Monthly Archives: February 2015

Larcy’s Cupcakery Cafe

So it was our first time to visit Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons, and boy oh boy, there were so many restaurants to choose from! ^^ But in the end, we ended up having lunch/merienda at a small cupcake café called Larcy’s, whose first store can be found all the way in Paranaque. Larcy’s was opened by a husband-and-wife team from Davao. Their first business was a small coffee shop located in their hometown, which they eventually had to sell after moving to Manila to accompany their daughter in her college years.

Their interior is very charming, and, well, girly (just like most cupcake cafes/bakeries).

Of course I had to take a picture of their cupcake rack. Hehe.

Menu.

Pink Velvet, aka the prettiest cupcake I’ve seen (so far) in my entire life. Moist red velvet, topped with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.

Spinach Dip with Melba Toasts. This was just too plain for my taste.

Smoked Ham and Cheese Panini. A very humble Panini sandwich that I can easily make at home. Still delicious though – Almost like comfort food.

I also tried their Frozen Hot Choco Velvet for my drink. This was voted as one of the best frozen drinks in Metro Manila. And indeed it was! I have always been wary of wanting to try frozen hot chocolate, since the very first frozen hot chocolate that I tried had this nasty, bitter aftertaste (I can’t even remember which restaurant it came from). But it looks like I’m going to have to give this type of drink another chance thanks to Larcy’s version.

My experience at Larcy’s was pretty good. The Panini sandwich and frozen hot chocolate that I tried served as an excellent and hearty snack. And even though I only got to try only one cupcake, I’m sure there are still a lot of delicious flavors that I can find in their café.

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

Larcy’s Cupcake Cafe is located at Basement 1, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City. Links: Facebook

Wooden Spoon

Wooden Spoon is a Filipino restaurant owned by none other than famous celebrity chef, Sandy Daza. One of my fondest childhood memories was watching his cooking show together with my mom every Saturday morning, back when I was still in elementary school. And nowadays, whenever I get the chance, I try to catch his travel/food program on the Lifestyle Network.The restaurant is named after the wooden spoon that he uses in his cooking shows.

Interior. Because it’s owned by a celebrity chef, I had high expectations for this restaurant. We picked the branch in Rockwell, even though the one nearest to us is the Katipunan branch (I found the place too small/cramped). And surprisingly enough, Mr. Daza himself was there, having a little chat/meeting with some of his colleagues.

Menu: Appetizers, Main course (beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables, rice, desserts and beverages).

The menu’s design may look simple, but almost every item comes with its own back story or anecdote.

Boneless Crispy Chicken – Kind of like a giant chicken katsu accompanied with a small amount of corn, and mashed potatoes. Also comes with a small bowl of mushroom gravy.

Lechon Kawali – Small strips of lean pork belly meat, which is simmered, then deep fried until golden brown. Comes with three dipping sauces: Garlic, wansuy, and the typical sarsa. The wansuy and sarsa dipping sauces were my favorite!

Fiesta Rice – Fried rice mixed with bits of chorizo, tinapa, and red eggs. This was… Eh. I still prefer the regular steamed white rice.

And finally, Sigarilyas at Daing, which consists of sigarilyas mixed with spicy cream sauce and topped with daing bits.

That wasn’t too bad! (Although admittedly, I felt a little bit queasy after eating their deep-fried boneless chicken dish) Wooden Spoon is a great place to enjoy some delicious, hearty home-cooked Pinoy food. I would like to recommend this restaurant to Pinoy food lovers everywhere.

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

Wooden Spoon is located at Power Plant Mall, Amorsolo Dr Rockwell Center, Makati. You can also find them in Katipunan, and in Kapitolyo. Links: Facebook.

Pi Breakfast and Pies

We finally pushed through with our long-delayed trip to Pi Breakfast and Pies, a small café/bakery/restaurant near Maginhawa street. (This also marks the second time that we completely missed the opportunity to eat at a Chinese restaurant during the Lunar New Year holiday. Sigh.)

