Ensalada Cafe (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
If you live in Auckland and love bagnet then this is the place to be, these guys put bagnet in everything like Kare Kare and Pinakbet to name some. Of all the Filipino restaurants in Auckland I believe this is the newest one, located on K’Road it’s one of the most Centrally accessible Filipino restaurant together with Home Cooked which they have a branch at the Elliot Stables and Azon which is just located in Parnell.
For me it’s quite near hence we come here for lunch once in a while with my Filipino colleagues, I feel like I work in Makati when we dine in here, office is just by the corner, food is Filipino, staff are Filipino and who am I with are Filipino, it feels like home. It will even make you feel at home with the traditional dishes they serve, cooked similarly how it is prepared back in my home country.
Last time we were there, we had a feast, craving for some Filipino goodies I ordered the dishes, take note that their serving size is quite large, starting with Sizzling Pork Sisig (NZ$15.00), it’s a dish of crispy chopped pork & chicken liver served with a fresh cracked egg on a sizzling plate. Like how it’s done back in the Philippines it is served in sizzling plate and a slice of lemon/calamansi on the side.
Next order was this Beef Bulalo (NZ$19.00), a to-share Philippine boiled soup made with bone-in beef shanks and bone marrow with cabbage and bok choy, another favourite, another comfort meal. Served with a large beef bone, still with lots of tender meat attached on one side, what is even more special in this dish is that heart stopping marrow which is heaven on a spoon but should be taken moderately.
Now to give their bagnet a try we grabbed this Bagnet Pakbet, sautéed mixed tropical vegetables in tomato and fermented shrimp paste sauce topped with crispy fried pork belly. A mix of healthy things with unhealthy ones on a plate, it was amazing.
Next up was this Sinigang na Baboy though not in their menu as a separate item you can get it via Special Request which we did as we were craving for some soup at that time. Again another great dish and I might be biased as this is my favourite dish of all time, its sour, savoury with fatty bits from that pork belly, heartwarming dish.
For the last dish we have this Crispy Pata (NZ$ 31.00) as if we don’t have enough pork in the table. Basically Deep Fried Large Pork Hock chopped for you eating pleasure served with soy sauce vinegar dip. It’s crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the insides, very additive and bad for your health but once in a while I guess it wont hurt you.
Overall, we loved the food everything served was nice, place is clean, staff were friendly. I guess next time we will give their Barkada Meal a try, a set meal served with 3 big dishes plus drinks and dessert good for four people, it will definitely be more worth it.
Address: 286 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 302 2155