The Specialties of Sentro 1771 (

(This piece was published in last November 16, 2011)

Whenever we have visitors from abroad, whether balikbayans or foreigners, we usually entertain them by giving them a taste of Filipino cuisine in Sentro 1771—the first modern Filipino restaurant in the country. Not only is the place nice, but the food is exceptional as well. Normally, Filipino food appears to be a hodgepodge of sorts, but Sentro manages to make it look presentable and taste good, too.

For nine years now, Sentro has been serving Sinigang na Corned Beef (P310 solo; P595 sharing), which is actually the specialty of the house. This is the dish that made Sentro famous. When you order this dish, the server will let you taste the tamarind broth first and give you an option to alter it according to your preference. You want it to be more sour or spicy? Just say so and your sinigang will be catered to your taste. What stands out also is the presentation of the dish. The chunks of corned beef are neatly arranged on one side, while the native vegetables are on the other. You will definitely eat with your eyes first as you see all the individual ingredients that are pleasantly put together.

But before heading to the main course, there are several appetizers worth trying first. I could, in fact, have a fulfilling meal with these starters alone. My favorite is the Sizzling Tofu (P250), which is like a vegetarian version of sisig. The diced tofu is mixed with special soy sauce and mayo dressing and served on a sizzling plate. Just like the sisig, you may sprinkle some calamansi on the dish and even add some hot sauce, if you wish.

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