I would never trust a politician, especially if he/she set up a restaurant (even if it was promoted by Sharon Cuneta herself). That's the reason why I've never been to Lamesa Grill, which opened in the SM Mall of Asia. Recently, though, the Lamesa Grill group (owned by Kiko Pangilinan and friends) opened the high-end Modern Filipino restaurant called MESA in Greenbelt 5.
I must humbly admit it is one of the best Filipino restaurants in Greenbelt in terms of price, ambiance, presentation of food and variety of Filipino dishes that we love (including suwahe, elephant clams and lechon). I wouldn't say that it is Filipino fusion. It is more of Filipino dishes with authentic flavor, but they are given a different twist in the presentation. It would be best to eat here family-style, where you pass the dishes around since the serving sizes are good for 2-3 persons.
For a group of 3-5 persons, you can reserve the booth tables, which are the best seats in the house. The restaurant is a bit crowded, so better reserve in advance.
Hito Flakes on Spoon (P180). Crispy pulled catfish with mango salad.
This was fun. Since this was a Greenbelt 5 restaurant, I was expecting they would only serve 4-5 pieces of Hito Flakes on Spoon but we got 10 instead. The flakes were topped with pickled mango and a dash of chili. Even if we removed the chili, the kids did not like this.
Seafood Bean Curd Wansoy Soup (P180). A flavorful broth of shrimp, mussels and squid, topped with cilantro.
The soup tasted clean and the seafood was fresh. The best part? It's good for 4-5 persons at P180 only.
Aidan gets bored a lot so sometimes he likes to draw. While waiting for the food, he started folding the ends of the Mesa paper placemats and doodled for a few minutes.
He was proud to present his doodles with a self-made frame. :)
River Shrimp (Suwahe) on the rocks (Rikki's Favorite) (P280).
This dish is cooked on the spot like steamed shrimp.
The shrimps are thrown onto a hot bed of rocks and covered for a few minutes. I like the idea of serving it on the rocks -- but P50 for each small shrimp is a bit expensive.
Salpicao Ostrich (P280). Ostrich tenderloin, the salpicao way.
This is another favorite. Ostrich is healthier than beef but sometimes it has a different smell when cooked. Salpicao is particularly good when you are eating it with rice or while you are drinking.
The best part is you can pair this with the Pinakurat Vinegar that comes in sweetened and super spicy variants. We also love the sweet Garlic Chili Peanut Sauce that was served as a standard condiment on all of the tables.
Laing 2 Ways (P120). Taro leaves, pork, shrimp paste and coconut cream topped with adobo flakes, served original and crispy.
We always try to order vegetables when we eat out. Our comment here? They don't know how to make the original laing but we like their crispy version.
Tinapa Rice (P150). Stir-fried rice tossed with smoked fish flakes and topped with tomatoes and red salted egg.
We ordered the Tinapa rice and a few cups of plain rice to complete the Filipino eating experience.
Mesa is highly recommended for family gatherings, especially with balikbayans. You can order their Crispchon served 2 ways - wrapped in pandan crepe and tossed in chili garlic. You can also order a whole lechon for P3,999, 1/2 lechon for P1,999, 1/4 lechon for P1,099 and 1/6th for P799.