Rediscovering Pinoy: The Name Game at 1521

By Mariko on 31 March, 2009

Potchero Tankero from 1521
Potchero ni Tankeko: A Bestseller

It had been a while since Mother and I had a date, so I invited her to (KKB) lunch at 1521. I figured that if any dining companion would appreciate Pinoy food, it would be her.

When I got there, she had already started on her Kamias Cooler (P65). She would have wanted it a bit sweeter, but decided not to ask for syrup so that she could at least say that she had something healthy. Her comment? “It’s something different. Akala ko pang-sinigang lang ‘to. Pwede palang gawing juice!” Iced tea girl that I am, I ordered their House Blend Iced Tea (P65), which, I was told, had lemon and mango. It tasted very familiar–a lot like Almigh-tea, having hints of vanilla in there.

Much has been said about the witty names of the dishes served up at this fun Filipino resto, so I didn’t expect to be as amused as, say, a more clueless diner. But I was surprised when quite a few names still made me (and Mother) chuckle. A couple of my favorites: Dual Citizen na Chicken and Oy! Oy! Oy! Batchoy! I imagined the restaurant owner one night prior to opening the resto, sitting around with friends (possibly with beers in hand), trying to outdo each other with funny food names. Whoever came up with “Pinakbet-ter than Best” deserves a prize, in my book!

Bad Banana Chips from 1521
Bad Banana Chips. Caution: Hot!

As we read through the menu, we munched on some Bad Banana Chips–and I don’t mean that they sucked. They were just so named because these weren’t your regular sweet banana chips; instead, the spicy slivers were coated with salt and chili. A lot like the usual mani served as pulutan. And because I am a lover of all things spicy, I really really liked this appetizer–especially since a small plate was given, on the house!
A lot of people have raved about the Potchero ni Tankeko (P265), and Mother was raring to try it, so try it we did. It’s not your typical potchero in that the sauce is thicker than average–described by the menu as a “mush of yams, plantains, tomato sauce, and vegetables.” “Mush” is indeed the best way to describe it. While some people may be put off by the consistency, the mushiness might be the reason the flavors seem so infused.

Longga-Kalabasa Carbonara from 1521
Pasta made Pinoy

People generally have high praises for 1521’s Pinoy classics, so I wanted to see if their other offerings were just as satisfying. I thus ordered the Longga-Kalabasa Carbonara (P220). This Pinoy take on pasta had sliced Tagalog longganisa over spaghetti coated with what was supposed to be a creamy squash sauce. While the longganisa was wonderfully garlicky, the pasta itself was actually rather dry. I was hoping for something a bit creamier. I would also have preferred smaller longga slices–I found myself chopping each piece up into three or four smaller pieces.
Leche Flan from 1521
The Leche Flan: A Sweet Ending

To end our meal, Mother opted for a simple Leche Flan (P80 for a solo serving). As it was set before me, I could already smell the lemon-y zing. Mother took one bite and remarked, “Ganito ‘yung leche flan namin sa probinsya, may dayap.” The citrus flavor added a different dimension to this old standby, tempering the incredible sweetness of the custard.

The service was great (Mother described the resto as “customer-friendly”), the food was unique, yet familiar and comforting. But the best thing about the resto is probably the creative names. What’s in a name, you ask? Well, a humorous one can bring out a smile or even a guffaw. And any time you start a meal with a good laugh, then it’s bound to be a good experience.

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 31, 2009 11:16 PM

    Franco said...

    Mariko, Great Photos. :)

    Makes me want to go back to 1521. Right Now!

  • APRIL 1, 2009 3:34 AM

    Anonymous said...

    I have not been to Manila since 1945. But the one desert that I always crave and anyone joins our clan is Leche Flan. I could eat a whole pot full. I am a diabetic now but whenever I get a chance to go to a Filipino store that is what I get as I don't know how to make it. Now I have other foot desires but those I can cook. Pansit, sinigang, pork adobo, lumpia, garbanzo menudo, and mongo beans. I love lecheon but i had a cousin who could cook pork to taste like lechono but he died before he could show me how to do it. I love Filipino cooking blogs. Roz (CA)

  • APRIL 1, 2009 11:23 AM

    Mariko said...

    Hey Franco, thanks! I can't take credit for the lighting though.

    Hullo, Anon! Thank you for visiting Table for Three, Please! I think leche flan is relatively easy to prepare; I'm sure you'll find loads of recipes on the net. (Marketman even experimented with different ingredients--you might want to check it out.) My lola (may she rest in peace) used to make one that was incomparable. I remember watching her, in awe of how she would deftly separate the yolks from the whites.

    Oh, and perhaps it's about time for a homecoming.:)

  • APRIL 1, 2009 9:08 PM

    Bee said...

    Those banana chips look absolutely yummy!!!

  • APRIL 2, 2009 3:39 PM

    ragamuffin girl said...

    Haha funny names. When I used to run Lokal at Libis with friends many moons ago we had funny names as well... think Chikenini (Chicken Sisig), Pinaputok na Kesong Puti (Triangles of Crispy Cheese shaped like the firecracker), Lecheng Flan, Anak ng Tokwa and many many more... I still have a copy of our menu and when I need a laugh I look at it. Pinoys are so creative, doncha think?

  • APRIL 7, 2009 12:51 AM

    solraya said...

    Featuring the Chef today made me go back to this post. Coincidence is I have to make a delivery to Mandaluyong. I hope to time it for lunch :)

  • AUGUST 21, 2009 2:23 AM

    jadedfork said...

    hello! just discovered your site as i scout for manila restaurants for my next trip home.

    i am loving all your 1521 posts! Will definitely check it out.

  • AUGUST 30, 2012 10:37 PM

    Rediscovering Pinoy: The Name Game at 1521 ‹ 1521 Restaurant said...

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