So far it’s been a frustrating experience scouring dining finds at the Mall of Asia. Not because of the quality of the food but because the place is simply too big (and segmented) to try everything. I’ve tried Gumbo, made a mental note to go to Highlands Steak House (because their prime rib in Tagaytay was unforgettable) and munched on the usual fastfood places like Oki Oki, Teriyaki Boy and Kopi Roti.
One MOA establishment I’ve tried several times now is La Mesa Grill. I first went here during my last birthday upon the recommendation of my friend Jimi who said it was owned by Sharon Cuneta. Turns out it was Sharon’s husband, Senator Kiko who’s a business partner of the resto. Nonetheless, Sharon’s touch is still evident because of the roster of Original Pilipino Music pervading in the background. OPM like The Boyfriends, VST & Co. Apo Hiking Society and the classic “Mr. DJ.”
Even though my palate is jaded from eating too much Filipino food , I still think La Mesa Grill is notable because of its unique concept of having built-in grills on the table such as those found in Korean/Japanese restaurants. It’s just a pity that the whole place lacks space though they were able to maximize the Filipino design. The menu itself isn’t very long, which is good. I like their big platters of meat and seafood specialties which take the headache out of ordering. An example is the La Mesa Combo (P345)which already contains grilled clams, prawns, mussels, blue marlin belly, squid, chicken leg quarter, pork spareribs BBQ and lengua. It will probably take a long time before I am able to order the “crispchon” though it appears to be one specialty of the house. This is super-tender and crispy 45-day old piglet (a la cochinillo) paired with the house’s own pandan crepes and an assortment of sauces.
So far I can rave about their sigarilyas sa gata, crispy kambing and sinigang na bangus belly. One of the bestsellers, the sisig fried rice, turned out to be a dud (e.g. needs improvement). They also have other kinds of sisig like tofu and lumpiang sisig. In a nutshell, La Mesa Grill is recommended if you want to try a different kind of Filipino restaurant or would like your balikbayan friends to sample Pinoy food to the accompaniment of OPM music that reminds one of home sweet home.