I always call Upper General Luna road as a place with an identity crisis or maybe a developing identity. You see, some places in Baguio are defined by the business establishments present in the area. So before, Legarda Road was regarded as a go to night spot in Baguio City because of the bar that has sprouted in the area. That of course was before other bars started to open in other areas in the City which in effect caused Legarda road to lose that identity. Now at Upper General Luna Road there is a mixture of bars and restaurants and it seems that there is a tug-of-war going on with regards to which identity would Upper General Luna Road would take on based on the number of business establishments in the area. I would personally say though that Upper General Luna Road as a Food District is winning in that tug-of-war.
Speaking of restaurants, I had the chance to sample the food from one of the restaurants that opened their doors to the public just this year. At first you had to ask yourself, what does Red Rustikz offer that is not yet being offered in other restaurants in Baguio City? When you look at their facade and banners it says pasta, burger among other dishes that are already familiar to every food lover in Baguio City. Turns out there are a lot more than what is written on the banner ( I am not sure if the banner is still there though, I noticed they changed their signage on the facade).
For one they have an open kitchen so you can actually see how your food is made. I have seen some open kitchens here in Baguio, but i must say this is the most “open” I have seen. So if you are unsure with the food or are very particular with how your food is made then you can watch from the “sidelines”.
So you’ve seen the banners, yes it says burgers, yes pasta is scribbled on there too, but what I appreciate is that the pasta that you order is made from scratch, I mean, your pasta is not the store-bought pasta that gets a dive in a boiling hot water with salt and oil. No, this pasta is hand made from dough to running it to the pasta maker before it gets cooked into the hot water bath. The fact that Red Rustikz create their pasta this way makes you excited to discover what an authentic hand-made pasta would taste like. I must admit when i dove into the Ravioli, it was really good! The creamy white sauce complimented the ravioli and the pasta just melts in your mouth. I couldn’t say the same for the salmon pesto pasta though, the salmon was grilled and cooked properly, the taste is just as what I would expect from a salmon, but the pasta became a bit chewy for me. I do believe it is not the fault of the chef, but rather of chemistry, with so much food on our table I tasted the salmon pesto last, thus it got cold which may have caused the pasta to be chewy, note that i was sitting there on the table for a long time, more than 30 minutes even. Lesson learned you have to eat your food while it’s hot.
Whenever I watch a food competition like master chef, top chef, late night chef fight among others, I sometimes hear the judges comment “buttery-soft” pertaining to the pork chop or steak cooked by the contestant. I told myself there is no way that a grilled pork chop could be “buttery-soft”, I have been to steak houses and it took some effort for me to cut into a piece of steak or a pork chop. This until I ate at Red Rustikz, indeed, pork chops could be “buttery-soft”, I learned later on that the pork chop at Red Rustikz did not just undergo the regular cooking method, no, it took several processes even before the meat met the grill. Now if you wanna know the process, it would be better to try it first and ask their chef. Now the ribs is a different story, of course it is not buttery-soft (not the entire thing at least), because of the bones, silly! But all I can say is it is fall of the bones type of ribs which you can see in other rib joints in Baguio City. What differentiates all these rib joints though is their sauce and Red Rustikz have its own mix that is something that made my taste buds tingle. Their ribs comes with a side of rice although I wish I could have more of that ribs, a half-slab maybe?
I have to be honest, I am not a fan of drinking smoothies with my ribs or anything with a heavy meal. Don’t get me wrong the smoothies tastes good, but I just don’t think it would pair nicely with the meal. So I ordered their flavored beer, unfortunately, this is the time when I found out that I am not a fan of flavored beer especially if the flavor comes from a bottle. Well i guess it is because I have grown “at home” with craft beer. Again, the beer tastes good, I may just be looking for a particular taste that is found on craft beers.
With the numerous dishes we’ve tried, including their appetizers, like fried zucchini and potato crisps which by the way comes with an awesome dip. I believe we enjoyed the meal. I for one enjoyed the buttery-soft pork, the fall-off the bones ribs, the melt in your mouth ravioli and I would like to give the Salmon Pesto another try, this time while it is fresh off the kitchen. It have been several weeks if not more than a month since I last ate at Red Rustikz and to this day I still am craving for the pork chop, ribs and ravioli, I guess that craving is testament enough to say that I shall be back to this restaurant, eager to dine and enjoy the food prepared from their open kitchen.
Rating: 4/5 forks
More Info here: Red Rustikz Baguio City Guide