IN PHOTOS: Alba's newest Estancia branch is first of its kind
MANILA, Philippines – Bienvenidos!
Alba Restaurante Español is back – not that it ever left our shores – but recently, it revealed a brand-new concept branch, located at Estancia Mall, Pasig City.
Just a few months old, Alba's latest Estancia branch is a result of 5 years worth of hard work, with the Alba family set on continuing its 65-year-old legacy of authentic Spanish cuisine, while also targeting the newer, younger crowd.
Their fifth branch is bigger and brighter, reinvented to look more modern and contemporary compared to its other more traditional branches.
Of course, Spanish influence still remains – just check out the fixtures, chandeliers, table settings, brick walls, tiles, arches, and curtains!
All in the details
With a space big enough to seat 170 diners, its cozy design was definitely not compromised.
On its stone walls are painted paelleras (a matador and a Flamenco dancer), made by the daughter of the current owners of Alba, Chef Miguel de Alba and wife Cachelle. A mural of the Segovia castle, the hometown of the late founder Don Alba, also greets guests as they enter.
A large sepia photograph of Don Alba serving friends and guests also accentuate the brick arch right beside it.
“Todo lo que yo deseo desde el momento que llegan que le sirvan con esmero,” the nostalgic Don Alba quote says on the walls, which translates to “All that I desire from the moment you arrive is to serve you with care" – a mission that still rings true today.
Guests can also appreciate Alba's rich history via the heritage wall dedicated to the memory and legacy of Don Alba, starting from his arrival in the Philippines in 1952.
Aside from quaint, nostalgic elements, why the extra priority on space? “This branch is envisioned to be a bigger and more celebration-centric venue for families and friends,” Chef Miguel shared.
And that's exactly what Reunir, a Spanish word painted on their walls, means – to “meet, assemble, and get together." This is the dining philosophy behind Alba, and this is precisely what hungry groups are meant to do during every visit over an array of tapas, drinks, and dishes.
Tour De Alba
Enter through Alba's wide, red doors and immediately a large tapas bar greets you, along with pretty Mediterrenean-patterned tiles.
A deli bar also exists on the right side, perfect for on-the-go buyers who wish to take home some of Alba’s signature cold cuts and chorizo home. Beside it is also a dessert bar and coffee corner, perfect for a quick merienda stop-over.
“Papa came to the country to do one thing: to understand the Filipino palate and please it by introducing traditional Spanish comfort food,” Chef Miguel recalled, and to that we salute our wine glasses to.
What's on the menu?
Aside from Alba's ala carte offerings, many hungry diners head to Alba during lunch and/or dinner for the super sulit buffets.
The lunch buffet costs P795+ per head, and runs from 11 am to 2pm, while the dinner buffet runs from 5pm to 9pm and costs P850+.
Overall, we think that's a very fair price to pay for an authentic spread of traditional Spanish home-cooking you're guaranteed every day.
What are some of the Spanish staples you can expect?
The mere mention of Alba Restaurant may already spark appetizing images of Spanish chorizos and cured meats in your head, but that's not all there is to enjoy – the signature carnes (stewed ox tongue) lengua sevillana (stewed ox tripe), callos a la Madrilena (beef stew) are noteworthy, too.
Of course, the buffet centerpiece, the crispy, moist Cochinillo Asado (oven-roasted suckling pig), is almost always the star of the show.
Alba is also famous for its authentic paellas – there's the classic paella valenciana (chicken, pork, chorizo, seafood, and vegetables), the squid ink paella negra, paella marinara (seafood), paella de bacalao (dried salted cod fish and potatoes), and the vegeterian-friendly paella de verduras.
And of course, it's not a Spanish feast with a platter of tapas! Bite-sized appetizers packed with flavor are beautifully laid out – all 55 choices of them.
There are chorizos, jamon, gambas, champignon, Pamplona, mortadela, salchichon, mahi-mahi, among others.
And for dessert – a fluffy and sweet meringue cake, the famous canonigo and another best-seller, the tarta de Santa Teresa, a cream-filled sponge cake with almonds and yema balls.
The lunch buffet is available daily in all branches, while the dinner buffet only serves Alba's Morato, Prism and Estancia branches.
A legacy worth keeping
A couple other Spanish restaurants may have popped up since Alba's decades-old birth, yet Alba's staying power, name recall, and quality remains unmatched.
“Competition keeps us on our toes but we have always been clear about the direction of Alba. We serve traditional Spanish comfort food. This is what we do best," Chef Miguel shared.
"Most of all, it’s about putting our heart into everything we do and the relationships we build with people. We just want our guests to leave the restaurant happy. Everything is customer-centered; there is no other way,” he added, and loyal Alba regulars can surely agree. – Rappler.com
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