Soban K-Town Grill

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Took advantage of the holiday by paying a visit to Eastwood and having lunch at Soban. Soban has been around for quite a while – It’s actually from the same people behind Sariwon, if I’m not mistaken. Soban came at exactly the right time, as I was still mourning from the loss of Kogi, one of my all-time favorite Korean restaurants.

Soban is a collaboration between a guy named Mr. Sung-rah, a Korean restauranteur, and Happyfoods Group of restaurants. Soban actually translates to ‘small table’. The resto’s main goal is to create an evolution when it comes to Korean cuisine, serving both traditional Korean food items like bibimbap/bulgogi etc. and the more innovative ones served in Koreatowns all across the USA, like K-tacos.

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Interior.

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Menu: Grill-it-yourself pork sets, Grill-it-yourself combo sets, Grill-it-yourself beef sets, Grill-it-yourself chicken sets, From the kitchen sets, Ala carte noodles, Ala carte rice, Ala carte lunch menu, Sung’s picks, Desserts, Drinks.

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Banchan!

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Dak Bulgogi Set – Caramelized boneless fried chicken. Delicious, delicious, delicious.

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Jeyuk Deopbap Set – Stir-fried spicy pork belly rice bowl topped with fried egg. My dad ordered this one, and it was surprisingly very delicious. I should probably try it the next time we come back here (assuming we don’t end up ordering one of their Korean barbecue sets).

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Pork Korrito – A burrito made with fresh lettuce, kimchi, sour cream, cheese, kimchi fried rice, and your choice of K-BBQ meat. Served on a flour tortilla. I noticed that Korean-Mexican cuisine is slowly gaining popularity lately, which is awesome since I’m a huge fan of both cuisines (and I feel like Mexican is one of the more underrated cuisines here in the PH, in my opinion).

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Kimchi Fries – French fries smothered with cheese, roasted pork bits, and kimchi. The menu says that this dish was a “crowd favorite”, but I didn’t really like it as much :\ The kimchi was a tad bit sour (probably the same type of kimchi used in kimchi jjigae), and I don’t like the fact that they used ordinary grated processed cheese to top the fries.

Kogi might be gone, but Soban is a worthy replacement. What’s great about Soban is that combines together both variants of Korean cuisine (classic and modern) – You’re sure to find a dish here that you’ll love.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)

Soban K-Town Grill is located at Second Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 2469069. Links: Facebook || Twitter || IG: @soban.ktown

Amor Bakery

(NOTE: Will be going on a very brief hiatus after this entry – Gonna be focusing a bit on work-related things and some personal stuff too. See you guys in a few!)

Sbread your love.

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As soon as I spotted Amor Bakery’s slogan while passing by them one evening, my first immediate thought was “OMG this is my place. I HAVE to come here someday.”

For those who don’t know – I love bread. I love it more than rice, in fact. I love going to cafés and bakeries, trying out all sorts of sweet and savory pastries. I would trade rice for bread if possible. I guess you guys can say that I ‘roll’ with bread (*rimshot*) – So seeing a bakery/cafe as big as Amor was a delight.

Amor is located along Katipunan, near ADMU – Probably one of the best places to go to if you’re a student who wants to escape the hectic university life for a short while and just spend some quality time to yourself.

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Interior is very cozy, and reminds me of those quirky Korean cafes.

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Look at all the breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeead. *insert heart-eyes emoji here*

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…. And the caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakes.

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Menu. Not only does Amor specialize in bread, they also have pasta dishes, chicken, salads, soups, etc.

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Since I was still a tad bit full from my Kenny Rogers lunch hours ago, I only ended up purchasing a bunch of bread. The fluffiness and flavor of the bread reminded me so much of BreadTalk (and it didn’t help that most of the breads sold at Amor were topped with pork floss too). I probably should’ve remembered the names of these breads…. >_<

(EDIT: Okay so I did a bit of research and it turns out I got the following – The Deep Fried Stuffed Sausage Bun, Original Pork Floss Bun, and the Spicy Pork Floss Bun)

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Accompanying my Sausage Danish is a small piece of German Egg Tart. These were just alright.

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Really loved their Chocolate Milk Tea.

