Westgate Center in Alabang has been in the foodies’ radar for sometimes now. With its sprawling complex filled with numerous restaurants and bars ranging from comfort food up to exquisite fusion and world cuisine, a discerning foodie or someone who just loves to eat would find Westgate dining experience something they’ll always want to come back for.
Last July 19, 2018, we were invited to a Food Crawl to explore and taste the special cuisine of the four of the many restaurants located at Westgate Center namely Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe, Neil’s Kitchen, Butamaru and Alba Restaurante Espanol.
I love food crawl. I get to taste the special menu of each participating restaurant and through this, you tend to gain a lot of insight into what makes a restaurant click with its customers, how each food in the menu is as special as the next one and how awesome it is to see the passion for food of the owner/chef and how it translates to one delicious meal.
FIRST STOP: Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe
We kicked off at Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe, the go-to destination for the wellness and dining needs of the Alabang residents’ active, healthy lifestyle. Earth Origins serves homemade healthy dishes that is quite delicious and flavorful and contrary to popular belief, homey and healthy food can be yummy too as I found out when we get to partake Earth Origins Appetizers, Burgers and Paella. Even their drinks are heavenly too. (I still long for their Blackberry Ice Tea!)
We sampled and munched on their toasts, wraps and salad offerings. The Ricotta Cheese with Blueberry Jam Toast is a must-try as well as its Crabstick Mango Wrap with probiotic Kefir sauce and Nature Farm Salad. For someone who doesn’t eat much vegetables, I can’t believe I ate two pieces of the Korean-style friend Cauliflower!
As for their burgers, the Blue Cheese, Classic Beef and Veggie Burger and the Chicken-Pulled Adobo Style is too die for. Sandwiched between black buns that is infused with activated charcoal, the burgers are quite tasty and very filling.
But wait! There’s more, if you love Paella as much as I do, then you shouldn’t forget to order their All Meat and Seafood Paella. Yes, order both of them.
At Earth Origins Marketplace + Café, you can also find food items like condiments, wines, snacks as wells as home and bath essentials that is made from natural ingredients.
SECOND STOP: Neil’s Kitchen
From Earth Origins Marketplace + Café, we walked and zigzag a little bit to reach Neil’s Kitchen. From afar the white building is a beauty to behold and we spent a few minutes taking pictures of its façade. Upon entering the place, we were delighted upon seeing its whimsical stair. We saw that the place was already in full capacity since it’s lunch time.
Chef Neil Ramos, widely known in the catering business and a popular chef that can concoct new twists to Filipino food, was there to warmly welcome us in one of the Instagram-worthy area of the resto – the Neil's Kitchen's My Father's Bookstore.
Before the sampling, Chef Neil explained to us that the Neil’s Kitchen’s menu consists of modern Filipino comfort food. And before you think that most of the dishes are fusion food because of its exotic names, think again because all the food retains the integrity of the Filipino dish, its just that Neil’s Kitchen present it in a whole new modern way to bring them to the next level so that it can compete at the world’s stage.
As the dishes were served to us, we marvelled at how all of them are visually attractive and Instagram-worthy. For me, the Escargot de Gata, Ayala Alabang “AA” Batchoy, Menudo Mania, “Sloppy K” Beef Caldereta, the 5th version of the restaurant’s Sinigang - Wagyu Sinigang - Gyudon Style, Ohh-la-laing, Adobo Project, Alabang Fried Porkchop with Gravy Rice, Shrimp Pad Thai and the Sinigang Paella w/ Grilled Pork Belly are ALL a MUST-TRY!
The same can be said to their desserts. I’m telling you, do not leave without trying the Fried Suman, Mangga and Chocnut, the Puto Bumbong with Buco Jelly and Toasted Coconut, the Sweet corn Maja BB Special and the too-die-for Turon de Napoleon. This alone, will make you want to eat at Neil’s Kitchen every day.
THIRD STOP: Butamaru
I was longing for ramen for many days now because it has been raining in the city for like two weeks and ramen seems like a good idea. It’s a good thing that our next stop on the food crawl was the Butamaru.
If you’re hankering for an authentic Japanese menu then Butamaru is the right place for you. With its Japanese-style dining setup, you get to enjoy their best-tasting ramen and its ever-popular Katsugyozayaki, Truffle Gyoza and the Fried Truffle Gyoza.
As for their best-tasting ramen, the menu comes in 5 basic kinds: Ramen Shio, Miso, Tantanmen, Shoyu, and the Curry Tantanmen. What sets this ramen apart to others is that it uses broth made from the traditional Kyushu tonkotsu simmered and cooked for 16 hours. We sampled their Original Shio Ramen, Ramen Curry Tantanmen and my favorite - the Spicy Miso Butter Ramen.
Another must-try is the Spareribs which comes in four flavors namely the Spicy Glazed Spareribs, Buttered Parmesan, Original Glazed and the Soy Glazed Spareribs.
Our final stop was the poshest Alba Restaurante Espanol. With more than sixty years attached to its name, the Alba Restaurante Espanol has been the Home of Traditional Spanish Cooking™ in Manila. It has been satisfying generations of discerning food lovers enamored by the enticing flavors of Castilian cuisine.
As for me, it’s good that I get to try again my favorite Callos ala Madrilena and their heavenly, heavenly Canonigo!
Castilian cuisines are very flavorful and it shows in the dishes that were served to us like the Jamon con Manga y Aragula, Pollo Ajillo, Gambas con Tocino a la Parilla, Chorizo Fritos, Berenjenas Al Horno, and the Lapu-lapu en salsa Verde.
At Alba’s you can also eat their famous and authentic Paellas, the Paella Negra and the quite sinful Paella Filipino because it’s topped with Sisig and Cochinillo.
Let’s not forget their dessert of Chocolate Tower, a layer upon layer of chocolate goodness.
We finished the food crawl with a happy disposition and a belly-full of food. I appreciate how Westgate Center have great foodie spots and I’ll definitely be returning here over the coming months.
Westgate Center is a premier development project of Filinvest Alabang Inc. in Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The 9.2-hectare open-air shopping and dining complex boasts of a relaxing atmosphere perfect for rest and recreation.
Visit the Westgate Center’s official page at facebook.com/WestgateAlabang.