Via Mare at 40: Four Decades of a Masterpiece in Dining

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All photos by Ric Caliolio Jr.

This year, Via Mare is celebrating a momentous occasion in the Philippine dining industry. 2015 is marked as their 40th year making Philippine cuisine present from young to old fans alike.

So, last 8th of August, at the Via Mare Cafe in Greenbelt 1, we joined the doyenne of Philippine cuisine herself, Ms Glenda Barretto, in partaking what Via Mare has in store for us in their 40th anniversary. She regaled us diners with the timeless taste of Via Mare’s menu items, plus a sneak peek into the future of one of the foremost restaurants in the country.

Breakfast showcase: Grilled Pandesal choices
Breakfast showcase: Grilled Pandesal choices

Via Mare also prepared an exhibit of their breakfast menu showcasing their signature creations.

Breakfast showcase 2
Breakfast showcase featuring rice meals

spicy tuyo
Spicy Tuyo breakfast

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Vigan longganisa meal
Vigan longganisa rice meal

tocino meal
Tocino rice meal

Even prior to the main event, early birds were served sandwiches that were uniquely Filipino and Via Mare: Vigan longganisa pandesal sandwiches with criss-cut potato chips. Also complementing the sandwiches were hot drinks like hot chocolate (espeso-style which was so thick and delicious) and breakfast tea.

The Vigan longganisa sandwich is a simple breakfast fare which can be enjoyed by anyone who prefers a quick breakfast. This dish can be best enjoyed over a hot chocolate or coffee.

Pre-event food
Pre-event food

Guests at the event were treated with a dish most popular with Filipino families: a medley of Vigan longganisa, a cut of fried milfish, delicious adobo flakes together with a cup of garlic rice with sunny-side-up egg perched on top. A simple yet hearty Filipino breakfast was served, all in the goodness that only Via Mare can offer.

Menu for the morning
The menu

Filipino breakfast
The quintessential Filipino Breakfast

As breakfast was served we were entertained by Ms Glenda Barretto, founder of Via Mare, with stories of how some of the dishes on the menu came to be. The breakfast event was interactive because we asked Ms Glenda Barretto questions regarding Via Mare and her thoughts on Philippine cuisine. It was an enjoyable experience!

As Via Mare’s history was unfolded over breakfast, spanning from the time they began as a fine-dining restaurant to a go-to name in the catering industry, their future was also discussed. They had already launched a new branch at KidZania at Bonifacio Global City recently. Asked why they think Via Mare is a good fit inside the kid-friendly establishment, Ms Glenda Barretto responded that it is best to introduce good Filipino food to the kids after play. Kudos to starting ’em young!

WIth the Glenda Barretto
Ms Glenda Barretto has arrived!

Glenda Barretto entertaining us
The doyenne of Filipino cuisine entertaining us with stories

After breakfast, we were served items Via Mare has been known for: bibingka and puto bumbong. Normally, these rice-based desserts are only available during the Christmas season. But, thanks to Via Mare, they made these desserts popular mainstays in their repertoire.

Bibingka and puto bumbong
Via Mare’s soft and warm bibingka with the traditional puto bumbong.

The Via Mare bibingka up close

Personally, I enjoyed the event, especially having the grand opportunity of speaking with Ms Glenda Barretto. She is very genial, and one can tell her enthusiasm towards her business. I am very proud to say that I was able to try their dishes when I was younger, and that my parents themselves enjoyed Via Mare’s offerings through the years. Ms Barretto was happy to hear about how my mother loved to take her Mediterranean bisque home on a bowl, completely covered with the dough (as it was usually presented at the restaurant)!

Cheers to more years in the dining industry, Via Mare! And thank you for putting our cuisine on the culinary map.

lucky and grateful
The author with Ms Glenda Barretto

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