Oh my Guava!

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Guava is the first restaurant to open in Piazza @ Serendra area. This one-week-old restaurant offers Filipino fusion with unique food items in the menu. Bernard Dee is the Chef consultant who created the fusion menu with items like Kare kare with Bagoong & Tsokolate, Monggonisa, and Pininoy na Foie Gras. He warmly welcomed us together with Gary who gave us very good food recommendations and allowed us to take photos. Chef Bernard even cooked us Salmon in Guava broth and it was not even in the menu. He also took time explaining to us the different guava dishes they serve and how it is prepared and cooked.

So while having fun with our usual photo food session as the dishes arrives on our table, one of the owners started questioning us. I thought to myself, oh no, not one of those old school No Photography policies again. One of them even told me to set an appointment if I want to take photos — how ridiculous is that? They can’t believe that I do photography as a hobby and I don’t get compensated for it — they probably think I’m nuts (But you all know how I love what I’m doing). They kept on giving me a skeptical eye that I might steal their menu since I’m not from print media or tv. When I told them that I blog places I go to and I want to feature their restaurant, one of the owners again gave me a frown (I told myself, why do I even bother give this resto free advertising). She said they plan to franchise the restaurant and they don’t want it to be copied by anyone — which is fair I guess. All of the five owners were there, and only Gary really gave us a warm smile and greeting– we truly appreciate it!I dislike restaurants owners do not care about customer service. But I guess, lets give this 60sq pioneering resto in Serendra the benefit of the doubt that this would only happen to me and it is an exception.

The Verdict: We love the Monggonisa (definitely a must try!) and Sinigang in Guava broth. My wife avoids eating Sinigang as much as she can but to my surprise, she loved the soup. She even asked to have my share! It was an interesting concept that the Pritchon is prepared in front of you with various selections of sauces but it just occupies a space where you could still add a table. We were hoping to try the Pininoy na Foie Gras but it was not available so if there would be a next time, we would surely try this best selling appetizer. The bagoong tsokolate is a winner because of its unique taste where the saltiness of the bagoong is subdued by the chocolate. Stay away from the desserts. Overall, I think it is expensive at P400/ head with rice at P45 and 3 pieces of pritchon with small cuts of lechon already at P185. As for customer service, let me know what’s your experience once you’ve tried this place.


The place is quite small, even smaller than Lemuria. I’m not sure if I would call this hole-in-the-wall but they won’t qualify just because they are located in Serendra. Here is a photo of Chef Bernard Dee entertaining the guests. The interiors are simple conforming to the overall theme of Guava. It was named Guava to give it a modern Filipino name and it offers guava inspired dishes like Sinigang in Guava broth.

Check out the Guava Menu before you tried this place out.
Guava Menu (Front)
Guava Menu (Back)


Pritchon from the bar is carved on the spot which makes this dish interesting.

You have a wide selection of six (6) special sauces: Chili-garlic, Sour Cream and Chives, Sour Cream and Garlic, Sweet Soy Chili, Peanut Sauce and Black Bean Sauce.

Pritchon from the bar (P 185) “with garnishing of chives, wansuey, cucumber, onions and leeks.” We just thought that it is an itsy bitsy pritchon and it costs P60++ per bite, este per piece.


Monggonisa (P125). ” Monggo with cuts of longganisa. A must try dish because you never had monggo this way. “

We must admit that this is not-to-be-missed dish and you won’t go wrong with this. The Mongo is cooked perfectly well with the right consistent taste. The flavorful homemade longganisa in the center makes this a killer dish, definitely. It only costs P125!


Pandan Wrapped in Ubod in Watercress Salad. (P185). “Julienned ubod with Shitake, Shrimps, and Wansuey Dressing.”

Nothing exciting but there are big slices of Ubod which taste OK together with the sweet wanseuy dressing.

< no photo, sour graping >
Guava’s Kare Kare with Bagoong Tsokolate (P385).
” Oxtail, tripe, and vegetables with peanut sauce. Savour the dish with bagoong flavored with chocolate. “

I’ve tasted better kare kare but they use real ox tail that makes this a worth while dish. You just had to try the bagoong tsokolate.

< no photo, sour graping >
Salmon in Guava Broth (P 455)

Oh we loved this! Specially with the Salmon combination. As I said, this is the dish created on the spot by Chef Bernard and it is indeed very very good. No photo for this dish for I was given a raised eyebrow.

