Rediscovering Pinoy: 1521 Tries to Reinvent Pinoy Classics

By Guest on 21 March, 2009

I love Pinoy food. In fact, whenever I travel abroad, I can only last a week without Pinoy fare before I start pining away for adobo, sinigang and tinolang manok. So when I was told that 1521 offers some of the best-tasting Pinoy food ever, well, then I just had to go check it out!

1521 is along Shaw Blvd in Mandaluyong City, and just a minute or two from Shangri-la Plaza Mall. If you’re driving fast from EDSA, you’ll definitely miss it. The restaurant is tiny and modest. You’ll find it if you’re looking for the huge signs of its neighbors, Mr. Poon and Pan de Pugon. Parking is limited. Inside, the decor is very quaint but the service is sweet. While the place may look very stark, I loved that the plates are rimmed in gold!

My husband and I found the menu amusing. With names like Daimos (or daing na bangus in miso) and Munggo ng Mayaman (or your usual monggo bean stew but with prawns), we were more than ready to get entertained as well as fed!


We began our heavy lunch with Sisig na Masigasig (P230). It’s sisig all right–crunchy, crispy and bad for you–but served in a ceramic leaf bowl and not on a hot metal plate sizzling away. We were a bit disappointed not to hear and see and smell any sizzling but since it tasted fantastic anyway, we give the masigasig sisig a 4 out of 5.


Next, we dined on Potchero ni Tankeko (P265). We got this because the owner’s name is Tanke Tankeko so if his name’s on it, it has to be good. And it actually was quite satisfying. The saba was crushed to a pulp, the potatoes were fried, the greens were crisp and fresh, and the meat was practically melting off the bone. Definitely gets a score of 5. I also think I can start a serious affair with that eggplant side dish!


While my hubby relied on dear old Coca-Cola for refreshment, I decided to try the much recommended Pipino Mint Cooler (P65). It was an interesting experience. It tasted like, well, cucumber and mint–a bracing drink indeed but it also tasted too salad-y to me. I’m sure this drink will be devoured by health-food fans but between this and a cold glass of water, I’d rather have water. I’m giving it a 3.


For dessert, I had the Bucoco Pandan (P90). It’s your typical buko-pandan delight but what I found really wonderful about this cup of yumminess was the unexpected sprinkle of cheese on top. The cheese melts in your mouth and adds just a touch of saltiness to your sweet and creamy dessert. The result: a 3D taste! Its score is an enthusiastic 5.


The husband, meanwhile, had the Frozen Tropical Yoghurt in Chocolate-eh (P85).Okay, we heard a lot of good things about this dessert but, to be honest, it was much too thick and rich for us. One mouthful and we were drowning in chocolate. We felt it needed something to balance the sultry sweetness, like churros or a big dollop of vanilla ice cream. My husband, who belongs to a more upper class society than I do, assures me that this is what chocolate-eh — forever made famous by Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere as a drink served to the sosyal — really is supposed to be: profoundly rich. Since I was raised on Milo (or as a friend once teased, “You don’t get it because you’re an indio!”), well, I just couldn’t appreciate it so I’ll give it a 2.

What we do appreciate is the presentation of well-loved recipes as fun food. Most of us now shun our classic Pinoy fare for the hundreds of new cuisines and fusion menus available in our cosmopolitan city. But with 1521‘s brave quest to promote the familiar and loved, Pinoy cuisine is in very good hands.

Franco Note: Much Thanks to France Amper-Sales of Topaz Horizon.

1521 Restaurant
547 Shaw Boulevard

Brgy. Wack-Wack

Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila

Telephone: (02) 794 0433


*Ed’s note:

1521 has since relocated to:
1521 Restaurant
Forbes Town Center
Forbes Town Rd
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(02) 552-1909

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  • MARCH 24, 2009 7:44 AM

    Gina said...

    Potchero ni Tankeko isn't much to look at but I've heard and read so much about it...all of it good. 1521 is on top of my list of places to try. Did anyone try the shake made with kamias?

  • MARCH 24, 2009 7:57 AM

    S-H-Y said...

    WOW ginutom tuloy ako dito sa blog and beside miss ko na ang Filipino recipe..

  • MARCH 25, 2009 5:54 AM

    Ad Guy said...

    If the Tanke Tankeko that owns the restaurant is the same one I know, then the owner is a she and not a he :-) She's also one of the advertising industry's most infamous creative directors.

  • APRIL 1, 2009 11:30 AM

    Mariko said...

    Hi Gina! I took a sip of my mom's Kamias Cooler (see related post, "The Name Game at 1521") and it was alright. Kamias lovers would appreciate the sour drink. Personally, my taste buds tend to seek sweet beverages so it wasn't quite my thing.

  • SEPTEMBER 12, 2010 11:09 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Yes, tankeko is a she not a he. Personal knowledge.

  • AUGUST 30, 2012 10:36 PM

    Rediscovering Pinoy: 1521 Tries to Reinvent Pinoy Classics ‹ 1521 Restaurant said...

    [...]  Read the original review here. [...]

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