We recently dined at Lombardi’s which is on Level 4 of the hip and happening East Wing of the Shang-ri La Mall in Mandaluyong City. The last time I looked, there were only a few places open in this wing, including a couple of interesting restos. But the situation should have changed by now (with the Crumpler flagship just opened!). It’s been more than a month since I last visited too 🙂
The slogan of Lombardi’s says it all: Authentic Italian. It also helps that the resto was named after its chef who is a true Italian from Milan named Davide Lombardi. He met his Filipina wife while working in Paris and when they visited the Philippines in 2009, they decided to stay. “I like the climate here. I wake up early in the morning and always see the sunlight on my window.”
Here’s simpatico Chef Lombardi. He also teaches at the Center for Culinary Arts – Manila.
It was a dinner as impressive as the company we kept. For the most part, I was in deep conversation with my seatmate Didi where we talked about food, travels and mommyhood.But I surely couldn’t ignore the first dish (appetizer) that was laid out for our enjoyment that night, the Carpaccio Di Manzo (P460). Simply put, this consists of very thin slices of raw beef marinated in lemon and olive oil and topped with shavings of fresh parmesan. I presume you can eat the beef raw and not flinch because the meat tastes so fresh and is impeccably prepared.
The Lasagne Della Casa (P310) was really good. Tasting this made me imagine I was really in Italia and not in white sauce-carbonara crazy Filipinas, LOL. The dish is resplendent with the rich flavor of stewed tomatoes, bolognese and of course, bechamel sauce. Highly recommended.
Presented with pride by the waitstaff was the house specialty : the Tagliata di Manzo (P1200 per serving). This is tender ribeye steak that’s thinly sliced and seared then baked in the oven. It’s served with a drizzle of caramelized balsamic sauce, mashed potatoes, and a separate plate consisting of pasta and salad. Truly luxurious!
Pasta selection : Taglietelle Amatriciana (P380) which is topped with pancetta; and the Spaghetti Frutti De Mare (P400) which is filled with seafood like prawns, clams and squid.
After the pasta, what would Italian food be without pizza? I loved the resto’s Pizza Alsalumi (P500) which had various kinds of Italian ham like prosciutto, mortadella and salami. The Vegetarian Pizza was also superb (P310). The Quattro Formaggi or good ol’ Four Cheese (P420) was rather mild, but maybe that’s how it should be.
Chef Lombardi observes that Filipinos are fond of pizza and pasta but they are accustomed to the American style of cooking, not the Italian style.
“Most establishments here rely on frozen dough and sprinkle meat slices all over the pizza, while the pasta they use is dry and often not cooked al dente. The white sauces are usually very heavy with cream and cheese and with meat. Italian pizza and pasta does not have to be heavy on meat,” Mr Lombardi adds.
So want to know real Italian food? Head on over to any of Lombardi’s two branches and don’t forget to end your meal with some delightful gelato.
Level 4 East Wing, Shang-ri La Mall
2F Al Fresco area, Robinson’s Magnolia, New Manila, San Juan City