[PHOTO AT LEFT - Blackbeard’s Crab Maritess features crabs sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Photos by RIO MENDONES MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JULY 17, 2009 (STAR) By Jennifer Ong - Don’t be fooled by appearances. Pirates may be on the wall and huge straw drums may be hanging from the ceiling, but the new Blackbeard’s Seafood Island Restaurant in Westgate Center, Alabang delivers on its bounty of culinary promises — a menu full of all the seafood creations you can ever crave.

The restaurant itself appears modest. But the menu has a repertoire of good seafood cooking in various cuisine styles. Any way you want seafood done, you’d perhaps find it being done to prawns, mussels, crabs or fish here.

For starters, Blackbeard’s Seafood Island Restaurant serves tuna sashimi and salmon sashimi. Or you can try the baby squid sisig that sizzles with some chunks of pork liver and garlic. A must-try is the mussel fritters, mussels rolled in bacon, breaded, and deep-fried to a golden brown crisp.

You could also start with the crispy tapa, fried crisp adobong bihod, kalderetang kambing, garlic smothered fried froglegs, kuhol sa gata, garlic chicharon bulaklak, salt & pepper asohos, five spice chips, ensaladang talong, shrimps & pomelo salad, Manila market salad, Cebuano danggit salad, and Pinoy nachos.

If you love crabs, two of the restaurant’s crab creations stand out. There’s the Crab Maritess, huge crab parts sautéed in olive oil and garlic. And then there’s the spicy Singaporean chili crab that features crabs sautéed in a special chili sauce. The restaurant also serves Szechuan Crab, Crab Lilian, Raymund’s Salt & Pepper, Fidel’s Pepper Crab, Thai chili crab, steamed crab, and deep fried crab.

Aside from crabs, other seafood favorites are the seafood curry kare, a melding of curry and the local kare-kare flavor in one steaming hotpot. The resto is also mighty proud of its kasag, lobster, suahe, giant clams, tanguingue, salmon, black marlin, tilapia, squid, pompano, lapu-lapu, maya-maya, and hito.

But seafood aside, it must be said that Blackbeard’s Seafood Island Restaurant also cooks up a tender lamb kebab that comes in skewers of three and is served with a hearty fragrantly spiced kebab rice. Equally tender is the US Angus beef. Also on the meaty menu are the pork liempo, garlic smothered crispy pata, salt & pepper lechon kawali, Seafood Island fried chicken, classic crispy pata, chicken inasal, garlic-smothered chicken inasal, and Manila BBQ ribs.

For dessert, try the Banana Wrap that’s got slices of banana rolled up in a spring roll, deep fried, and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Or try the coco pandan flan with a good hint of pandan flavor.

Blackbeard island will steal your food-loving heart. Here, you’re simply lost in food paradise.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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