Friday, January 30, 2015

First Bite: Hiyas Modern Filipino Comfort Food

It has been a foodie dream of mine to try all the restaurants in Kapitolyo. But it was difficult as there seem to be a new restaurant that pops out of nowhere every month. A few months back, I was down to my last 5 but now, I think I’m back to 10 or even more! And it gets even more challenging when you’re with people who are not so adventurous with food. But a few weeks back, I was able to convince my family to have a late dinner at Hiyas Modern Filipino Comfort Food.
Hello, Hiyas!
The place screams Filipino with its décor and wall mural. I love it that they have books and board games to keep the diners entertained. I also enjoyed the wait dish—fish balls.
We decided to order the following: Creamy Kalabasa Soup (PHP195), Salmon Sisig (PHP255), Hinuburan na Lumpia (PHP220), Laing (PHP295), Inasal na Manok (PHP195) and Pritong Sorbetes (PHP170).
Service was pretty quick as we were the only diners that time.
My squash soup was creamy and the serving was good for sharing. It was slightly heavy though for an appetizer.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Love at First Sip: Refinery

I just love it when I get to try more than one restaurant in one day. It gives me a lot of happy vibes. So, when my favorite Dragon Lady agreed to try Refinery after Rambla, my grin reached both ears.

Hello, Refinery.
For some reason, I thought that this place is a bar or something. I never thought that this place serves good coffee and dessert.

Since we were quite full, we were more focused on just ordering dessert and coffee. We went with Black Onyx (PHP195, syphon extraction) and a pan of Baked S’mores (seasonal and for limited time only). 
What I loved about Refinery is that we still get the remaining coffee from the syphon. Some coffee shops (e.g. Dolce Latte) only fill the cup and return the remaining coffee back to the kitchen.

Soon, our coffee and s’mores were served.
T likes her coffee black and an auntie once told me that it’s best to enjoy coffee as is—with no sugar or cream. That way, you get to taste and appreciate the beans.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Love at First Bite: Rambla

Instagram sure makes me fat. Yes, it does. Every time a foodie friend or a food app account posts a dish, I end up drooling and craving. And there was a time when someone posted a photo of the liquid omelette of Rambla. Yes, LIQUID OMELETTE. Awesome right? I instantly messaged J (one of the T3 members I bug… most of the time) and he agreed. But for some reason, we never visited the place! *cries* But I am blessed as my favorite Dragon Lady was game. And so after antigravity yoga, we dropped by Rambla for lunch.

Hello, Rambla!
The place is pretty dark considering it was just 1 p.m. when we visited. I guess that gives it the cozy date ambiance. (But the place is great for some afternoon chat or mini gatherings as well.)
It took us a bit of time to decide on what to order but finally settled with the following: The “Liquid” Spanish Omelette (PHP125), Black Paella with Salmon Loin Tataki and Baby Carrots (PHP595) and Salmon and Arugula Mini Pizza (PHP245).
The liquid Spanish omelette arrived first and it was heavenly. The slowly and lowly cooked till creamy egg yolks topped with caramelized onions was a foodie treat. 
I also loved the delightful potato foam that somehow reminded me of cheese for some reason (must be the color). I’ll definitely order three glasses of this next time!
The mini pizza was served next and it was also a lovely dish. The thick salmon cut topped with arugula on a thin crust served as a great appetizer (or snack). One order is slightly too small for sharing though.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Restaurant Love: Locavore

Locavore is love. I always recommend it to everyone I know when they ask me where to eat in Kapitolyo. One night, R messaged asking where to bring his friends and I recommended Detalle and Locavore. (I love it when people ask me where to eat. It feeds my foodie persona’s ego. So feed it, people!!! Kidding!) Unfortunately, Detalle was closed that night. Fortunately, Locavore was busy as always that evening.

Hello, Locavore!
The place was packed (again)! We had to wait for over 20 minutes just to get seats. So while waiting, we decided to order. R ordered for his friends and they got Sizzling Sinigang (PHP530), Ginataang Kaldereta (PHP570), Street Food Platter (PHP200), Leche Flan (PHP200) and Turon con Leche (PHP220). I also got a cocktail drink with pomelo but I forgot the name and price.
First served was the street food platter (no photo because I didn’t get some). I think that this dish was made for those who do not really eat street food on the street. I do so I couldn’t avoid computing how much it really costs if I buy from Mang Larry in UP.
The main dishes were served next. C and E enjoyed the Sizzling Sinigang (click here for my review on the dish) and the GInataang Kaldereta.
It was my first time to try the Ginataang Kaldereta and for the serving and taste, PHP570 wasn’t a bad price to pay. The tender short ribs with stewed tomatoes, marbled potatoes, crunchy French beans, garlic and shallot confit swimming in coconut milk was L-O-V-E. Okay, I’m a bit biased given I love dishes with coconut milk.
Now for the desserts…

Monday, January 26, 2015

Restaurant Love: Duck & Buvette

Shangri-La Plaza Mall is one of my favorite malls but lately, I don’t feel like visiting the place. Yes, I don’t. It’s because there are no new restaurants. *insert sad music here for the foodie* We always end up visiting the restaurants we’ve been to and order something else. But when I’m with my family, they always order the same thing. *insert another sad music here*

Hello again, Duck & Buvette!
I have nothing against D&B so it was okay for me to eat there. And luckily, they have new dishes!

