Serye: A Great Go-To Place When You're Craving for Delicious Filipino Food

The Filipino word, "serye", means "series" in English. For Chef Alvin Reyes Lim, Serye is also an anagram of "Reyes," his great-grandmother's last name, Engracia Cruz Reyes, founder of the Aristocrat Restaurant. His grandmother, on the other hand, is Teresita Reyes, better known as Mama Sita, founder of another popular food brand, whose daughter was also named Engracia, Chef Alvin's mother.

Chef Alvin (left) among avid foodies
photo credit: Nana Nadal
Thus, "Serye also means succession and it is a continuation of what we learned from our families. At the same time, it can also refer to progression and cycle which represents how we like to find ways of doing things better and how we make it a point to keep up with the times," he illustrated when we met him recently. 

Moreover, "Serye is a representation of generations of cooking (and eating) tradition infused with my personal culinary learnings and experiences." Chef Alvin patterned Serye after French bistro cafes, which he frequented when he went to Lyon, France to study French cuisine and culture. "Bistros [there] served everyday French comfort food in a nice, cozy set up and I thought we could do that for Filipino food as well."

Pomelo Salad
I finally had a chance to visit Serye's Sucat branch in Santana Grove (where Shopwise is located). It is a cozy and welcoming place where people can talk business over a great meal or families to bond around a table laden with good food.

Needless to say, I enjoyed every bite of each dish I had with my hubby and friends! First off, the Pomelo Salad (P225) is wonderful! It has pieces of sweet pomelos and juicy shrimp on a bed of lettuce. Drizzled with the flavorful and light vinaigrette, this refreshing starter dish prepped my taste buds for the succeeding dishes.

Bagnet at Pinakbet
The Bagnet at Pinakbet (P630) is a great combination dish because you get meat and vegetables in one! For those who are not familiar with the Filipino words, bagnet is pork belly cooked several times to achieve crispiness while pinakbet is a mix of different veggies sautéed in shrimp paste. If you haven't tried it yet, do so. It will make you crave for more Filipino food.

Laing Con Camaron Rebosado
Another savory dish you can find at Serye is the Laing Con Camaron Rebosado (P350). Here, coconut cream stewed taro leaves (or gabi) with ground pork and shrimp paste is topped with prawns that are crispy outside and juicy inside. I find that a nice touch that makes the dish look more appealing especially to those who may encounter it for the first time. 

Bangus Belly Ala Bistek
Milkfish being one of my favorite fishes to eat (as long as it's boneless), I found the Bangus Belly Ala Bistek (P395) delightful. It is made of fried milkfish belly and onion rings in calamansi and soy sauce. That's a good and healthier alternative to the usual beef or pork bistek we often find in other dining establishments. 

I'd have to say though that the Boneless Crispy Pata (P140 per 100g) tops my "will come back for more" list. This is deboned pork trotters that is tasty, tender, and crispy at the same time. It's amazing how Serye was able to remove all the bones and leave more of the crunchy skin for everyone to share. Winner!

Boneless Crispy Pata
Although I also love the Pinoy Classic Kare-Kare (P475), my husband claims he's its number one fan. Looking at him while taking enthusiastic spoonfuls of the dish along with rice, I instantly knew he found it to be one of the best he's ever tasted. I'd have to agree. The rich, thick, and flavorful sauce blends well with the tender oxtail and tripe as well as the crisp vegetables. The bagoong, which can actually make or break a kare-kare dish at times, is seasoned just right.   

Classic Kare-Kare
For dessert, we shared three dishes among ourselves because, by then, we were all feeling the near-to-fullness-tummy-feeling that results from being served good food after good food. I appreciate the size of the Banana Langka Turon (P155 / P195 with ice cream) because it made each piece easier to eat and share. The crunchy spring rolls filled with banana also has jackfruit. In my and my husband's standards, a turon can only be called special if it has langka in it :p There's a funny story behind that. Ask me about it the next time you see me ;-). 

Banana Langka Turon
I was fascinated with the Macapuno Pandan Cake (150) made with real pandan leaves because it's creamy and moist and utterly divine. No wonder it's one of Serye's most popular desserts. The cake is sourced from Manilabake, an artisanal bakery headed by Chef Alvin's wife, Gretchen Consunji-Lim. "It provides all of Serye's baked items and also accepts special orders for artisanal pastries and breads," he shares. 

Macapuno Pandan Cake
However, I personally vote the Bibingka Classic (P135) as my top choice to end any meal at Serye. Having grown up in Laguna and used to eating this kakanin that can be easily bought from vendors in our barangay, I'll always know a good bibingka when I find one and Serye's brings me back to my childhood. The billowy rice and coconut cream pancake is topped with kesong puti and salted duck eggs along with shaved manamis-namis fresh coconut. Yum!  

Bibingka Classic
Before we finally ended lunch, we registered for Klub Serye, the restaurant's program offering where members are entitled to special discounts and freebies. At the moment, they are giving away 20% discount e-coupons upon sign up. That's a big cut out of our next bill! :) You can register, too, by visiting Serye's branches in Quezon Memorial Circle (operating hours 7AM to 9PM, tel. 02.924.3411 or 426.2693) or Santana Grove Sucat (operating hours 11AM to 10PM, tel. 02.825.4691 or 826.9317).

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