Thursday, January 10, 2019

That Pop Talk News TV Experience - SALAMANGKA

A month ago, I was privileged to have been invited by Pop Talk News TV of GMA Network to be one of their food reviewers for their Themed Resto segment.  Shot 30 days ago, it was finally aired last Saturday January 12 in Ch 24 Sky.

It was a month of waiting on my end where I can not post anything specific about the experience until the show finally came out 

They chose 3  restaurants with unique themes.  Together with Kuya Tonipet (host) , upcoming star Sanya Lopez and celebrity chef  Arghie of Friends & Family Raintree Restaurants group, we started reviewing the food, the place , the price and came out with our own individual verdict.

The picture above is one  of  the behind-the-scenes photos I managed to take here and there during the whole day shoot. Yes it was a more than 12 hour activity which I enjoyed thoroughly. You know me.  New adventures excite me.

Jeimi picked me up at 7am . The shoot finished at 10 pm. There were 3 locales. Salamangka in Libis  was  the second among 3 locations scheduled that day.

Not used to being dolled up, I surrendered to the "adventure" ahead of me ... :)
Fan-girling with Ms. Rhea Santos of Unang Hirit


Salamangka   is a Tagalog word which means magic  or conjuring

Salamangka is the latest project of the 121 Group, which opened in August 2018 in Eastwood City. It is a cafe-restaurant-bar that offers specialty coffee , infused cocktails and pinoy craft beer on tap.


Striking white brick wall with black and white rendering of  Pinoy mythical creatures dominate one side of  the restaurant. Of course the local folklore will not be complete without the representation of the  mystical Balete Tree which seemed to loom  over everything in the restaurant.

The high ceiling is further enhanced by lights which at first glance looked like floating candles. What completes the image though is the menu list of cocktail drinks that take the names of  scary Pinoy mythical  entities like the manananggal, aswang and sigbin to name a few. It is a theme that every local can relate to as it brings to mind those scary stories our yayas and lolas used to herald us with to keep our behavior in check . Never mind that it gave us a nightmare or two or that  it so traumatized us we have a permanent phobia of dark rooms and shadows.

Despite the eerie or frightening theme, the restaurant has an easygoing vibe similar to any coffee shop. Being a corner location, Salamangka is blessed with vibrant  light in the morning, making it a happy  place to chill in  for coffee or lunch

The wide expanse of white brick wall draws the eyes with its huge mural of a balete tree in one corner and a cornucopia of  creatures of Pinoy folklore done in black and white

The whole place was predominantly black, white and warm wood. The ceiling was high and the venue looked spacious and pristine because of the white background.

The bar is in the center with menu in black board written in chalk giving the whole place a rustic  flair.

The Food

As its name means magic in Tagalog, the concept of Salamangka is inspired by Filipino mythological folklore, while its menu incorporates  cafe food with Filipino twists.

The latest project of the 121 Group, I liked how Salamangka was conceptualized.  I love how the restaurant cleverly dovetailed   Pinoy folklore with local  food and drinks. It is a unique concept. At least it is the first I heard of it.

Corned Beef Mac n Cheese 
Crispy corned beef flakes on top of a bed of cheesy macaroni P379

This spells all-day breakfast to me. Filling and familiar it combined both favorites of ours for breakfast ... mac and cheese and corned beef. Yum!

Sinigang sa Manggang Hilaw
Classic Beef Sinigang simmered in green mango. Served with Plain Rice P279

Comfort food at its best.  Perfect for people who love broth for lunch or dinner. I loved that Salamanga incorporated green mangos in this dish.

Adobo sa Dilaw
Two way adobong manok cooked with atsuete. Topped with adobo flakes. 
Served with plain rice P189

Pritong Tapa 
Deep fried pork tapa paired with scrambled egg. 
Served with garlic rice and pinakurat vinegar P185

Wallet-friendly prices matched with generous portions = winner. This will definitely satisfy our piggery.

Tinapa flakes paired with scrambled egg. Served with garlic rice P189

One of my favorites, this dish hits the spot with its price and generous portions.

Vegan Nachos
Toasted pita bread with ground tofu, splash of lemon and olive oil,
drizzled with Yummza pesto hummus P199

This was an interesting take on nachos which I truly enjoyed. I loved the crunchy pita bread in lieu of tortillas that are familiar to us . The  choice of ground tofu was pure genius. The splash of lemon and olive oil is reminiscent of Greek cuisine which is synonymous with healthy food. I shall order this again.

Itlog na Maalat
Salted Egg Chicken Wings P349

The chicken wings were crunchy outside while retaining its moistness inside.  Salted egg variant is a favorite so this is a winner for me. A little caveat though, you will be needing bowls of rice for this haha


Salamangka's food although not purely Pinoy, have  that local twist. The price and portions are winners here. This budget conscious mom of 4 is one happy camper because of this.

Tinapa Rice and Vegan Nachos are favorites. Coffee concoctions are delicious as well. It was unfortunate that we did not have enough time to try their cocktails . Would have wanted to try the "aswang". Oh well gives me enough reason to return with the piggery in tow haha.

Indeed Salamangka is a  "shape-shifter".  Much like the dark creature "aswang" who are human-like by day and blood thirsty creatures at nightfall, Salamangka is an all-day breakfast place or coffee shop when the sun is out then seamlessly  turns into a bar or late night spot for drinks, when the sun sets.

Fascinating isnt it?  Definitely a must try. Check them out and let me know what you think

Salamangka s located at  Eastwood Citywalk 1, 1888 E Rodriguez Jr. Avenue Bagumbayan Libis Quezon City

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With the owners of Salamangka, @kuyatonipet, Chef Arghie and Sanya Lopez

Salamangka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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