. Nothing too out of this world and classy. Now let's talk about the food. ☺
We were all thirsty since it was 36 degrees outside so we ordered drinks first. We are so smart I tell you LOL.
I ordered Calamansi Shake which was really refreshing and nice to have on this scorching hot weather; and the other is Mango Shake, not too sweet, a bit tangy but perfectly cold (which I love). Just ask them to blitz it a bit longer so you won't have problems sipping on bending straws.
Pusit Tisay - I think I've seen this somewhere in Batangas/Pampanga but I couldn't put my foot on it. This is sauteed in onions, tomatoes, spring onions, possibly a little ginger, water and vinegar. No ink on it so it bares the name "Tisay" which means "white complexion". It's a refreshing take on the usual Pusit, and its good for those craving for homey seafood.
Beef Tapa - Think about thin crispy strips of beef that melts in your mouth. A cup of hot white rice and vinegar plus home made atchara just finishes this dish. So good. So good. =) This was my favorite among all the things served that afternoon, and I highly recommend you indulge on this.
Smoked Sardine Efuven - Mom cooks this for me. It was refreshing to see it on a restaurant setting. I know how this was made with egg noodles, Sardines and the usual stuff to saute. Topped with garlic, bangus bits and spring onions; you just remember Bacolod all over again.
Fountain of Youth - They say it's "Pampabata" because this one doesn't care whatever age you are. Thin crispy strips of pork belly fat dredged in a seasoned flour based batter dipped in condiments green mango, bagoong dip and tomato vinaigrette... just was sinful. Hot rice plus this is heaven, but make sure you're not high blood... you know what that means LOL.
Munggo Sabaw Susyal - A hot pot of Munggo with chorizo bits, chili leaves, olive oil and drops of balsamic vinegar, how can you go wrong with that? This with the hot rice is amazing. You'll just feel at home.
Crab and Shrimp Relleno - High grade crab meat and shrimp made into small patties served with calamansi hollandais sauce. It was necessary to pair it with something that tangy. I'm allergic to seafood but I couldn't just let this pass. Getting to taste this was one good experience. Not too salty and you can really taste the crab and shrimp that its got.
Pinangat - Young gabi leaves that's layered with pork belly and cooked slowly in rich, thick coconut cream then poured with olive oil. It's one of the things vegetarians should look for but with the pork belly, it's a treat for every member in the family. I like how soft it was but it would probably matter if you had this hot. Eat it once you have it on your table. Really good.
Savor Maruya - Breaded Fried Banana fritters with melted caramel, chocolate syrup, and while its hot.. add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. You just watch it melt while this sweet concoction drives you nuts because its so good I'd rather not have it shared. :) I want it all for my self!
Four owners, wanted you to have the best of what their families had on the menu of Zarzuela. It's a whole performance on its own. It's got highs, lows and its own drama. The romanticism is unraveled on each plate of homey, non pretentious comfort food that has been passed through generations and served on their tables. Find out what makes people come back; bring your office mates, business meetings, family or friends to the restaurant. Because you deserve to have good food and good company which this place promises. Drop by the 6th Floor on the new East Wing of Shangrila Mall and experience the romance the day brings when you play with Filipino flavors at Zarzuela.
For more information
Please visit their Restaurant
Zarzuela Shangri-La Plaza Mall
6/F Shangri-La Plaza Mall, East Wing,
EDSA cor Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong