Monday, December 19, 2016

First Bite: Char Casual Dining

It has been quite a while since I last visited Uptown Mall as the Christmas rush traffic has been too much to handle. I think the last time I’ve been here was two months ago and I was surprised to see Uptown Parade turning into a foodie destination with new restaurant concepts filling the area. One restaurant that caught my eye was Char Casual Dining. I wanted to check it out that same day I saw it but R was not in the mood to walk from Uptown Mall to Uptown Parade. I then decided to just pay the new restaurant hub a visit some other time. But I didn’t foresee that I’d be visiting it a few days after.

Hello, Char Casual Dining
I got an invite from Char a day before its media event and since I was just a few blocks away that day, I decided to swing by the newly opened restaurant. (I was so glad that I didn’t drag R to Char the weekend I saw it because we would have just been greeted by a closed sign and he would have hated it.)
I got to the place a few minutes after 12 noon and I was surprised that there are barely any seats left. Apparently, some of the guests who graced the restaurant’s blessing decided to stay for lunch. Luckily, the table occupied by had a seat to spare and I had an opportunity to befriend this hip website’s editors, Kathy and Kirk. 
Since I only had one hour to spare for lunch, the friendly staff suggested that I place a separate order for myself so that I get to try its signature dishes before I leave. I decided to go with Double Roast (PHP650) and chose Crispy Roast Pork and Special Char Siew as my meats. [Note: You may choose any of the available roasted meats, except Roasted Duck, for the sampler platters Double Roast and Triple Roast (PHP850).]
My food was served within 15 minutes and the serving size was smaller than expected. But my disappointment was soon swept away when I had a bite of the two meats. 
Char's signature Special Char Siew (PHP150, 100g | PHP450, 300g) which almost made it win a Michelin star and what made Singaporean line up for this place was an instant hit. 
The beautifully roasted pork glazed with Char’s special sauce was so soft and packed with flavor. It had a lovely blend of salty and sweet flavors. 
But I loved the Crispy Roast Pork Belly (PHP150, 100g | PHP450, 300g) more as I liked my meats salty. I also liked the contrast of textures among the pork’s 5 layers. 
Anthony Ung, one of the owners of Char, mentioned that they are very selective with their meats. He also mentioned that such succulent roasted pork can only be achieved if there is an alternating layers of pork fat and meat as it avoids drying the meat. 
Sadly, I had to go before trying the other dishes served but here’s a quick rundown of the other must try (according to the foodies who stayed) dishes at Char: Minced Pork with Aubergine in Casserole (PHP280), Three Treasures (PHP290) and Chinese Sausage with Dried Shrimps Fried Rice (PHP220). 
The Minced Pork with Aubergine in Casserole makes use of local salted fish to serve as a nice appetizer for the meats. 
Three Treasures on the other hand is your usual greens perfect as side dish. 
But among the three dishes I missed, I felt bad for not being able to try the Chinese Sausage with Fried Shrimps Fried Rice as this has been praised by those who attended the event. Anthony also mentioned that this fried rice makes use of high quality rice to ensure that it won’t be the mushed up type of fried rice. I guess I have to go back to try it myself along with the Roast Duck which they had to source all the way from UK as the local ducks here do not make the cut as the locally available ones are not fat enough. 
Though I wasn’t able to try much, its Crispy Roast Pork Belly is enough to make me go back soon! Thank you, Char Casual Dining for the invite and I hope you get that well-deserved Michelin star soon!

Char Casual Dining is located at 2nd Floor, Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Char Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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