After trying Francis A’s delicious Pinoy Heritage: 8 Course Spring Tasting Menu pop up last month, I knew I wanted to try his 5 Course Filipino Brunch “Umagahan” as well. For this brunch, he combines Filipino with Californian flavors. It’s something that I can’t find in any of the restaurants in the area and I know for sure it’s something that I can’t make at home. We took the BART in this time instead of driving and arrived 20 minutes early. Too bad it doesn’t balance out our late-ness from last time. We got seated and was immediately greeted with the option of a mimosa or coffee. I didn’t really have to think that hard about that one.
Fruit, mint and champagne? Some of my favorite ingredients combined into one delicious cup.
To be honest, I was very unimpressed when I saw this. It looks like some cut up vegetables on a piece of toast. And then I took a bite and remembered why I go out of my way to eat and to leave the cooking to the chefs. First, the veggies are super fresh and perfectly ripe, and the mango adds a nice sweetness. The tinapa sarsa (fish) sauce mixed with mint, cilantro and other herbs that they added to this toast really pulled all the flavors together. It was smokey, a hint of salty and just the right amount of fishy. I happily ate every bite.
I have a weird thing with peas where they kind of creep me out. I don’t even know what it is about them, but I’m fine as long as they’re in a shell like snap peas or in a green bean form. Luckily, the peas were inside the lumpia wrapper. I did have a peek inside and they were bright green and looked super fresh which relieved me a little bit from the frozen, wrinkly, pale green ones I always fear seeing (maybe that’s what it is…). Anyways, did you know that there’s such thing as crab fat? This sauce is made with crab fat and it was delicious! I love the crunch of the peanuts and I can taste that all the veggies inside were super fresh and so were the small bites of crab meat. This solidifies that the chef is really good with flavors. I licked the plate clean.
I’m a fan of soup and this dish was no exception. The chicken broth was so full of flavor and had a nice thickness to it. I love the hint of chili oil as well. The home-made noodles with longanisa was so soft and juicy at the same time. I could have just eaten this as my main dish.
My favorite type of egg is a poached egg where it’s cooked to the point where the yolk is JUST in the middle of being a solid and a liquid. The chef nailed the egg (and the whole dish, really) and even seared it to get a nice crisp on the bottom. It was on top of some really tasty beef steak marinated in calamansi and also a round of crispy rice for texture. This was a very creative Filipino take on eggs benedict, which is my go-to brunch item.
It saddens me sometimes when I see dessert at the end of the meal which means the meal is ending, but at the same time, dessert is one of my favorite things to eat. This was another calamansi flavored dish where it was made into a marmalade and folded into a coffee cake. The coffee cake had a cake-y and mochi like texture with hints of calamansi and just the right amount a sweetness. It was a great way to end the meal.
Chef Francis continues to amaze me with his creative cooking, various textures and great flavors. I can’t wait to check out his other pop-ups as I know that I will be blown away!