Anyway, Pi Breakfast and Pies is owned by the same people behind Pino, Pipino, and the Burger Project. They have this firm belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (which is true!) so they want to make breakfast truly extra special for their customers. Their other goal is to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth by baking delicious homemade baked goods, and pies.

Interior.

Baskets of fresh bread/pastries, aka my weakness. Hehe. I ended up buying a super-soft brioche loaf and two cookies.

Menu: All day breakfast, Gourmet waffles, Pancakes, Breakfast specials, Grains, Sides, Pies, Breads, and Pastries.

Wagyu Beef Sirloin Tapa, served with garlic kimchi fried rice, five-minute egg, and a small bowl of achara. The sourness of the kimchi fried rice mixed well with the sweetness of the tapa.

Chicken and Pancakes. This was actually supposed to be chicken and waffles, but I think there was something wrong with the resto’s waffle maker so we had to settle for pancakes instead. The pancakes were exactly my type – Not too thick/doughy, and nicely toasted. There were corn kernels and jalapeno peppers(!) embedded inside the pancakes, which I found really interesting. I also loved the crispy pieces of chicken skin. This dish also comes with blueberries, sliced granny smith apples, and a small bowl of maple sour cream.

A slice of Cra—uh, I mean, Smack pie for dessert. This pie is supposed to be an exact replica of the one served in NY’s Momofuku Milk Bar bakery. I’m guessing the people here at Pi changed the name because of trademark reasons? Interestingly enough, they also had a drink called ‘Cereal milk’ and a cookie whose ingredients resemble the ones used in David Chang’s very own compost cookies. Hmmm… Anyway, after taking my first bite of the pie, I finally learned why people really like this stuff. It has this pleasant, indescribable flavor that is buttery, caramel-y, and pecan-y at the same time. It is a tad bit too sweet for my liking, though – Maybe I should order their key lime or banana cream pie next time.

The food was delicious, and I liked the enthusiasm of the staff, but at the same time I was a bit disappointed with the service. For example, some of the menu items weren’t available (like the aforementioned cereal milk and dad’s smoked bangus – We had to order kare-kare from Pino instead). But this won’t stop me from visiting Pi Breakfast and Pies for the second time.

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

Pi Breakfast and Pies is located at 39 Malingap St Teacher Village – West, Quezon City. Links: Facebook || Twitter || Instagram

Boon Tong Kee

Boon Tong Kee is a Singaporean restaurant founded by Mr. Thian Boon Hua. His first restaurant, a small stall located in Chinatown Singapore, served delicious chicken rice. Because it got so popular, Mr. Thian got his family members to open up the very first branch of Boon Tong Kee in 1983. Soon enough, Boon Tong Kee got so many rave reviews that more branches started popping up all over Singapore.

My cousins are huge fans of Singaporean food (after working in SG for several years) and Boon Tong Kee just happens to be one of their favorite restaurants, so they kept persuading me to dine here. ^^

Crappy interior pics. >_<

Menu: Meat (crispy roast chicken, sweet & sour pork, fried spare ribs with zhen jiang sauce, crispy pork knuckles with bihon), Vegetables (fried french bean & scallops with xo sauce, fried french bean with spicy exo sauce, poached chinese spinach with assorted eggs, fried long bean with beancurd cubes and nuts), Soup (thick soup with fish maw, crabmeat and beancurd), Seafood (crispy cereal prawn, sweet & sour fish fillet), Appetizers (prawn toast with green tea mayo, char siu), Beancurd (braised tofu with prawns in claypot, braised beancurd with crabmeat and fish roe), Porridge Rice Noodle (sambal fried rice, braised yi mian with prawns, seafood laksa), Beverages, Dessert

Crispy Beancurd – Yummy little cubes of breaded tofu, with green tea-flavored dipping sauce.