Duck & Buvette now serves dishes like Mustard Rabbit (PHP440) and Braised Frog Legs with Herby Breadcrumbs (PHP280) which made the exotic foodie in me excited. But… those were not available when we visited.  So, we ordered the following instead: Grana Padano Cheese with Quezon Wild Honey (PHP190), D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit (PHP980) and the family favorite, and the 8 Hour Angus Briskets (PHP370).
First served were the slices of cheese with honey. Okay, confession time. Cheese with honey was something new to me. And oh boy! I felt bad that I discovered it after two decades! I love the contrast of the tanginess of the cheese and the sweetness of the honey. (P.S. I just discovered yogurt and honey combination recently. I used to put maple syrup but since we were out, I tried honey and it was better!)
The angus briskets were served next and it was still as yummy as before. (Click here to read my review about this dish.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Restaurant Discovery: Eggs for Breakfast Café

I love exploring and visiting new (or at least new to me) places. Just last month, my friends and I planned to visit Pinto Art Museum. Since we were already in Antipolo, a place we do not frequent, we decided to have brunch at a place called Eggs for Breakfast Café.

Hello, Eggs for Breakfast Café.
Thanks to Waze, we were able to find the place with ease. It wasn’t exactly located in a commercialized area so if you’re not using any app, it might be a bit difficult to find.
We were greeted by a nice garden (which I forgot to take a photo of) that led us to the restaurant. (I think that the whole place used to be residential and the owner decided to divide the place into an abode and a restaurant.)
Since we were already hungry, we quickly ordered the following: Eggs Benjamin (PHP335), One Pan Breakfast (PHP470), Bloody Mary Linguine (PHP145) and Green Goodness (PHP150).
Service was slow. Super slow. And there were only very few diners then and the dishes were not even that complicated to make. We didn’t really understand why it took them over 45 minutes to prepare our dishes. At least the garden distracted us.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Restaurant Love: Brown’s Gourmet Chicken

When service has been impressive, I usually come back. And I did with Brown’s. This time, I went with my mom and sister.

It was a late lunch for us so we hurriedly ordered the following: Roasted Carrots and Garlic Soup (PHP90), Shrimp + Pork Egg Roll + Nuoc Cham (PHP110), Roasted Tomato pasta (PHP185), Brown’s Quarter Pounder Burger (PHP260), Fish and Chips (PHP245) and Fried Cookie Dough (PHP120).

First served was my drink, Mixed Berries. (I forgot to take note of the price but I’m sure it’s less than PHP150.)
The drink was a tad too sweet. It was like drinking Nerds but it sure was tasty. Not a thirst quencher but a delightful drink that went well with the savory dishes.
The roasted carrot and garlic soup was great! It was creamy and a great appetizer. Well, slightly biased here because I love garlic.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Love at First Bite: Magnum Manila

I am not a fan of Magnum. There. I said it. I never went wild and consumed Magnum every day when it was launched. It tasted like your usual ice cream to me. But the thing is… I drooled when I found out that there will be a Magnum Manila Café. Yeah, yeah, why am I saying this just now? It has been up and running since early last year. Well, I was a late bloomer with Magnum Manila Café. Just like Ippudo, whenever I plan to visit, it gets cancelled. Luckily, my favorite Dragon lady was game to try it with me before 2014 ended.

Finally! Hello, Magnum Manila! Whaaaazaaaap? (Okay, too much enthusiasm there.)
T and I did our best not to order the popular chocolate dish from Todd English just so we could stop by Magnum Manila. And it was lovely to see the place without a crazy line in front. We easily got a table and we ordered Pink Friday (PHP290) and Trio of Hot Chocolate (PHP180). I also got a cup of Hot Cappuccino (PHP110) while T went for her usual black coffee.
While waiting, we got mesmerized by the wall filled with Magnum stamped Popsicle sticks. Pretty!

Soon, the Pink Friday dessert was served. And it sure was very pink.
The dish is made of strawberry marbled cheesecake on a bed of Speculoos tea cookies. It also has strawberry nerds and a pink chocolate dusted vanilla Magnum on top and strawberry coulis on the side.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Love at Second Bite: Maple

There are just some things worth giving a second chance. And no, I’m not being mushy here. I’m talking about giving some restaurants a second chance. There are times when I get bad first dining experiences because of either bad food choices or terrible service. But when I see good reviews about those establishments I visited (and swore will never visit ever again), I get curious and try to dine again. And I’m glad I did with Maple.

Hello, Maple.
To be honest, I wasn’t that thrilled to eat there again since my first visit wasn’t that pleasant. (We ordered all the wrong dishes hence Maple never appeared before.) But my mom wanted to visit something new to her so I gave in.

