Melding of Capampangan tradition and comfort Filipino food, an equation to simplify the new restaurant I recently discovered at UP Town Center named Pinac.
My normal road routine doesn’t take me to the Katipunan side, or the other side of North. Knowing there are several big schools lined up like Ateneo, Miriam and UP, traffic jam will surely keep me waiting inside the car. I didn’t mind jamming with the traffic when I found out about UP Town Center’s new restaurants, especially the new Capampangan restaurant, Pinac.
Competing against a multitude of Filipino restaurants in Metro Manila, Pinac stands out because of its heirloom recipes that has been well-kept from generations to generations. Owner Angel Pelayo-Ty safely kept the recipes created by her grandmother and gave more glory by sharing their mouthwatering creations at Pinac.

The Food:

Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro (Php 235)
Rate: 4/5
The charisma of the name Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro pulled me to order a plate. I really haven’t explored Hito or fresh water catfish being used as a common ingredient in our household. That’s why the playful name had my attention, putting pressure to my curiosity.
I appreciated its crunchy texture from the outside with a mashy fish filling combination inside. Using the mustasa leaves as a wrap added excitement as I fed myself with this appetizer. According to Pinac’s friendly servers, the proper way to eat is to cover the balls with mustasa leaves, slap with buro or fermented rice, then finish it with dipping into Pinac’s homemade vinaigrette.
Mantekadong Balut (Php 165)
Rate: 4/5
Fear factor put a show of horror towards our local delicacy balut. The gourmet version by Pinac transforms the unappealing image of balut to a classy version.  Together with shredded potatoes like ‘Picnic’ snack, cream sauce and garlic, foreigners won’t need to fright a bite.
Bringhe (Php 345)
Rate: 4/5
Capampangan version of Paella composed of glutinous rice with gata and chicken cooked in banana leaves lined-skillets. Very sticky rice served in a skillet that’s almost like our own “kakanin.”
What O liked most was the crunchy chicken skin on top with a pinch of saltiness. Bringhe on skillet may look huge from your perspective but the skillet could really be enough for 2 persons.
Lechon Kawali with Laing (Php 345)
Rate: 5/5
I thought I was in Pampanga for the day but the laing, which is a Bicolano specialty wanted me to get a hold of it. Powerful ingredients together, laing and lechon kawali, a perfect match for my late lunch with O. Crunchy lechon kawali with thick tender meat on a bed of milky and tacky laing that’s not too spicy. Bicolanos migt get upset tasting this laing since it lacks spiciness. But for homegrown Manileños, it could be just right.
Brazo de Mais at Salabat (Php 185)
Rate: 5/5
I vote this Brazo de Mais as one of my top dessert finds in Manila. Pinac is slowly being known for their Capampangan mains but their dessert brazo cake shouldn’t get left behind. A promising sponge-like fluffy cake partnered with salabat or ginger tea.
Its inner custard filling with chips of corn takes full control of the rolled cake. I’m positive about this cake being a favorite at Pinac.
Cucumber Mint Dalandan Shake (Php 85)
Rate: 5/5
A citrus cooler with a smack of mint that freshened us up. O and I agree that our Capampangan lunch on a sunny afternoon was more fun with Cucumber Mint Dalandan Shake.

The Ambiance:

UP Town Center is still relatively new with on-going construction at the amphitheater, parking and back side. Pinac being placed by the veranda side gave a feel of freshness. Another, I love the “unfinished” wood furnish of the interiors. Quite confused with how it should look old or new. Well it doesn’t matter. White, beige and brown calm the eyes in a good manner.
Like most restaurants in malls, Pinac accommodates more people during weekends. For most days like school days, parents wait up at UP Town Center while their kids are in neighboring Katipunan schools.
It caused bucks to be stuck in traffic along Katipunan but I guess my food trip to Pinac was worth it.
Have you visited Pinac at UP Town Center?
Share with me your thoughts! 🙂
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Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout
Location: 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Operating Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Contact: (+632) 775-9450
Budget: PHP300++

Food 9/10
Ambiance 9/10
Service 8/10
Cost 8/10
Overall 8.5/10