Illustrado has been at its location in Intramuros for close to 20 years serving wonderful Spanish food amid a historical ambiance.
When I saw an Illustrado deal being offered at Deal Grocer, a group coupon buying site, I quickly gauged the interest of fellow foodies regarding the deal since I had dined there before and enjoyed it every time. Only Fran and Paul was interested and available so we quickly set a double date with me and Irene for a Saturday night excursion.
We were led to our reserved table in the half filled dining room but it seems there was a wedding going on upstairs, the reason we had to park outside.
A basket of bread with butter and their yummy pate was served while waiting for our food to be served. The picture above is already good for two people, so we requested for more pate but it took forever for our request to fulfilled. Water refilling request were virtually ignored, things were off to a rocky start. Good thing the conversation we were having distracted us.
Demitasse of Lobster Bisque, served with a Parmigiano Cheese stick. This was served in a espresso cup or demitasse, which you just sip and savor. The soup might be small but it packs quite a flavor punch. The first sip introduces a condensed shellfish flavor that leaves you feeling amid the sea. Finishing the cup, your taste buds are sated with the flavor and anything more would have been in excess.
Roasted Spring Chicken al Orange. I love citrus based food, so was gravitating towards this, but the fact that the other two main courses were beef sealed the deal since Irene does not eat beef. Despite being slathered with the mandarin orange sauce, the skin was still quite crispy. The meat was flavorful to the bone, both Irene and I really enjoyed this one. So far the food is making up for the service a little.
Paella Illustrado. The paella is more than enough for the two of us, with generous seafood toppings including two crab pieces as well as numerous pieces of chorizo.We loved the wet paella with nary a hint of charring underneath, which some people like Fran was looking for. The generous toppings gave a lot of different flavor to the paella.
Mango Jubilee with Sampaguita Ice Cream. This was supposed to be cooked in front of us but it was just served to us maybe owing to the lack of manpower and quite a number of patrons availing of the coupon.
The mangoes were sweet and I love the slight crunch of the almonds but the real star is the home made sampaguita ice cream. You heard that right, ice cream made from the sampaguita flower. As I started spooning the ice cream, I could feel the sampaguita smell wafting into my nostrils. This was quite a memorable dessert, just wished the ice cream was not melted.
Its a good thing the food and wonderful conversation we had made up for the lackluster service we had that night. When we got home, Irene remembered that Coffee or Tea should have served to us. The food was great and for P1250 for 2 people, we felt it a great deal for us not for our bellies.
Hopefully, the service snafu was just a one time thing, since it might have ruined an erstwhile great meal amid history.
744 Calle Real de Palacio (Gen Luna)
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