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Encased in this takeout box is their signature Boston Cream Pie Original cake, which we ordered for mom’s upcoming birthday. It was a light and fluffy piece of cake – Not too sweet and not too bland either. Topped with a crapton of icing.

I just realized that I’m not really in the position to fully judge Amor’s food, especially since I only tried out their bread, and not their other meals – But from what I’ve tried so far, the bread that they have was just… Alright, I guess. I think I prefer their cakes more, if I’m being honest. Maybe if I get the chance to return here, I’ll try their pasta/rice meals/soups next time. The café’s interior makes up for it, though.

Ambiance/Interior: 4/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 3/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Amor Bakery is located at 297 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel no: 00 2824367. Links: Facebook || Twitter || IG: @amor.bakery.

Tim Hortons

With the amount of international coffee shops sprouting around the metro lately, I personally thought that Tim Hortons’ very first Philippine franchise came at just the right time. Despite not having been to Canada, this coffee shop occupies a space in my heart, since I have a relative who works there – My auntie, who has been living in Toronto since the early 90s. Naturally we had to ask her for suggestions on what food we should try out.

For those who are out of the loop, Tim Hortons is Canada’s biggest coffee shop – Serving customers since the 60s. It was founded by Tim Horton, a popular hockey player from Canada. Tim Hortons is known for their coffee and donuts.

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We went to their flagship branch in Uptown Mall, although we didn’t stay too long at the mall itself. It was an unexpected trip – My dad wanted his daily coffee fix and we just so happened to be in BGC at that very moment.

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Came here during merienda time, so the place was crowded.

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Menu. Also… Pastries!

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Here’s our plate! Half of the food is covered up (we’ll take a closer look at each item in a moment), but you can see the drinks that we ordered. Dad ordered the famous Double Double coffee (recommended by auntie), while mom and I ordered the super-refreshing Pomegranate Passionfruit Cooler drink. Was initially supposed to order their hot chocolate, but I changed my mind at the last minute. We kept taking pictures of our food to send over to auntie. And I’m pretty sure the group of cool kids seated beside us thought we were major posers or something /facepalms

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I can never pass up a good Chocolate Chunk cookie. Never. Just looking at it makes me wish that I had tried out their hot chocolate instead. Oh well, there’s always a next time.

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Two Plain Cream Cheese Croissants – These were very soft, and had a generous amount of cream cheese sandwiched in the middle. They could’ve added a slice of smoked salmon in there, or something – This was a bit too bland for me.

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And a box of tasty Timbits – Their answer to Dunkin Donuts’ own munchkins. They’re a lot less fluffy than munchkins though, and that’s a good thing for me. My personal favorites were the ones dusted with powdered sugar and had chocolate filling inside.

Although Timmies’ (as my auntie likes to call it) food was wonderful, it really sucks that we didn’t get to try out some of the heavier stuff like their steak and cheese sandwich – It was an hour past lunchtime when we arrived there and we were still reeling from the barbecue that we had earlier. I’m already looking forward to my second visit here – Hopefully their branch in Eastwood opens up soon enough.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Tim Hortons is located at Ground Floor, Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Links: PH Facebook || Official Facebook || PH Twitter || Official Twitter || IG: @timhortons (Official), @timhortonsphl (PH).

Sodam

What’s better than gorging on unlimited amounts of Korean food?

Gorging on unlimited amounts of Korean food for less than a thousand bucks.

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I have read nothing but praises for Sodam, that tiny Korean buffet restaurant located in in the heart of Wilson, San Juan. This restaurant has gained quite a following thanks to their all-you-can-eat samgyupsal promo, which only costs an amazing PHP300 per head.

We decided to celebrate Mother’s Day in advance by dining here a day before the actual event, since 1.) We had stuff to do the following morning 2.) We’re pretty certain that this place was going to be packed on Mother’s Day itself.

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Interior. It does get pretty crowded in here, especially during the weekends – So much so that you have to call them two weeks in advance to make a reservation and get the best seats, unless you’re patient enough to wait for an hour or two outside the resto (or along the steps leading to the second floor).

Didn’t get to take pictures of the buffet itself, sadly – Not a lot of options available here, but like I said… Everyone came here for the grilling action. I didn’t care, though – I was just happy that I get to eat Korean food again after a while.