She ordered The Maple Burger (PHP475) and a glass Country Iced Tea (PHP105) while I got the Salmon Catch (PHP550).
The iced tea was quite concentrated so my mom had to wait for the ice to melt. Then again, that’s value for money (in a way).
The Maple Burger was pretty huge. Thick and juicy beef patty served with cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and bacon with onion rings on the side, this dish guarantees a full tummy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Love at First Bite: Chelsea Kitchen

I think Ippudo and I are not meant to be. I have tried to have lunch or dinner there for a whole month now (or even more) and for some reason, it gets cancelled… all the time. But I am not giving up on you, Ippudo! I AM NOT GIVING UP. Anyway, I was supposed to have lunch there with friends after Christmas but the line was still crazy which scared my friends. So we opted to eat elsewhere.

Hello, Chelsea Kitchen!
A good friend of mine told me that this place serves good food. And I believe her since Chelsea never fails me.
When I arrived, M and K already ordered the following: Smoked Tinapa Aglio Olio (PHP320), Three Cheese Pizza (PHP320), The CK Chicken Salad (PHP250) and Jones’ Tapa & Fried Egg (PHP320). I just added Crispy Pork Belly “Bagnet” (PHP395), Truffle Mac N’ Cheese (PHP295) and Sundrenched Freshly Brewed Iced Tea—Strawberry and Lemon (PHP195).

First served was our salad.
The server mentioned that it is best eaten with a bit of the dressings. True enough, I like the different flavors—saltiness of the grilled chicken, sweetness of the plum dressing and coolness of the herbs. It was a delightful dish to start the meal.
Next served was the tapa which was topped with a lot of fried garlic. It was loooove! It was tender and flavorful.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Restaurant Love: Todd English Food Hall

I have been planning to visit Todd English Food Hall for the longest time but for some reason, the people I’m with are not game or something happens hence having to change plans. But my favorite Dragon Lady wanted to visit it too before 2014 ended so, it finally happened!

Hello, Todd English Food Hall.
It’s pretty dark inside giving it a bit of classy and intimate vibe despite the food hall set up. But we didn’t really care as we were famished. After 5 minutes or so, we decided to get T.E. Pork Chop (PHP440), Charred Octopus (PHP380), and Home-Cured Bacon (PHP450). We also ordered rice to share since we were advised that the bacon’s taste might be a bit too overwhelming.
The 48-hour brined pork chop arrived first and the size was pretty generous. We were surprised with how soft the pork chop was and it was really flavorful. It went really well with the marbled potatoes and the French beans and demi-glace sauce.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Restaurant Love: Sentro 1771

I usually skip Filipino restaurants when I eat out as it’s the only cuisine I could prepare at home. If I were to choose, I would always pick Japanese as salmon sashimi is L-O-V-E. However, when I’m out with family, I have to take into consideration their preferences. They love Filipino and American food the most. So, a few Sundays ago, after having a lechon feast, we decided to visit Sentro 1771.

Hello, Sentro 1771.
A good friend of mine told me that Sentro 1771 serves really good food and that made me curious about the restaurant. I was supposed to visit the place last Halloween with my UA&P food buddies but since we were still full from our Spätzle dinner, we decided to go to Starbucks instead. (Silent boo.)
The place looked full when we visited but we were lucky as we got a table on the second floor.

Since we were famished, we ordered the following: Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls (PHP280), Rated GG (PHP295), Camote Cups (PHP240), and Sinigang na Corned Beef (PHP595).
First served were the Fresh Smoked Fish Spring Rolls.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Restaurant Discovery: Linguini Fini

I love birthdays. I get giddy waiting for 12 midnight just to greet my favorite people. And I want to be the first one to greet them. Yes, I could be competitive with those things too. (I also want to be the last one to greet them [again] just because I like to pester the people I love.) And birthdays are always best celebrated with people dear to you. Okay, I kind of forced myself to be dear to Lil R.

It was one (failed) tea afternoon when my favorite Dragon lady (T), Lil R, Big R and I decided to explore the new restaurants of SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall. We originally planned to visit Ippudo but I think Ippudo hates me. Every time I plan to visit, the line looks like Nokia’s Snake that has been played for 10 hours.
We roamed around for a bit and saw Linguini Fini, a new Italian restaurant near Boqueria (which is now Alqueria). The place looks cozy. So, why not?

It took us quite a bit to decide on what to order but finally decided to get Porchetta (PHP595, served sliced and with chili mostarda), Bianco (PHP745), On Top of Spaghetti (PHP425), and Pappardelle “Nose to Tail Bolo” (PHP430).
First served was the Pappardelle “Nose to Tail Bolo” and it doesn’t look pretty. But the taste says otherwise. The bouncy pasta with the pork testa, veal and oxtail ragu were savory and delightful. T though found a bone on her portion.
The Bianco is your usual cheese pizza. I only had one slice as it was oily. (Sadly, my tummy reacts funny to oily food after two weeks of Alkaline diet.) Cheese lovers would love this though as the pizza had a generous serving of mozzarella, gorgonzola, ricotta, Parmigiano, and Grana Padano.
The On Top of Spaghetti was the idea of the two Rs. They claim that the meatball talked to them. Anyway, it was indeed pretty good. The meatball was savory and juicy. However, I still think that it is just a typical spaghetti dish with a huge meatball on top.