Cibo, that wonderful little paninoteca (sandwich shop) created by the brilliant Gaita Fores, turns ten this year and it is certainly worth a stop because of the consistenly amazing fare featured on its menu.
I remember very well how the restaurant chain’s menu looked a decade ago: a simple listing of pasta dishes, refreshing drinks, and panini – pressed/grilled sandwiches which were, at the time, a rather new thing for the Filipino palate. These days, there are more substantial Italian dishes on the menu: gorgeous entrees, a selection of crisp-crusted pizzas, and fabulous antipasti that sometimes serve as light meals in themselves.
For me, however, a visit to Cibo means a generous helping of their lovely dips alforno (baked cheese dips served with toast rounds), te freddo (iced tea flavored with lemon, peach, mint, or lemon), and – what I love best about Cibo – their panini salmone.
Smoked salmon and mozzarella are tucked between two slices of crusty Italian peasant loaf and grilled till the cheese melts and the surface of the sandwich is scorched with beautiful char-marks. It is simple yet sensational: the salty smokiness of the fish going well with the subtle flavor of the cheese and the wholesome taste of the bread. It comes to your table with a bit of salt and a sprig of basil on the side, plus crisp potato chips and Italian-style mayonnaise (maionnesa) that will make you swear off the commercially-prepared stuff forever as it doesn’t have the cloying sweetness so common in bottled mayonnaise. Molto perfetto!
I’d toast Cibo’s future success with a good Moscato d’Asti, but since that’s a little over my budget, I’ll just raise my glass of San Pellegrino, instead. 😀