Sa Kanto: Street Food Classics by Il Ponticello

Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Filipino street foods are gustatory delights which are not only close to my stomach, but also close to my heart. Back when I was in grade school, my friends and I would flock fish ball, barbecue and green mango vendors. Growing up, I would always stop by at our neighborhood isaw seller and get myself a few sticks. Until now, I can't just say no to my good ol' Pinoy street foods. However, I am very aware that cleanliness is the main concern with such delicacies, if only there's a restaurant offering such treats.

And yes, Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello just fits the bill. It's a new hangout spot at The Podium offering Filipino street food classics with a twist.

Interior 01 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello Interior 02 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello

My date and I, along with my blogger friends, had the chance to dine at Sa Kanto for an Eat's a Date lunch. In all honesty, I didn't have any expectations of how the food will taste like, more so on how the place will look like. So upon entering Sa Kanto's typical double glass door, I was quite surprised to be greeted by an earth-toned space embellished with a large vase, grand antique-style mirrors, some floor and wall lamps, and a stone arch with black gate grills.

Interior 03 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello Interior 04 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello

The place exudes a vintage garden vibe, while beyond the gates where we were seated was a simple and more casual dining area with a couch, framed photos and paintings, and a deer head replica mounted on the wall. They also have a bar area and a second floor dining space yet to be opened.

Interior 05 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello Interior 06 Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello

After appreciating the interiors of Sa Kanto, it was finally time to sample their food offerings. First served on our table of five was one of Sa Kanto's best-sellers -- Dynamite (P250), a plate of 6 chili fingers stuffed with beef and cheese and fried 'til crisp.

Sa Kanto's Dynamite P250

Although I don't have high tolerance for spicy dishes, I really enjoyed the Dynamite. The flavors of the beef and cheese filling really went well with the crispy breaded chili. The spiciness also wouldn't kick in as soon as the first bite. It'll take about a few more munching before one would feel the heat.

Ensaladang Ampalaya P145

We were also served with Ensaladang Ampalaya (P145), a salad mix of ampalaya, tomatoes and onion slices. Although I'm not a full-blown carnivore, there are a lot of vegetables that I don't eat -- ampalaya included. But with Sa Kanto's promise of a non-bitter ampalaya dish, I took the challenge and had myself a couple of spoonfuls. I have to agree that this ampalaya salad is not as bitter as how I remember ampalaya should taste like. However, although the acidity of this dish tries to battle out the bitterness, I can still note an unpleasant aftertaste.

Gambas Chorizo P330

We got to try another starter, Gambas Chorizo (P330) -- a spicy mix of prawns, Spanish chorizo, chili and garlic. I'm not a big fan of spicy prawn dishes, so I really didn't have myself plunge into the appetizer. I just had a few forkfuls and found the dish lacking in flavor albeit the evident kick.

Isaw

Since Sa Kanto has only been in the business for less than 4 months, its menu selection has not yet been fully finalized. The management plans to include new street food classics, and our group was fortunate enough to be the first few to give these possible new additions a try. We got to sample Sa Kanto's breaded version of Isaw which are barbecued chicken intestines in skewers. Although Sa Kanto's Isaw passed my taste buds, I still prefer the unbreaded ones easily found on streets as the former lacked the smoky flavor of this well-loved Filipino street food.

Fish Ball

Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello also plans to include Fish Balls on their menu. Served with two kinds of sauces -- a hot and spicy one, and a sweet one, Sa Kanto's Fish Balls was nothing interesting. It tasted quite the same as the ones we can find both on the streets and in grocery stores.

Pork Binagoongan P325

After the light start, it was finally time to take on the main entrees. We were first served with Sa Kanto's Pork Binagoongan (P325), a pork belly dish cooked in bagoong (shrimp paste) and served on a bed of crispy eggplant. Being a big fan of everything and anything with bagoong, I found myself really liking this particular viand. The pork was tender and the bagoong sauce really sipped into the whole dish. The breaded eggplant slices were also a nice touch to add more texture to the entree.