Purple Yam Flan with Ube Jam and Vanilla Ice Cream (P85).
Ube jam is one of my wife’s favorite but this dessert turned out to be a disappointment to her. There was a small scoop of the ube jam which tasted good but the purple yam flan was not. You have to eat the flan with the ice cream for it to taste better. No second taste for us.


Guava is directly in front of Market Market located in the mini rotonda.


You should take the Serendra driveway and parking is in the baseway. Go here while the parking is free!! Knowing Ayala, that won’t last for so long.

Please let me know what you think of Guava. Thanks!!

Anton

27 thoughts on “Oh my Guava!

  1. YES!!!
    GUAVA ROCKS!!!! I could eaT ALL DAY long.
    the food is still fresh in my mouth ,savoring to the the last bite…better try it.

  2. I know what you mean about taking photos in the restaurant. Hehe, these restaurant owners better get used to us photo bloggers. If you didn’t blog about this restaurant, I wouldn’t have been curious about the place.

  3. Hi Anton,
    YOU did take really nice pictures and I think that taking them and being told not to are the owners right especially if they have taken time to really bring and give customers something different. THEY OWN THAT. I RESPECT YOU AS A PHOTOGRAPER AND THAT YOU DO IT WELL BUT RESPECT THEM TOO.ITS THEIRS AND THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO PROTECT WHAT IS THEIRS.

  4. sorry but I have to correct you.
    I was allowed by one of the owners to take pictures and that is why I was able to take them. When they requested me not to, I obediently obliged towards the middle of my photo shoot.
    Yeah you are right they have the right to protect it and we will
    respect that. But why?
    I just don’t get it. you cannot copy something out of a photo. If
    somebody wants to copy it, it is better to taste it and go there
    yourself right. Even if you take a thousand photos of Max’s fried
    chicken, you won’t still be able to copy it and why bother.
    it has a lot more negative implication than positive ones.
    anton

  5. The pritchon is picayune. You could get that super cheap at Salcedo Market — punong-puno pa. I bet the rent at Serendra is steep.
    It’s so expensive to dine out these days… You really have to choose the resto well so you could MAJOR VFM — value for money. In my case, I truly value the el mucho dinero-loaded bloggers like you – haha – who venture before everyone else.
    I’d rather stay home and cook especially for dishes I could do anyway. Anton, how different is the Salmon Sinigang of Guava? That’s so easy to cook di ba?
    Thanks for the great photos.

  6. if not for the nice photos you post on your blog, i wouldnt have been tempted to try those out-of-the-way restos you’ve visited…they shoud’ve have been thankful that you write about them and that you patronize their expensive food…
    i also dont understand why the fuss about shooting YOUR food since its YOUR food anyway…YOU pay for it, YOU can do what you want with it…with so many restaurants out there and with how expensive it is too dine out nowadays owners should really be conscientious about their customer service…
    that’s normally the problem with small operations..they may have good products but their service sucks..and i dont have the patience for that…
    i would rather spend my money at westin spiral where i can binge to my hearts delight and where the staff are really solicitious than give business to haughty restaurant owners…the costs are almost the same anyway

  7. Went, ate and was impressed by how they were able to concoct pinoy food in a different way. My appetizer was the Pininoy Foie Gras- was soooooooooooo good!!! Sarap.The Tsokolate Bagoong of the kare kare was really good. The salmon in guava broth is served with a guava and chili serrano relish which was so yummy. I had the best dessert of Guinataan Bilo Bilo Surprise which was another GUAVA specialty done in a new way- with Guava Cream. I love guava added on food- Thanks Anton….. for sharing us your blog.

  8. @gigi — the broth of their sinigang na guava is so good. It was done very well by extensively heating it over time (not sure I’m not a cook though). There might be additional ingredient that I’m not aware of.
    It’s different. If you decide to try it let me know what you think.
    @sunshinier — I know how you feel and I do agree. I do hope they change it and people who would try it out would have a different experience than me. BTW, I haven’t been to spiral, hopefully one of these days.
    @ JEAN — thanks for letting me know your experience. We might go back to try out the pininoy foie gras and bilo bilo surprise 🙂

  9. I agree with sunshinier. Mas may VFM pa to hit the hotel buffet scene — was at HEAT several Monday nights ago and I tell you, maagang noche buena ang buffet spread! Roast Lamb, a whole lechon, roast duck, roast beef, ham, lobsters, mala-Cold Rock ice cream dessert buffet ang stellar choices! There’s an Indian station …. I also heard Spiral is so good. My brother and sister in law loved it! At least, wala pang agawan sa servings kung buffet.