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Here’s my plate: A piece of what I assume is Korean Fried Chicken (right in the middle), some slices of Kimchi Pancake, a small piece of Spicy Tofu, a spoonful of Bulgogi, and two types of rice cake dishes: my ever-favorite Tteokbokki and grilled rice cakes on a stick, perhaps my favorite out of the entire lot – Soft and chewy on the inside like your typical Korean rice cake, and crispy on the outside. The kimchi pancake and bulgogi were alright. I wouldn’t recommend getting the fried chicken (too bony) and spicy tofu (too bland).

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Mom also tried out the fried chicken, kimchi pancakes, and several pieces of deep-fried fish smothered in sweet chili sauce.

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That aside, we now move on to the main highlight of our meal – The grilling! As soon as we found our seats, our waiter gave us these small trays of samgyupsal stacked on top of each other. There were four types of samgyupsal served, but unfortunately I only managed to take a picture of two >_<

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Onto the grill they go…

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… Isn’t that lovely?

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Cooked samgyupsal with a piece of deep-fried fish fillet, covered in mayonnaise.

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Whenever I go to Korean restaurants, I always make sure to try out one of their available ice creams for dessert. This was my choice for the night – A refreshing popsicle that tasted like candy.

I’m probably gonna sound so biased here, but both the buffet and unlimited amounts of samgyupsal are amazing. And like I said earlier – All this for at least PHP300! No wonder Sodam is considered to be one of the most beloved Korean restaurants in the Metro… Everything is just Sodam good (yes, I went there.)!

Ambiance/Interior: 3.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Sodam is located at 331 P Guevarra St Little Baguio, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 654-6428. Links: Facebook.

Mighty Quinn’s

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Last December 2016, Mighty Quinn’s, one of New York’s most popular barbecue joints, finally landed here in Manila. This isn’t just your typical barbecue restaurant that serves grilled chicken, baby back ribs, etc. Mighty Quinn’s serves three types of meat: Pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, and sausages. They have won several awards thanks to their slow-smoked meat. If you know me, then you know that I love my barbecue – So naturally, I had to go check this place out for myself.

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Interior.

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Menu.

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Sides, sides, sides, and more sides.

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Can’t forget that barbecue sauce!

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Mom and I ended up sharing this beautiful plate of Beef Brisket – Our sides included a small plate of Dirty Rice and Corn Fritters (more on this later). The beef had a very robust, smoky flavor – Exactly what barbecued beef should taste like. No layers of fat either, but that’s all good. It goes really well with the rice, as well as the pickled add-ons (I guess these are supposed to take away the queasiness in case the strong beefy flavor overwhelms your palate): Red Onions, Celery, Cucumber and Chiles.

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Corn Fritters. These were amazing – Although I’m probably being biased here since I do like deep-fried stuff (yikes). And it came with this tasty honey dip! AAAHHHH!

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More fun stuff – Here is their Bread Pudding, moist banana-flavored pudding topped with vanilla ice cream.

Good ambiance, tasty well-cooked food, and excellent service – If you want to find a spot here in Manila that serves nothing but authentic barbecue, Mighty Quinn’s is it. Hopefully we’ll get more barbecue places in the future too!

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)

Mighty Quinn’s is located at 3/F SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Doña Julia Vargas Ave cor Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Links: Official US Website || Official Facebook || PH Facebook || Official US Twitter ||  IG: @mightyquinnsbbq.

The Beef Barn

Despite the fact that I haven’t watched a complete season of the show, I have always loved Masterchef. For me, Masterchef isn’t just your run-of-the-mill cooking competition – Not only do these lucky contestants get to work alongside the best chefs in their respective countries, they also get to learn so many things about food and cook the most amazing meals.

If you ask me what my opinion was regarding our own local version of Masterchef, I would say that Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition (aired 2011) was way better than Masterchef Pinoy Edition (aired 2012). I mean, no offense, but I was slightly annoyed at the fact that they focused more on the drama/personal lives of the contestants themselves instead of the actual cooking in the regular edition – It was almost like watching a PBB-type show with a little bit of cooking thrown in. I know ABSCBN was supposed to churn out a second season for this show, but at the same time, I was not really surprised why it didn’t push through.

