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Sabao's menu displayed prominently beside their entrance

Who doesn't like a bowl of piping hot soup to go with their meal? Ask anybody and, more often, you would get an affirmative response.

Soup is comforting and warming – it soothes you when you are sick and perks you up when you are lethargic. This is probably the big idea that inspired the people behind Motherhood F&B to set up Sabao Filipino Soup Bar.

Whipping up good soup, or sabaw in the vernacular, is undeniably the focus of this restaurant, a fine-looking joint tucked in a quiet little corner between Valero and Rufino Streets. It's the perfect place for those who want to relax after a hard day’s work.

Upon entering Sabao, you would be greeted by modern, well-lighted interiors accentuated by local pieces. The walls are well-decorated to give a cozy, homey ambiance. The tables for two, however, are small so we were a bit cramped.

Our table

We were handed not a typical menu but a piece of paper printed with the line-up of dishes. The waiter also gave us Stabilo highlighters which we will use to mark our orders.

We began by choosing your soup from 4 classic Pinoy favorites – Sinigang, Tinola, Molo and Bulalo. We initially wanted to get Sinigang but we were told by the server that it was not available. We figured Bulalo was too rich and sinful so we had to decide between Tinola and Molo soup. In the end, we got Molo soup.

 Our big bowl of Molo Soup

For our mains, I got braised beef because chicken was the only meat available. My wife got crispy shrimps.

It did not take long for our orders to arrive. The big bowl of fragrant molo soup was inviting so we immediately got down to business. First sip (slurp) and I knew it was love. It had all the taste of long-simmered ingredients -- meat, garlic and seasonings. It had whole heads of roasted garlic which rendered it superbly aromatic.

 Braised beef

  Crispy Shrimps

Whole roasted garlic heads at the bottom of my soup bowl

Our mains were served over brown rice, which lessens the guilt for calorie counters. My braised beef, while very tender, lacked flavor. My palate was searching for more...a bit more of saltiness perhaps? Or a slight hint of sweetness? This dish holds a lot of promise, it just needs maybe a dash more of seasonings. On the other hand, my wife's crispy shrimp was an explosion of flavors! I really like this dish. My wife, who is averse of shrimp heads, gave me all these goodies. It was very crispy, without sharp edges, and seasoned well. It's better with a squeeze of lemon juice and goes well with rice. I would always go back for this dish.

Our Molo Soup was gone in no time

Afterwards, our bill arrived. The receipt said P1500. Not bad since I was expecting it to be higher. All in all, with its friendly and fast servers, its great food and homey ambiance, Sabao is worth recommending.

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