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July 27, 2016

DOWNTOWN CAFÉ: Comforting Kampampangan Flavors Enjoyed Retro-Style!

July 27, 2016

DOWNTOWN CAFÉ: Comforting Kampampangan Flavors Enjoyed Retro-Style!





As featured in PAMPANGA: Top 10 Most Awesome Restaurants in Pampanga! (2016)

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Formerly called 1956 DOWNTOWN CAFÉ, this retro-style eatery does not only signify Chef Claude Tayag’s date of birth, but also the era he holds dearest to him. Peace times helped build a bigger middle class and establish businesses and entertainment centers, which Kapampangans would come to refer to as Downtown.

Going “downtown” meant spending quality time with family or friends at local shopping malls, restaurants, and cinemas after Sunday mass. Now in 2016, with life more hectic and too focused on moving forward, people have forgotten the value of slowing down to embrace the past and present. In light of this, Downtown Café is a perfect way to step back and appreciate the golden years of honest Kapampangan food.

DOWNTOWN CAFÉ
The Quad at Nepo, Nepo mart, Plaridel St, 2009 Angeles City
Operation hours: 
Monday to Sunday--10AM to 10PM
Email: downtown1956cafe@yahoo.com.ph
Mobile: +63 917 535 9198
Website: www.baledutung.com
Facebook: 1956 Downtown Café

Related blog posts:

BALE DUTUNG: Claude Tayag's Legendary 5 Ways Lechon Degustacion in Pampanga!





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The café interiors are adorned with 50’s and 60’s memorabilia, with the likes of the beautiful Gloria Romero and vintage Coca-Cola graphics, which should make our Baby Boomer readers feel instantly at home!

 

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DOWNTOWN CAFÉ MENU: All Day Breakfast | Appetizers, Salads & Snacks | Soups & House Specialties | Rice to the Occasion | Pancit & Noodles | What's Up, Duck? | Side Orders | Desserts | Beverages

Most of the items here are in an affordable P200-P400 range with decent servings that are great for sharing.

Prices are inclusive of 5% VAT

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

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Trianggulos (P225). 8 pieces of friend samosas filled with tinapa, spinach, kesong puti, pili nut, served with tomato sofrito dip.

We fell in love with the dominant Tinapa flavors and how the Kesong Puti and Pine Nuts add a hint of creaminess to the ensemble. Perfect!

 

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Be liberal with the tasty Sofrito dip of garlic, onion, and tomato.

 

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BESTSELLER: Crispy Crablets with Pure Talangkâ on Rice (P238). Crab fat paste, sofrito, fried crablets.

We can’t express how much we love this rice--it can stand alone as a meal, but can easily be paired with every other specialty on the menu!

 

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The rice is made with Chef Claude’s homemade “Claude 9” Taba ng Talangka and sofrito with white rice. Add a small spritz of calamansi to bring out the seafood flavors.

(Note: you can ask for brown rice instead of white.)

 

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BESTSELLER: Crispy Aromatic Spring Duck (P620). Homemade secret 9-spice dry rub with mandarin pancakes, mango salsa, and hoisin sauce.

While the dish looks dry at first, you’ll be surprised by how melt-in-your mouth and flavorful the spring duck is! This bird is a signature staple of Pampanga due to the rise of duck farming in Candaba.

 

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Eat this Peking Duck-style with the mandarin pancakes, hoisin sauce, salsa, and cucumber, or enjoy it with with rice--either way is an experience that comforts any hungry soul. Highly recommended!

 

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Pork Belly Adobo Confit (P220). Salted and slow-cooked for 2 hours to a crisp. Served with grilled eggplant and mango salsa.

Our humble adobo is elevated to gourmet levels through slow-cooking and French techniques. The pork belly is rendered in its own fat (confit) and simmered for 2 hours on low heat. The result is a perfectly cooked, juicy slab of meat with an ultra crisp outer layer.

Enjoy the pork belly with the savory liver Adobo sauce and a side of salted egg with mango salsa that tastes like a fiesta in your mouth!

 

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Pork Bagnetta (P650). Rolled pork fried to a crisp Bagnet-style and served with liver sauce, pickled papaya, and soy-vinegar.

This dish was inspired by the Italian Porchetta, a rich, fatty, pork roll stuffed with garlic, rosemary, and fennel--traditionally eaten in a sandwich.

 

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Chef Claude takes this classic Italian treat and adds a Filipino touch by frying it up into a Bagnet--hence the name “Bagnetta”. An absolute must-try.

 

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Black Rice Bringhe (P250). Cordilleran black rice, crab fat paste, Inasal milk fish, calamansi, and alfalfa sprouts.

Not only a treat for the eyes but a treat for the stomach. The scrumptious Black Bringhe is a contemporary play on the Kapampangan version of glutinous rice and turmeric.

Fun fact: Chef Claude won the Peoples’ Choice Award with this dish under the entry of “Flavors of the Philippines in One Bite” at Washington, DC.

 

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Halo-Halo (P90). Leche Flan, Macapuno, Ube Halaya, Pastillas Milk.

Instead of using the regular condensed milk, Chef Tayag liquefies Carabao Pastillas into its creamiest, most decadent form. A delightful way to end your stay in Downtown Café!

 

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Downtown Café by Chef Claude is one of the most memorable stops of our Pampanga Food Trip for its down-to-earth ambiance and terrific, honest food. We loved how the dishes were a good balance of presentation and taste, as well a gustatory reminder of the uniqueness of the Kapampangan culinary heritage.

Go here with a budget of at least P400 per head and order EVERYTHING we recommended. We have no qualms in saying that each dish is wonderful.

Tara, let’s go Downtown!

 

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DOWNTOWN CAFÉ
The Quad at Nepo, Nepo mart, Plaridel St, 2009 Angeles City
Operation hours: 
Monday to Sunday--10AM to 10PM
Email: downtown1956cafe@yahoo.com.ph
Mobile: +63 917 535 9198
Website: www.baledutung.com
Facebook: 1956 Downtown Café

Related blog posts:
BALE DUTUNG: Claude Tayag's Legendary 5 Ways Lechon Degustacion in Pampanga!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

 

Sean & Sheila of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Claude. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights

(This article is sponsored by AZURE NORTH, an amazing, tropical-inspired residential project featuring a man-made beach in the heart of San Fernando, Pampanga! Developed by Century Properties who clearly know that Pampanga, with its delightful food and hospitable people, is a place really worth living in. Check it out: www.azurenorth.com.ph)

P.S. Don't forget to try out Chef Claude's homemade sauces and pastes! They're also available nationwide in popular supermarkets. 

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