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Anyway, the reason why I’m talking about this show is because of the fact that we ate at this restaurant in Eastwood called The Beef Barn – Owned by former Masterchef Pinoy Edition contestant, Ivory Yat! This is Ms. Ivory’s second restaurant, the first one being Splice Resto Bar located in Greenfield District. She just so happens to be one of my favorite contestants on the show, so I’m quite happy at the fact that I’ll get to eat in one of her establishments.

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Interior.

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Menu. No sandwiches here, surprisingly. They should’ve included the pineapple fried rice dish that Ms. Ivory made on the show, but that’s just me.

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…. Aaaaand here is my Meat with a cup of rice and iced tea. It looks slightly smaller than the one found in the menu picture, which was disappointing. The beef had a rather strong, robust flavor which was complimented by the resto’s own mushroom gravy sauce.

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Mom had the moist Savory Chicken, with the same sauce, rice, and corn/carrot sides.

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Dad had the Chicken Steak, served with mushroom gravy, veggies, and garlic rice. He thought the chicken was too dry.

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Angry Butter Wings. Greasy, deep-fried goodness with just the right mixture of sweetness and spiciness.

Still sort of appreciated my meal here, even if their beef was mediocre at best, while the wings, although tasty, were slightly overwhelming with the greasiness. I would still recommend this place though, especially if you’re the type of person who cares about the taste of the food instead of how it looks.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

The Beef Barn is located at Second Floor, Eastwood Citywalk 2, Libis, Quezon City. Tel no: 0977 850 8888. Links: Facebook.

Oyasumi Ramen

(Okay, before we start – I know you guys have probably noticed that there’s been a delay when it comes to posting entries. I apologize for that – Work has been really, really taxing lately and by the time I finish by midnight, I’m absolutely exhausted and the only thing I want to do is to lie down and get some rest. Sorry! I’ll continue to update this blog as often as possible, though…)

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We went to P. Guevarra today and had lunch at this ramen joint called Oyasumi Ramen. There are plenty of ramen joints scattered all over the city, each having their own story to tell of how their signature noodle soup came about, or the restaurant’s history. In Oyasumi Ramen’s case, their main specialty is a dish called Iekei Ramen, a lovely Yokohama-based noodle soup made with a combination of tonkotsu-shoyu broth, topped with seaweed and nori strips. The folks behind Oyasumi Ramen decided to bring the Iekei Ramen to see if it can please the Pinoy palate.

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Interior.

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Menu: Ramen, New, Dipping, Cold, Rice, Add-ons, Upgrades, Additional, Afters.

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And now for something unique – Truffle Ramen! This type of ramen combines together Japan and Italy’s best flavors. It’s got truffle essence, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, all blended together with slow-boiled tonkotsu broth and flavored with nori. This sounded really appealing to me so I ended up ordering this… Admittedly, it tasted really good at first, but it got overwhelmingly salty as I reached the bottom of the bowl. And the little clumps of parmesan cheese stuck to the bottom of the bowl looked particularly nasty as well. Yeesh.

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Oyasumi Ramen’s signature dish – The Iekei Ramen. This Yokohama-style ramen consists of perfectly-cooked noodles and chashu slices in signature tonkotsu-shoyu tare broth, with spinach, leeks, and three sheets of nori.

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Mom had the La Paz Ramen – Yes, you read that right, it’s actually la paz batchoy in ramen form! It tasted quite similar to real la paz batchoy too. It’s got a mix of your traditional ramen, with flavors from smooth pork blood, crunchy chicharon bits and garlic.

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Their Gyoza’s got an interesting shape. This was amazing – Crispy on the outside, and meaty on the inside.

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I had a rather different opinion when it came to their Thick Chashu, though – The idea of a thick slab of chashu pork seemed more than wonderful to me, but this was a disappointment. The meat was too tough, and not to mention it was just as salty as my Truffle Ramen.

Ugh… This would’ve been a great ramen place if their broth/pork didn’t pack too much sodium. -_- Maybe I just picked the wrong type of ramen dish, though. I guess you can try out this restaurant too especially if you’re a ramen fanatic, but with the exception of their gyoza, don’t make a mistake and order the same stuff as I did.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Oyasumi Ramen is located at Unit 3, 308 P. Guevarra St. corner Seaview St., Little Baguio, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 2750309. Links: Facebook || IG: @oyasumiramen