Signature Boiled Chicken, aka Singaporean Hainanese chicken. The best thing about this dish? It’s boneless! Woohoo! Which means that I didn’t have to chew the meat very carefully, as well as pick out all of the little bones found in the chicken pieces. The dish is accompanied by a bowl of chicken soup, and a plate of chicken rice (in the shape of a pyramid). The chicken is prepared using the Cantonese cooking process, which ensures that the meat of the chicken is juicier, and more flavorful.

Coffee Pork Ribs. Just like the chicken, this dish didn’t have any bones in it (except for one piece). You can easily detect the coffee flavor in the breading/sauce but it also has a nice, sweet aftertaste, kind of like char siu pork.

Hakaw, and Fried Dumplings for our dimsum. I’m more used to eating steamed dumplings, so I didn’t enjoy it that much.

My cousins were right – Everything at Boon Tong Kee tasted amazing! In fact, I think Boon Tong Kee is now one of my favorite Singaporean restaurants. There are still so many dishes that I want to try, so I’m sure this won’t be my final visit to this restaurant.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste) 4/5 (presentation)

Boon Tong Kee is located at UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 955-2292. Links: Facebook.

Corazon Filipino-Hispano Cuisine

So we were supposed to stay at home this Valentine’s day in order to avoid the huge influx of couples who want to have a nice, romantic meal in a fancy restaurant – But somehow we ended up having lunch at a Filipino/Spanish restaurant named Corazon, located in Shangri-La Mall. This restaurant is owned by Chef Florabel Yatco, the same person behind Elias and Crisostomo.

Only one shot of the interior since we were seated outside.

Menu: Appetizer (san mateo, chorizo filipino, coronado, cordoba, coruna), Soup (suam na mais), Salad, Rice (adobo rice), Noodles, Vegetables, Paella, Entrées (morales, sorolla, cadiz, inigo, caballero, bermudez, salvador, lechon de mora)

Our appetizer was the Pescado Calamar Bola Bola – Fish and squid balls served with a small bowl of chili sauce. Absolutely loved the presentation of this dish. The fishballs/squid balls themselves weren’t greasy too!

Garcia, aka crispy strips of beef tapa. I think I made a mistake when it came to my dish of choice – The tapa was alright and went well with the vinegar dip, but it felt like I was chewing pieces of beef jerky.

My parents had the Sinigang na Salmon.

Our dessert was the heavenly Chocnut Torte. I like it when chocnut gets incorporated into cakes, ice cream or desserts! The torte itself was excellent – Not too sweet and not too plain. I also love the little chocnut pieces found on the side.

Well… Our meal was just… Eh. Pretty plain, I guess? Which is kind of disappointing, given the current occasion. I mean, we didn’t even get to try their signature paella! I almost kind of want to go back and dine here again just so I could try their other tastier dishes.

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

Corazon Filipino-Hispano Cuisine is located at 4/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, East Wing, Shaw Blvd cor EDSA Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (0917) 817-8298. Links: Official website || Facebook

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant

Watami is a restaurant in Shangri-La’s East Wing. If you can’t tell from its name, this restaurant serves Japanese food. It aims to specialize in three things: A great ambiance, fantastic service, and amazing food. They opened up their first branch in Glorietta 2 last 2013 – Aside from this one and the one in Shang, they also have another branch located in MOA.

Interior. We had dinner here on a Sunday evening, so the atmosphere inside the resto was just bursting with chatter/energy. Most of the customers who dined here consisted of families. (BTW yes, that is ‘Frozen’ being shown on the TV screen – The other TV in the restaurant was playing ‘Pacific Rim’.)

Menu: Lunch sets, Ramen sets, Salad/veggies, Sushi/sashimi/rolls/takoyaki/okonomiyaki, Tempura, Seafoood, Skewers, Gyoza/katsu/steak, Chicken, Hotpot/sukiyaki, Udon/soba/ramen, Donburi, Ice cream/parfait.