Crispy Tadyang P445

We were then served with Crispy Tadyang (P445), a fried beef ribs dish which Sa Kanto claims to be so tender, it would fall off the bone. Although I was initially quite skeptical, they were actually right. The beef was really cooked until tender, and the flavor was nice and rich.

Kare Kare P380

We also got to sample Sa Kanto's version of one of my most favorite Filipino dishes -- Kare-Kare (P380), a roasted beef oxtail and tripe stew with assorted vegetables cooked in peanut sauce, and served with bagoong. Being nitpicky with Kare-Kare, it was quite a surprise that I never had to criticize Sa Kanto's version. Theirs had the rich peanut flavor that most Kare-Kare in town lack, along with tender meat and offal, I was sold.

Spicy Eggplant P180

For vegetables, we were served with Sa Kanto's Spicy Eggplant (P180) -- an eggplant dish sauteed in olive oil, garlic and chili. Although I'm quite a picky vegetable eater, eggplant is something I'd take on any time of the day. Although I still prefer my eggplant sweet, Sa Kanto's spicy version was quite good.

Adobong Hito P340

We also got to try a fish entree from Sa Kanto, their Adobong Hito (P340) which is a fried butterflied catfish with white adobo sauce. When this plate was first served on our table, we were unsure what kind of fish viand this was as it really looked odd. However, upon having a few bites, I grew to like it. The fish had a crisp skin and tender meat, drenched with a sour white sauce that I really dig.

Kanto-Style Fried Chicken P310

One the owners of Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello was kind enough to ask us if we want anything else to try. Curious why this particular dish carries the restaurant's name, we ordered it -- Kanto-Style Fried Chicken (P310). Although the presentation was quite nice and the chicken skin was fried to a crisp, the inside was a little dry and bland.

Turon with Langka Sauce P120

After all the dishes we sampled, it was high time for some meal enders -- desserts. We were first served with a Pinoy favorite but with a twist, Turon with Langka Sauce (P120). I was a frequent eater of turon back in my grade school days, and Sa Kanto's version was quite good. I've never had my turon with langka sauce though, but this combo is something I really dig.

Leche Flan P150

We were also served with this beautiful Leche Flan (P150) which was very soft and rich. I really like Sa Kanto's take on this sweet treat. However, I prefer my leche flan a little lighter in taste.

THE VERDICT

Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello offers Filipino favorites with a twist. I may not rave about their dishes, but I can definitely assure you that they serve good-tasting food in a cozy hangout spot. The owners, manager, and their staff were friendly and very courteous as well, making sure your Filipino dining experience will be a lovely one. And if you would like to try this restaurant, why not head to Ensogo's Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello deal and save yourself 50% on their food and drinks?

Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Sa Kanto by Il Ponticello, The Podium
G/F The Podium, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 477-9045
Facebook Page

45 comments:

  1. That's a lovely place! OMG. I have a growing list of restos to visit when I go to the Philippines this year!

    The leche flan looks heavenly, btw.

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  2. Too bad I wasn't able to stay for dessert. Hmm, I'm still thinking about getting the voucher. one voucher for 2 persons? Hmm.

    http://dekaphobe.blogspot.com/2012/02/sa-kanto-by-il-ponticello.html

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  3. It's amazing how you were able to find these great restos. And yeah, I'm rooting for the Isaw- the original street food! =)

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  4. Cool place! I'd like to give it a try.

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  5. i want to try their beef Kare-kare. :)

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  6. sosyal na resto for street foods. =) i want turon with langka sauce.

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  7. I like your blog but funny how you are now way too inspired by this other blogger that you are now failing to develop your own style. I've been reading your comments to that other blogger's blog, you praise that blogger's photography style, now it seems that you are way too inspired by this one blogger's style. You're a good blogger, I just hope you go back to developing your own style. Like the way you used to. It hurts me hearing other people tagging you as second rate copy cat because you used to post with your own style but you just lost it. Yung mga photos na pinopost mo lately, sobrang obvious na style yan nung isang blogger. I am not talking about food shots. I know you know what I mean and who I am talking about.

    Just an advice because I am one of your readers.