  10. Anton – Open ba sila for weekday lunch? Ill be leaping on faith and bringing the whole team to this place! Expect more rants if all fails. Hehe. Pessimist me 😛

  11. Hi Anton,
    First of all I would like to commend your hard work on all the stuff you’ve done in posting a blog like this. Showing ALL the great food in town and the places you’ve been, giving us the balikbayans a lot of ideas.I been visiting your website for few months now and it’s so informative for us here outside the country to look something forward too when we go back there.Since we’re going back home this coming December we’ll definite try out those restaurants, and this time we can call it an authentic filipino dish. U just made me so hungry just by looking at the food, it’s defintely something that we’re looking forward to taste ’em and be able to experience the overwhelming presentation of the food, basically.
    We’re definitely excited to visit all the places you’ve been showing. Can’t wait anymore……… thanks for all the ideas……

  12. i guess the owners are insecure of what you might get out of taking photos from the food you ordered. But then, what will you really get from it? NOTHING! they think that you or your readers might steal their food presentation hahaha they should even be thankful for what you’ve done…it may be big or small but at least you have done something to let other people know that they have good food (but with spoilsport owners!) with no cost on them. Oh well, there are just some people who are like that so i hope you won’t get discourage by these recent inidents you have (i.e., chocolate kisses). Maybe from now on, you have to ready yourself with a list of punchlines for them to permit you taking photos of YOUR food.

  13. hey guys i had dinner in guava (thanks to this blog) couple of weeks ago and i loved the food! i also met the owners and they were VERY nice. very entertaining. maybe they were just tired or just had a bad day when anton went. but food was great, service was great. one of my fave places. 🙂

  14. Had lunch in Guava today. Since we were a group of 6, was able to try a fairly good representation of their cuisine: the incredibly shrinking pritchon (your photo showed more meat per pita pa nga e than what we got), a platter of mixed fried lumpias & empanadas, ubod salad in pandan crepe, salad greens with duck breast & fried kesong puti, tilapia in tamarind sauce, adobong manok, binagoongang baboy, two-faced laing, chicharon rice, bihod rice, turron, ube flan, cassava cake… Found it too expensive for what it was. Have had better nouvelle Pinoy food at way better prices at Mannang in Megamall (Building A, basement level, below Powerbooks). Even Filos had better food at roughly the same price levels as Guava. My colleague commented that, for what you pay in Guava, you’d expect better ambience – bad ventilation, was smoky inside the resto such that we all smelled like food afterwards. Am glad I tried it (on the company tab!), but will not return.

  15. I enjoy your blog, being a food hunter and a photo hobbyist myself. Here’s my piece on Guava and the photography ban.
    The twist on Filipino food is great. The “sinigang sa bayabas” as we call it in Malolos is very tasty, though the main ingredient used there is bangus or beef. Salmon of course is not a Malolos staple but the bit of salmon oil thats blends with the guava really adds to the taste.
    Bernard told me he is using fresh guava puree which is an excellent idea. It not only concentrates the flavor but also allows preservation of this not so always available fruit.
    Bernard also mentioned the “sinampalukang baka”, a dish not in the menu, which brings to mind another Bulacan sinigang variety. This dish requires fresh sampaloc tops which is only available in season. I am hoping to experience the twist he made on this rare Bulacan delicacy.
    I also enjoyed the monggonisa and the ubod salad but I have to add pochero to the list of must try. The blend of tender pork, beef and chicken in light tomato sauce is great.
    As to the photography, I had my share of irritating security guards and rank and files whose faculties are only capable of following orders from management. I understand them but what worries me are thoughtless owners who in the scheme of things are capable of exercising discretion but refusing to do so. Sure they have proprietary rights to protect but they should also realize they have business interest to promote. 5 minutes of introspection would have made him realize that he is getting free advertisment but he took the safe route and end up with harsh criticism for stifling freedom of expression. Yes, photography is self expression much like writing a food and restaurant review which does not require the permission or consent of the owner. As a constitutionally protected right, the only limitation is national security for which reason every photographer is prima facie presumed a terrorist by security guards.
    I hope this change the animosity towards photographers, specially hobbyist whose only desire is to capture fleeting perfect moments. I believe an apology from Guava will go a long way.

