I found myself in the northern part of Manila two weeks ago, going to Pampanga. It was my Mom’s birthday and we had to get to this restaurant she heard about. It was Bale she said, Bale Pampanga. I’m from the South so it was a little unheard of for me so I searched the web and found a similar Bale restaurant. No, not that restaurant. Then I suddenly remembered the price range of the buffet restaurant my Mom mentioned. Oh, that Bale, Bale Capampangan. I found it.
I was expecting a long drive from Bulacan. But thankfully it wasn't and we were able to locate it easily, thanks to the directions of a relative. And upon entering the place, I sensed a relaxed vibe. It had none of the furor the buffets of Manila had or maybe because it was past lunch already. Or maybe the Pampangueños just love to savor their food. I noted the bright, joyful lanterns and even a grand piano.
Their wide of array of food included tortang talong, lumpiang shanghai, fried talangka, sinigang na maya maya, bistek kalabaw, fried hito and many more. But I particularly liked the buro with boiled vegetables and the pancit which was a little spicy.
The buro had a distinct taste that was quite appetizing and according to one of the staff, it was made of fermented shrimp. I liked it a lot and wished it was bottled or canned so I could have brought home some. It was also my first time to taste something like it.
I also liked their sinigang ng maya maya, it was tender, had lots of belly parts and the sourness was just right, not overwhelming. And the pancit was a little different, it had a slight kick that I liked, something to be remembered when cooking a variation of pancit in the future.
Overall, I can say that Bale Capampangan is a place to enjoy an unhurried buffet if you’re in this side of Pampanga. The price is quite reasonable and the ambiance is laid back. And you don't have to go far to buy pasalubongs because they have sansrival and packets of their super soft gummy bears you can bring back to Manila. Yes, gummy bears, I'm not sure if they prepared it themselves, but the ones I tasted here were softer than the imported ones I bought in malls. Maybe homemade gummy bears?
Their Buffet Lunch costs P295 while their Dinner Buffet is at P225, not bad I think. The restaurant is located at Km. 69 McArthur Highway Dolores, San Fernando City. This is the website I browsed in about them, http://balecapampangan.com/index.php