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  8. Must try those spicy foods. :)

    http://iifatree.blogspot.com/

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  9. New eating place uh! Very classy and the food seems very delicious! You had bunch of photos I wonder if you ordered everything! That's much! :))

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  10. omg, ang yummy ng mga street foods with a twist, huh! must visit talaga! :)

    It’s a GIRL Thing

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  11. I hope I get to meet you one of these days in this Eat's a Date affairs. XD Sayang recently ko lang nalaman tong OpenRice through a friend. XD

    Anyway, the place and food looks great! It reminds me about my grandma's place though. Which isn't a bad thing of course. XD

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  12. @Philippines Food Blogs: First of all, thank you so much for being a nice and supportive reader of this blog. However, I don't really get what you said 'cause I praise a lot of bloggers in terms of photography, as well as writing style. And although I may like some blogs, I haven't copied anything from anyone. My photography style changes depending on the subject, lighting and other factors, and I don't have an actual blogger inspiration when it comes to photography. If there's anyone with this photography style, it may just be a coincidence 'cause I honestly don't know any blogger who has the same photography style and same treatment on photos. I also think that my style has been the same as before, it has probably just improved or developed in terms of composition. I am curious who you are referring to though -- the blogger inspiration. I hope you can email me personally 'cause I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks! :)

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  13. advice ko lng sis Sumi - there is no permanent in this world, but change.. adopt on the changes and you will survive :) i love you blog :)

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  14. you have your own style of photography and blogging .I don't see anything wrong with it .I like how you captured them.

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  15. Great Page You have and Nice Post!

    I think you have a unique style!


    Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I will definitely visit this place the next time I come home to Pinas for a vacation. The place looks neat and lovely. The food... oh the food. I miss Pinoy food!

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  17. Nice places, Good foods, Great Photos. What a combination. Just continue what you are doing. Your blog is great. Better than mine. Hehe.
    Kagutom. kain muna ko. Great post!

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  18. I wasn't able to join the Eat's a Date lunch sweetie due to work sked :( But reading your blog about it makes me really drool! Honestly I cannot place if you are copying other's style all I know you create an original in a dignified manner. Maybe just a coincidence :) Have a great day. See you soonest!

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  19. We'll defintely try their binagoongan! D and I are both fans of this dish.
    Still love your shots Sumi! :) i guess it's just a coincidence.
    It's ok naman to get inspirations from other blogs as long as you don't copy their content and photos.
    Keep writing and inspiring other people too :)

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  20. For me your photography is great. I don't think you have copied other blogger's photography style because if they look at it clearly they will see different details and photo treatment to it. Keep it up girl

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  21. I've always been a fan of Sumi's photography. She is passionate about her photos. When I met her, she even taught me the basics on how to take pictures which I found useful for our own food blog.

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  22. I'm planning to eat here real soon! Podium's right across my office so I have no excuse not to visit :D I actually read about this from another blogger who also attended Eat's A Date with you and you guys have both convinced me to try Kanto's. I'm thinking about getting the Kare Kare (since it's a fave of mine) and the Pork Binagoongan :)

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  23. I love your photos Sumi! They're great! I think everyone of us has our own unique style when it comes to Photography. If it so happened that your photos look like somebody else photo I think that is only a coincidence and you should not be labeled as a second rate copycat.

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  24. There is nothing wrong in copying the styles of others in terms of photography. I work as a photographer po. Natuto ako sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng style ng ibang photographers. Dyan mo din matututunan kung anong style ka meron. That is the process of learning and developing yourself as well. Each photo has its unique composition. Bawat segundo nagbabago ang timpla ng ilaw. :) ang mahalaga ay hindi mo kinopya yung litrato ng iba. :) so wag ka mabother. As long as nanjan sayo yung orig copy ng pics, enough to say you own the photos. Same din yan sa writing. Keep blogging and keep inspiring us. :)

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  25. Nice shots. They look mouth-watering. Reminds me of Lime 88, a place in Kapitolyo that we tried before. But I think Lime 88's prices are lower because Sa Kanto's ambience is a bit more upscale. :)

    I am a fan of kare-kare. Too bad that you need to eat it with rice to get the full experience of eating it. :P

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  26. Some of the food there reminds me of Kalye Juan. :) They also have dynamite but ang pangalan naman dun ay dinamita, hehe. I'm really curious about the Adobong Hito. I think this is the first time I encountered a twist to such dish. Nice meeting you last Sunday by the way. :)

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  27. I didn't expect that this place would look so nice.:) The desserts look delicious!

