One of the best restaurant openings of 2021 was Abacá in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Located inside the Kimpton Alton Hotel, the restaurant is sleek, modern, and inviting with an outdoor feel. Beautiful space.
Before this brick and mortar location, chef Francis Ang held a very popular pop-up in the city called Pinoy Heritage for several years. While I never got to try the pop-up, I was intrigued by Abacá for it’s Filipino-Californian cuisine which is something new and exciting to the city.
Everything on the menu sounded amazing so choosing dishes was quite the challenge. There were two ways to approach the menu. Either order one or two large dishes with accompanying side dishes or order numerous smaller dishes. Since we wanted to try as many dishes as possible, we ordered several smaller dishes and it did not disappoint.
Since I don’t drink alcohol, they offered a mocktail version of their Ube-Colada which was out of this world! The pineapple juice with the ube coconut cream was soooo good. The rum was definitely not missed.
Pillowy warm buns were stuffed with unctuous bacon tocino and garnished with refreshing pineapple kimchi.
You can’t have Filipino food without lumpia. They had a pork or vegetarian version and we opted for the pork. The apple ketchup with fermented mango was a nice counterpart to the fried food.
A vibrant salad with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and juicy peaches from K&J Orchards were nestled on top of a creamy mung bean hummus. I liked the addition of the croutons for some crunch. The only thing missing was a little bit of seasoning.
This was one of the highlights of the meal. Thinly cut pork was skewered and charred with a banana BBQ sauce and garnished with atchara (a pickle made from unripe papaya).
Another delicious bite was like pork sausage served with an egg yolk and cane vinegar mixture.
Our least favorite skewer was the chicken as it needed a little bit of seasoning. I did enjoy the coconut notes though.
This kabocha squash fritter was seasoned with funky black garlic and pinakurat vinegar ( a vinegar made with coconut, chiles, and other aromatics).
Sisig is a Filipino dish made with various cuts of pork and chicken liver. Their version had pork with crunchy chicharron pieces, an onsen style egg, and pickled onion. So yummy.
The last savory dish was their homemade noodles, also known as pancit, with baby scallops and baby corn in a rich XO bagoong (fermented fish condiment) sauce.
The banana cake was inside the silky chocolate mousse. So decadent.
The silky corn crémeux was served with an umani Parmesan ice cream. What an interesting flavor combination that surprisingly worked.
I loved this cream puff stuffed with coconut pastry cream and raspberry compote. On top of the cream puff were lychee gummys giving a nice floral flavor and chewy texture.
Filipino cuisine isn’t represented enough and certainly there aren’t any innovative restaurants showcasing their cuisine. Abacá is a wonderful addition to the city so my rating is an 8-8.5/10.