Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chelsea Kitchen

Chelsea Kitchen is a sister restaurant of Chelsea Market Café found in Serendra. Chelsea Kitchen gives off a nice and homey vibe, as compared to Chelsea Market Café’s elegant and classy ambiance. Both restaurants are a member of the Raintree Restaurants group – And some of the dishes found in Chelsea Kitchen’s menu actually came from other Raintree restaurants, like Greenbelt’s Mr. Jones, and Ayala Triangle’s Simple Lang (both of which I have yet to visit).

This is basically the picture of both the exterior and the interior, since the resto is located in an open area. I also love the fact that it’s located right beside the mall’s entrance, the large glass windows makes the restaurant seem a little more brighter and welcoming.

Menu: Kitchen bites, Sandwiches and fries, Soup in a mug, Mix your own salad, Pasta to share, The family table, 12” stone-fired pizza, The dessert counter, Artisanal cakes, and Drinks.

Melted French Onion soup, which automatically gets praise from me… Simply because it’s French onion soup. *biased*

Here’s our appetizer – Mushroom “Chicharon”. Oh, man. I can’t even explain how much I loved this dish. I am a total sucker for snacks that are SO addicting and good for you at the same time – And this dish happens to be one of them. It has the right combination of crunchiness and chewiness. I can pretty much eat a giant bag of these babies. The basil pesto aioli and spiced vinegar dips aren’t bad either!

Truffled Mac ‘N Cheese – Served in a casserole with pizza crisps. Delicious, with a buttery and clean taste. No gross queasy aftertaste either, which I usually get after eating too much mac and cheese. I also love the thick chunks of bacon too.

Fried Chicken Parmigiana, with herb crumbs, white sauce, and melted mozzarella. The chicken was kinda dry, and the taste of the red sauce was overwhelming (Although I’m probably just saying that because I’m not really the biggest fan of red sauce).

For my drink, I had the Cherry Berry Coke, with cherry syrup, coke, and fresh berries. This was alright. I’ll try their milkshakes next time.

Chelsea Kitchen’s food is both hearty and delicious. The taste and concept of their dishes makes them stand out against other restaurants that have the same concept. You may want to bring some extra money if you’re going to dine here, but it’s all worth it, in my opinion. ^^

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

Chelsea Kitchen is located at G/F SM Megamall< Mega Fashion Hall, Julia Vargas Ave Wack Wack, Mandaluyong.

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Cafe Shibuya

We finally pushed through with our trip to Café Shibuya during the holidays! Café Shibuya is owned by two sisters whose dream is to open up their own café that serves good food. During one of their trips abroad, they discovered this snack called the shibuya toast – A giant piece of bread decorated with different toppings, like ice cream, chocolate, or even savory meats. They decided to introduce the shibuya toast here to Manila, so people here can enjoy them.

Café Shibuya currently has two branches – The one here in UP Town Center, and one in Glorietta 2.

Interior.

Menu: First things first, Salads, Soups, Specialty toasts, Pizza toast, Pasta, Entrees, Dessert toasts, Molten cakes, Gourmet hot drinks, and Specialty cold drinks.

I had the Mentaiko pasta with cod roe, olive oil, leeks, seaweed strips, and thick chunks of bacon. Reeeeallly delicious. I love that there is an equal distribution of flavor, that the pasta wasn’t too oily, and that the whole dish wasn’t bland at all.

Dad tried their Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Served with a small bowl of gravy, white rice, and a fluffy cheddar biscuit. This dish is only available in the UP Town Center branch.

Sausage and Bacon Pizza Toast – With slices of Hungarian sausage, huge strips of bacon, bell peppers, onions and gooey mozzarella cheese. Look at the size of that bread!

For dessert, we had their Original Shibuya Honey Toast – Another giant piece of toast topped with vanilla ice cream, and some whipped cream on the side. Served with a small jar of honey.

You can easily tell that the toasts are Café Shibuya’s signature dish since the bread is baked fresh daily, with no added preservatives and flavors.

My drink was this delicious warm piece of heaven called the Salted Caramel Mocha – Made from coffee, steamed milk, and homemade salted caramel sauce. There’s also some imported Ghirardelli dark chocolate added, to give it some flair.

I think we ordered too many things so we were feeling very full afterwards. But it was all worth it, in my opinion. This café is recommended if you’re looking for a place to chill with your friends, and just talk for hours and hours on end.

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

Cafe Shibuya is located at G/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel no: (0947) 221-3836. You can also find them in Glorietta 2. Links: Facebook.

Yoree

My parents and I had an impromptu trip to Makati and since we couldn’t find a good restaurant to eat (it was around two in the afternoon, so most of them were closed), we headed over to Taguig instead and had lunch at a Korean restaurant called Yoree. Yoree, which translates to “to cook” in Korean, is located right beside Sarsa. The dishes served in this restaurant are not the ones that you would find in a typical Korean resto here in the Philippines.

Interior.

Menu: A la carte, Charcoal barbecue on the table, Jeyuk bokkeom set, Sut bulgogi set, Sujeo (course lunch A/B, dinner a/b, premium, dessert, and drinks), Wine.

Of course, since this is a Korean restaurant, we were given some banchan (appetizers). My personal favorite was the bowl filled with little pieces of fried gim (seaweed).

I also liked this small bowl of rice porridge.

Ttukbaegi Bulgogi – Bulgogi, mushrooms, glass noodles, and veggies in a hot pot. The bowl was surprisingly small. The soup was very good though, and the bulgogi meat was nice and thin. Like all soups, it goes really well with a bowl of sticky white rice.