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  28. The food looks yummy talaga, but I don't think I'm that kind of person who would pay a lot for those kind of foods. Haha. Stingy talaga ako minsan. I'd rather spend my money on gourmet meals, yung hindi usually naise-serve sa bahay. IMO lang dear! ")

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  29. Hi Sumi! 'Nakakagutom' yan lagi ang nasasabi ko after reading your blog. Then after that I'll think kung kailan kaya ako pupunta sa featured resto or food place na nablog mo. What I want to tell you is? see hindi ko na napansin kung maganda ba ang shoot mo? nasa tamang angles ba and kuha mo? or is it the same as the other blogger? sa writings mo pa lang impress na ako. I think coincidence lang yong pareho kayo ng shot ng other blogger(as you mention may kasama ka ditong other bloggers). In blogging world talagang makaka-encounter ka ng readers na magdidistract sa'yo, just keep writing and continue inspiring other (^_^).

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  30. @Sumi Go I agree with Mrs. Kolca with the gourmet meals and those not usually served at our houses.

    Hey, I saw a comment coming from some deranged numbnut hiding behind the cloak by claiming the offensive word didn't come from their mouth and saying you're a second rate copycat. Just who is this shrimp referring to anyway?

    On the other hand, Hey! It's a free world! and that reader of yours is free to discuss away any concerns, provided that they don't use piercing words, unless otherwise the sit calls for it.

    SO cheers and keep up te good work! And for the record, your photography and writing skills are far more superior than mine.

    On the side note, I still wanna know who is this person / blogger / writer / photographer (whatever ya call them there) that this stalker of yours is referring to; whom you waste your precious time fuzzing over so much. And by the way (referring to that lard's last sentence) I don't know what your reader/stalker means and I also do not know who that knocker is talking about, so might as well start lightin' te bulb for me purpledoll, just visit my tight-arse site and leave some crack or shall I say obiter will ya.

    Taters!

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  31. These are fantastic shots! Great foods! My cravings grow as I scroll down the page.

    Keep up the good work and concentrate on developing further your skills in photography. Take the negative comments as positive inputs because they tell you what to improve and work on.

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  32. Don't mind the insecure blogger, Sumi. I don't know how else to photograph food but to capture the texture and the colors just like you did. It's kinda hard to understand what he meant by you being a "copy-cat," especially with food photography. Carry on with your blog posts and photograph however you like, and get inspiration and lessons from whoever you like. ;)

    Nice post, and it was nice meeting you at this event. Your photos are making me hungry. Haha. :D

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  33. sikat ka na sumi! hahaha natawa lang ako .

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  34. Wow, a great place to enjoy street food, I will definitely visit this place once I get a chance to visit Manila again.. :) I really want to try that breaded isaw.. :P

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  35. Wag ka paapekto. Daming "experts" sa mundo. Nakakatawa lang.

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  36. Super nice shots! I wish I can improve my food blog. Haha. Can't use my SLR that much. Stuck at home.

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  37. wow. this seems like a nice place. would love to visit when i get the chance to go to ncr. :)

    btw, loooove your photos. :)

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  38. Ay bongga meron ka ng mga critic! And I don't understand what he says din kasi I know for a fact na sobrang dami mong finofollow and kinokomentan na mga blogs. Keribels.

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  39. So easy to settle the issue if your critic could post a link to the blog post that you allegedly copycatted. :)

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  40. Second time ko na po pala mag comment sa post na ito :-) Super duper ganda ng shots, share mo naman sa amin ang secret sa napakagagandang shots mo please! Congrats sa pagkapanalo mo sa Intramuros Contest. Lalong gaganda pix mo after your workshop. Sana mag ka project ka na tuturuan mo kami paano kumuha ng pix. Btw, I love to try Sa Kanto's Turon with Langka Sauce and Leche flan parang ang yummy kasi ng pagkaka capture mo naglalaway tuloy ako!

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