The Illy Series: Pizzarella Bistro

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Day Three at The Illy. The rain was still steady but already a more manageable drizzle. I got up earlier in an effort to catch the lunchtime lechon cutting. The PussyKat has long raved about how lechon at The Illy as way better than Cebu’s. There was no way pork could be that good in Mindanao, I told myself. I queef everytime to subdue my island pride.

We arrived at Dodong’s, currently The Illy’s Best Lechon title-holder, with only the rump and a part of the head on display. This was exactly at noon. The half-kilo we split wasn’t stellar but I bet it would have been great fresh off the spit, steaming hot with the skin all crispy. Ravenous when we got there, we treated it as a filler and even forgot to take pictures.

Pizzarella was a short ride back into the direction of the city and located on the far end of a four-unit strip mall. The owners put much effort in giving it an modern Italian pizzeria vibe with dark wood furniture, kooky murals and vintage-feel pop-art prints. The menu was kept simple with only a few pizza variants, some pastas and other bites on the flipside. Predictably, I ordered the Burgerella — a “Burger in a Pizza”, “a sprinkle of burger patties on a creamy white sauce infused with a trio of Mozarella, Cheddar and melted cheese, topped with green bell pepper, black olives, fresh lettuce and finished by mustard sauce.”

The crust had a great crunch with a good, smoky, wood-fire oven taste distinctly unlike your chain-store pizzas going for twice the price. I would best describe the sauce as homey and, thankfully, non-ketchup. The cheeses were quite good but the whole thing was wanting of more mozzarella. The ground beef, the burger to the ella, was a decent lean grind simply seasoned with salt and pepper.

A cardboard standee on the table set “4 Rules To (sic)Eat Pizza” with an imperative “#3.Do not put sauce to taste the best flavor.” The waiter promptly plunked sachets of Del Monte Tomato Ketchup and unmarked hot sauce with our order. Thanks for the suggestion. While the entire thing did have good flavor, I couldn’t resist dousing it with hot sauce like I’m used to doing. Held the ketchup. Six out of eight slices washed down with Red, Teroso, and Lemon, Tecasa, Iced Tea from their “originale beverages, fusione” line.

Quite happy, we set out to cap off that long lunch with Civet Cat Coffee.

Pizzarella Bistro is located at Permites Road, Brgy. San Miguel, Iligan City, Philippines.

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