Gyeran Mari – Rolled omelet with cheese and a dash of bonito flakes. I love the equal distribution of the cheese sauce and the bonito flakes – Both of them didn’t overpower the taste of the fluffy eggs.

Hae mool pa jeon – Pancake with clam meat, octopus, shrimp, and green onion. This dish was alright, but the spicy dipping sauce gives it some much-needed life.

Well Yoree’s food was pretty good. I think the fact that this restaurant is owned by a Korean (Jin-kwong Oh, former CEO of the Nolboo restaurant franchise in Korea) gives it a bit of authenticity. I would recommend Yoree if you don’t want to try the usual Korean fare such as Korean fried chicken, black bean noodles or kimchi pancakes.

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

Yoree is located at Forum South Global, 7th Ave cor Federation Dr Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Tel no: (02) 357-0796. Links: Facebook.

Ginza Bairin

(Hey guys! Sorry if I’ve been really slow when it comes to updating this blog lately >_< Was really busy this week thanks to work T_T)

We finally tried out Ginza Bairin in UP Town Center, yet another contender in the local katsu race. Our original plan was to go to Café Shibuya, but I had to change my mind because a very famous TV personality was filming her show in one of the neighboring restaurants. I was feeling nervous because she might end up paying a visit to Café Shibuya and conduct an impromptu interview with me and my family or something. (I don’t even know why I came up with that ridiculous theory ._.)

… *coughs* Aaaaaaaanyway, Ginza Bairin has been around since 1927. It was established by a pharmacist named Nobukatsu Shibuya (from his name alone you can already tell that he’s going to be one of the pioneers of the katsu industry in Japan). Since he works with medicine, he wanted to create a type of katsu that gave people health benefits, but was delicious at the same time. The sauce used for his katsu came from his own recipe.

Meanwhile, a descendant of Mr. Shibuya, Masaya Shibuya, was the one responsible for bringing Ginza Bairin to other countries such as Korea, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the US.

Really loving both the interior and the exterior.

Menu: Ginza Bairin sets (pork & chicken, seafood, menchi, assorted), Katsudon sets, Katsu curry, A la carte, Katsu sando, Appetizers, and Dessert.

Mom and I tried their Rosu Katsudon Set – Hailed as the number one donburi in Japan. And rightfully so! The katsu pieces were so tender, with a thick layer of fat. The sauce gives it some extra flavor. The Koshihikari rice was fantastic and chewy too.

This katsudon has received praises from some of Japan’s best food programs like ‘VVV6’ and ‘Tokyo Restaurant Guide’, as well as famous Japanese chefs like Rokusaburo Michiba (his name may seem familiar to you if you’re a huge fan of Iron Chef Japan, like yours truly).

As mentioned earlier, Nobukatsu Shibuya is the man responsible for creating Ginza Bairin’s signature katsu sauce, using 20 different spices and ingredients. The katsu is also fried in cottonseed oil, which has zero trans-fat.

Dad had their Menchi Katsu with Cheese Set. Menchi Katsu is also known as minced cutlet, and is made out of ground pork – I guess that’s the reason why the meat was more tender than the one in our katsudon.

I’m not gonna lie here – Ginza Bairin is one of the best katsu places in Manila, in my opinion. From the interiors, to the menu design, to the food itself – Everything is just spectacular! I can’t wait to come back.

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

Ginza Bairin is located at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. You can also find them at Glorietta 2 and Trinoma.

Tonkatsu by Terazawa

Tonkatsu by Terazawa is a katsu place owned by Mr. Terazawa Akinori, a katsu chef who hails from Nagoya, Japan. The first branch opened in 1976, and has now expanded to over four countries.

This restaurant has many branches scattered around Manila, but I picked the one in Nuvali, Laguna. We had lunch here after a visit to Tagaytay.

If the interior looks slightly familiar, that’s because this place was previously occupied by Pig Out, a barbecue restaurant also from the Bistro Group. I remember doing a review for that restaurant two years ago.

Menu: Starters (chasoba salad), Tonkatsu, Katsudon, Terazawa prime picks, Chizu katsu, Katsu curry, Nagoyameshi miso katsu, Seafood and chicken katsu, Iroiro katsu, Beverages, and Dessert.

Rosu Katsudon Set (deep fried loin). This katsu has a rather thick layer of fat. Very light, and goes well with the katsu sauce/salt. Unlike other katsu restaurants, the staff grinds the sesame seeds for you – I honestly prefer grinding the seeds myself, since it gives off a relaxing feel. ^^;

Tonkatsu by Terazawa cooks their katsu in the most traditional way possible – By using large panko breadcrumbs for their aged pork cutlets, so that it doesn’t absorb much oil and gives the katsu a crunchy and light coating, without any hint of grease.

Fish Katsu Set, with a katsu made from deep-fried cream dory…

… And the Chicken Katsu Set, this time made from a deep-fried chicken cutlet.

Here’s our dessert, their signature Frozen Green Tea! Green tea ice cream, with a graham crust base and soft and marshmallow-y meringue top. We almost never got to try this dish, good thing their chef was able to make some right before we paid our bill, hehe.

It was fairly decent – But it did satisfy my katsu craving, that’s for sure.

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

Tonkatsu by Terazawa is located at Solenad, Nuvali, Nuvali Blvd Santa Rosa, Laguna. You can also find them at Greenbelt 2, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. Links: Twitter || Facebook