(These aren’t the actual set names BTW – I’m just basing them from the pictures that I saw on the menu.)

Shrimp Tempura. Large pieces of melt-in-your-mouth shrimp covered in a crispy batter. Sadly, it tasted quite dull.

Self-grilled Short Ribs. Mine was cooked medium rare, so it had a pleasantly chewy texture. The meat was really fresh too, and I absolutely loved the gravy dipping sauce. Out of all the dishes that we ordered here, this one has got to be my favorite.

Chicken Thigh Skewers (left), and Chicken Liver Skewers (right).

Deep Fried Tofu with Tempura Sauce in Hot Pot. Didn’t get to try this one much since I was busy with my ribs/tempura.

Lastly, Pepper Beef Rice in Stone Pot. I couldn’t help but compare this dish to the sizzling beef/rice plates served in Sizzling Pepper Steak and Pepper Lunch – And unfortunately I have to say that theirs is better than this one (and it’s cheaper too). The rice itself could use more pepper. I didn’t have a hard time munching on the strips of beef, though.

Watami’s staff was very friendly and attentive, plus I also loved the entire ambiance of the resto. I was pretty much satisfied and happy with my dinner. The only bad thing about this meal was that almost every single dish that we tried tasted plain and lacked flavor (yes, even those delicious short ribs). I hope that by the time I come back here, the flavors of their dishes would have improved greatly.

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

Watami is located at Shangri-la Plaza Mall , Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 570-1719. Links: Facebook.

Potts Point

Potts Point is an Australian café located in Eastwood. Most of their dishes are organic, from the meat, to the fruits/veggies for their salads… Right down to the beans that they use for their coffee. The café got its name from a suburban area in Sydney which is famous for its restaurant and café scene. Potts Point combines the best of both worlds – Giving meticulous attention to both their food and coffee.

The interior just screams ‘coffee shop’. I also love the little selection of books that they have on display at the far right corner of the café.

Menu: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Pasta, Entrees, Savory pies and sandwiches, Dessert, All day brekkie, Beverages.


Organic Roasted Chicken Fillet with Salsa Verde, Mango Cream, Garlic Yogurt Sauce, and Quinoa Red Rice Salad. We couldn’t have ordered this dish at a better time, since I just wrote an article about cooking quinoa for my job, hehe. This is my first time trying quinoa, and I now understand why this is considered as health food – It almost has the same consistency as rice, except it’s very light and you won’t feel very full afterwards. The chicken itself was juicy and had a peppery flavor.

Vietnamese Style Organic Slow-Roast Pork Belly, with Nuoc Cham and Pineapple Fried Rice. The pork was just absolutely tender. It goes really well with the sweet pineapple rice (actual rice this time).

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with House Made Tartar Sauce. I was slightly taken aback when the dish was served to me, because I was expecting it to look similar to the fish and chips served at Fish and Co. – A large piece of fillet with crispy/oily breading. The fish and potato wedges were still great though, even if the texture was slightly mushy. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that some parts of the fish were undercooked but I guess that’s how organic cuisine is supposed to be? I’m not really sure.

Our dessert: English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream (I’m not even sure if I got the name correct >_<). A super moist dessert with yummy, cake-like texture drenched in toffee sauce and three small scoops of ice cream. The cold ice cream goes well with the warm pudding. And what I love about this dessert is that it’s not cloyingly sweet, even when bathed in toffee sauce. I really want to try their other desserts, like their pie and cookies!

I guess the only complaint that I have about this restaurant is that the servings were a tad small (but not THAT small) for the expensive price – Or maybe it’s just size of the plates that made the dishes look small, hehe. I guess this is how organic restaurants are supposed to be – They try not to make you feel too stuffed, and at the same time serve you healthy and home-grown meals. This is still a good restaurant, nonetheless.

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

Potts Point Cafe is located at 2/F Eastwood Mall, Veranda, Orchard Rd Bagumbayan, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 426-1635.