Although I easily get tired of the same old home-cooked Filipino dishes, there are a few items I surprisingly can't live without. Yes, you've guessed it right, one of which is adobo which easily defines Pinoys and our homeland. And recently, my adobo craving has led me to Adobo Connection where they serve not just one, but several adobo variants.
About a year ago, I got a taste of Adobo Connection in Eastwood's food junction where I was impressed with not just how their adobo offerings fare taste-wise, but also with their selection of adobo variants. But although it took me a while to revisit the adobo chain, I'm glad that this time I headed to their Taft Avenue branch located in One Archer's Place.
Being located beside a university, this branch's simple yet homey dining space is usually flocked by groups of college students, so expect a bit of noise especially if you dine for lunch. However, the laid-back ambiance of the restaurant with calming wooden interiors can definitely make up for the amount of chattering. And with exceptionally affordable yet great-tasting food, I bet you won't even notice the amount of people around anymore.
All-Day Meryenda Specials
I know Adobo Connection specializes in adobo, but they also offer a selection of cheap eats perfect for a quick snack. So before I share with you the chain's adobo offerings, here are four items under their all-day Meryenda Specials promo which you can easily grab at any of their 28 (and counting) branches, for a ridiculously low price of P48 each!
First among the meryenda items is this trio of Fried Adobo Paos (P49) which I swear is just so sulit for the price. The photo isn't fooling you, you really get 3 pieces! And although I haven't tried a lot of fried siopao, I definitely loved this item as the dough is quite crispy on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. Its adobo filling is also very tasty, making this ensemble the perfect meryenda item -- filling, flavorful, and convenient to eat.
Another item is Arroz Caldo (P49) which is a hearty porridge perfect for the rainy season. Every spoonful reminded me of home. And with a tasty porridge broth and fried garlic toppings, this serving successfully warmed not just my tummy, but also my soul.
There's also a unique meryenda dish which caught my attention. It's the first time I've seen and tasted an Adobo Spaghetti (P49), a platter of pasta with a special adobo sauce and adobo flakes topping. As expected, this Pinoy pasta dish is sweet on the palate with a hint of savory flavors. And although I'm not much of a sweet pasta fan, I'm amazed at how truly Pinoy this dish tasted. I'm sure kids will love this to bits too!
Last among the Meryenda Specials is this double serving of Pork Adobo Rice (P49) with strips of scrambled eggs and some adobo flakes on top. For the price, this is definitely a good deal since you already get two cups! This adobo-mixed fried rice dish also fares well taste-wise, perfect for breakfast on its own or to pair with a fried viand.
The Adobo Connection Bestsellers
Of course, we wouldn't leave the adobo chain just yet without trying their specialties, their adobo offerings. Upon checking the menu, I also found out that Adobo Connection didn't have just adobo dishes to offer. They got more Pinoy goodies in store!
We first had the Mama's Traditional Chicken Adobo (P169), the restaurant's traditional take on our classic Pinoy dish. Although some may argue that traditional adobo is more tangy, Adobo Connection's version is more on the sweet and savory side, like how most Filipino families like their home-cooked adobo. Another thing I love about the adobo dishes at the food chain is their use of only dark chicken meat. No breasts here!
Another adobo variant we got to try is Kuya's Fried Mixed Adobo (P179) which didn't have sauce, and a version topped with loads of fried garlic slices. Dubbed as the preferred take on adobo of most manongs and kuyas who frequent the adobo chain, this dish is a bit saltier than the traditional adobo. Although I dig a sweeter and saucier version, the story behind this item's name is probably true as the beau loved this to bits!
I personally prefer chicken pieces for my adobo. However, I just can't say no to the Adobo Flakes Meal (P99) which is a platter of pork adobo flakes, sunny side up egg and unlimited rice. And if the no-sauce adobo is the choice of most kuyas, this one on the other hand, is the bet of most youngsters. I understand them though as the fried egg goes really well with the tasty and crunchy adobo flakes making it perfect for breakfast.
Saving the best variant for last, here's the Chicken Adobo sa Gata (P169) which is my favorite among the adobo items. Unlike the usual adobo in soy sauce, this one is infused with coconut milk and chili making it a creamy and savory adobo dish with a kick. And to vouch for my approval, this adobo variant from Adobo Connection bagged first place in a blind taste test conducted by GMA News TV in search for the best adobo in the Metro.
Aside from adobo dishes, the restaurant also offers other Filipino food items like this serving of Gising-Gising (P89), an ensemble of green beans, ground pork and chili in coconut milk. This savory, spicy and crunchy dish is not only healthy, but also very tasty. Even non-vegetable lovers like the beau will dig this, especially when paired with rice, and even with either Kuya's Fried Mixed Adobo or Chicken Adobo sa Gata.
We also got to sample a serving of Beef Kare-Kare (P189), the adobo chain's version of another one of my favorite Filipino dishes. For a very low price, I was quite surprised that this kare-kare had a lot of beef pieces and veggies in its rich and thick peanut sauce. And of course, how can I forget Adobo Connection's very own bagoong which tasted salty and savory with a little hint of sweetness and spice -- my kind of a perfect bagoong!
The Desserts and Beverage
Aside from the adobo dishes, the hearty Filipino viands and the filling snack items, Adobo Connection also has some of the most affordable yet most satisfying dessert items I've ever had -- simple but definitely the perfect sweet enders to a great meal.
First among the sweet treats we got to try is this Leche Flan (P39). For such an affordable price, I can't believe that I've found the perfect leche flan in town. This dessert item is soft, smooth, silky and even a little jiggly. With these basic leche flan requirements checked, it was time to take the taste test. And upon first bite, I can't believe of how solid yet creamy and melt-in-your-mouth this leche flan was. It wasn't overly nor lacking in sweetness too making it just right for the palate, and simply perfect.
We also sampled the Flan Turon (P29) which makes use of leche flan sandwiched in a crispy triangular pastry dusted with some icing sugar. Although I generally got tired of the banana and langka turon, being a lover of sweets and unique food items, I definitely fell in love with this Adobo Connection original even upon first bite. Even the beau dig it! As for our beverage, we had the Red Berry Iced Tea (P39) which is a light and refreshing concoction perfect to wash off even strongest flavors from our palates.
This trip to Adobo Connection has fully established me as an adobo lover. With great-tasting adobo creations, Adobo Connection has definitely brought out the Pinoy in my palate. Aside from the flavorful adobo dishes, this adobo chain also serves a variety of viands, snack items and even desserts worthy of trying out. And with fast service, engaging atmosphere, affordable prices, and accessibility of the continuously growing number of branches to connect us all, Adobo Connection has officially gained a new fan.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Adobo Connection, One Archer's Place
2/F One Archer's Place, Taft Ave., Malate