What immediately strikes a person when he enters at Trellis at their QC branch is the laid-back atmosphere of the restaurant. It has a very casual, almost a home-like feel to it. Very familiar, too, are the faces of the waiters. Some of them have been with the establishment for a good decade or more; seeing them again brings a sense of nostalgia that is etched in memories.
But one doesn't go to Trellis for the atmosphere, or to reminisce the good-old times. One goes to Trellis primarily for their signature dish: sisig.
For those who are uninitiated to this pork dish, sisig is basically the head of the pig that has been boiled then lightly roasted, after which the meat is sauteed with chopped liver, onions, garlic, and spices. As it has been served in Trellis for the past decades, it arrives on the sizzling plate, all-smoky with the aroma of the dish. One can opt to squeeze calamansi on it and add a dash or two of hot sauce, too.
The simple preparation and presentation belies the intricate taste and texture of the dish. The initial heat from the sizzling plate suddenly gives way to a combination of sourness and saltiness. As one continues to chew on it, he would find an unusual mixture of cartilage and gelatinous bits intermingling on the tongue. The hint of liver provides an extra layer of creaminess without contributing its inherent bitterness to the dish. Washed down with a cold bottle of beer, its complexity is tempered to a mere spicy aftertaste. Eaten with a load of rice, it becomes simplicity at its finest.
There are other dishes not to be missed, such as the seasonal bangus sardines, and the staple pakbet. Delicious too, is their refillable home-brewed iced tea. However, it is still the sisig that remains their raison d'être. In the every-shifting kaleidoscope of the eating screen, the proof its success doesn't lie in its longevity. Rather, it lies in the loyalty of its patrons who still pilgrimage, year after year, to Trellis, the restaurant that was built on the reputation of the humble dish that is sisig.