  16. I think this “photography” ban is quite unique for the Philippines…
    Quite useless and stupid if you ask me.
    Keep doing what you do… your blog without the pictures would not be so attractive.
    You got the best “restaurant” blog around! I enjoy every visit !

  17. I love Guava – the food, the ambiance but not the service. I think that they are way under staffed. Anyways, the food was great but i believe that it’s “home cooked” food that they serve. You know what I mean? My bf’s mom also cooks the same food that they serve. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But i love the ambiance and the food is great.

  18. we had dinner there last night. since there were only 2 of us, we can’t sample everything that you said was good. so we tried pritchon, mongganisa and kare-kare. at first i thought we might have over-ordered, but when the food arrived, the servings were small. if you’re a big eater, you’d be bitin eating in guava. the mongganisa had two measely pieces of longganisa. otherwise, i thought the food tasted good.
    as for the service, i just got a bit irritated by the cashier. when they served the drinks, i noticed that my straw had a small hole, that was why i couldn’t sip properly. so i signalled to the cashier if i could have another straw. she didn’t even say “ok” or acknowledged my request, she just patted the waiter beside her to give me a straw. she acted like i shouldn’t be asking stuff from her since she’s not a waitress. but heck, you’re one of the staff right? at least be courteous enough. i just don’t think guava has nice staff. 🙁
    all in all, i enjoyed the food, but i don’t think i’ll be coming back.

  19. I’m actually a bit disappointed eating at Guava. The service was horrible (we had to ask for water like five times, and the waiters don’t even refill your glass if it’s empty), and the food wasn’t as great. We had the pritchon from the bar (came in 3 teeny pieces) with six sauces (how much of that could you actually mix with 3 pieces of pritchon?), the Pininoy na Foie Gras which was just a solid liver canape, and the spiced itik. We also tried the Monggonisa which was a regular monggo dish with slices of longganisa in it.
    I couldn’t help but compare it to Sentro, which for me, still has the best take on modern Pinoy food. Sayang, Guava has a nice ambience, but the food and service fell flat. I honestly felt gypped. And it made me regret bringing a few Filipino balikbayan friends to the place last Saturday.

  20. Had dinner there a few months back. Ordered guava juice… BUT they ran out.. Kewl.. Nothing much to say about the food. Not worth raving about. (Pritson, monggo,sinigang). Several people share the same take on Guava. What a waste… Filipino fusion just doesn’t work!

  21. Fabulous food. The pritchon was simply delicious and the way that the ampalaya salad was prepared, very tasty. All our dishes were delightful and my only regret is that I live in States and cannot frequent Quava on a regular basis. My compliments to Chef Dee. Bon appetit!

  22. u make great pictures and reviews sir anton! that’s why your blog/website is my sister’s fav reference guide to one of her most favorite things…..food….
    anyway, im a member for a photography forum and one issue/topic there is the “bawal mag picture”(photography ban)… we would love to hear you side regarding that matter if you have the time.
    http://www.digitalphotographer.com.ph/forum/showthread.php?t=7140
    thanks! 🙂

  23. Hi! I’ll be in Manila this coming August, unfortunately, I haven’t been to SERENDRA. I really dont have any idea where to eat, what to expect and how much I would spend, (for a pax of 7) I even plan to bring my sister and her family along whom like me, just came back from abroad. Can you please tell me or recommend great restaurants in serendra, (great food with nice ambiance, upscale or middle scale restaurants) Pictures of the place would also be great (if available)
    Please help!
    Many thanks!

  24. Hi Anton!
    I had the same experience in a different restaurant when I tried taking pictures of the place and their food and yes, the reason was also the same: that they were just protecting their business. But then again, just like what you said — protect it from what???
    Eventually, someone from the end of nowhere will definitely come up with the same idea and compete with these existing establishments and they simply cannot stop everyone from doing that.
    And besides, why is it always such a big threat to business owners that competition arises? I think the world, or the Philippines for that matter is big enough to accommodate these businesses may it be something original or something imitated — it’s too big a place for businesses to ever run out of customers.
    Just want to let you know that you’ve been a big influence in my decision to open a blog. Sharing with everyone the experience is definitely a feel-good thing for me.
    Congratulations and more power to your site!

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