Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rekados Cafe & Restaurante

(Warning: Pic-heavy entry ahead!)

So today happens to be my wonderful, hardworking mother’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than by having lunch at that one resto that she wouldn’t stop asking me to do a review of whenever we pass by Sta. Rosa, Laguna, on our way to Tagaytay – Rekados Café & Restorante!

Rekados is a restaurant that specializes in three cuisines – Spanish, Italian, and Filipino. The restaurant is located right beside a magnificent garden, where people can take pictures of different plant life, among other things.

Interior…

… And exterior.

There’s also a small store near the resto where you can buy food and gifts for your friends/relatives back in Manila.

Menu: Appertivo (gambas al ajillo, squid ala vinaigrette), El Desayuno, El Café, Sopa, Ensaladas, Pizza (Spanish sardines pasta), Bocadillo (monte cristo), Solo (chicken – chicken al ajillo, seafood – grilled salmon, pork – grilled porkchop, beef – fillet mignon), Paella (paella valenciana, legumbes paella, callos), Pasta (salmon pasta, linguine al pesto), Classic Manila (bulalo steak), Boodle, Bebida

Pork Binagoongan.

Salmon Belly Miso.

Mozzarella Sticks – Breaded mozzarella cheese with marinara dip. Since Rekados’ version of mozzarella sticks isn’t really that crunchy (I’m assuming it’s baked instead of deep-fried), there’s less grease in it, which results in a very clean taste that goes well with the marinara dip.

French Onion Soup – Baked onion soup covered in mozzarella cheese. Pretty decent. ^^

Inihaw na Liempo – The color slightly puts me off, not gonna lie, but it’s still flavorful with a sweet, ketchup-y aftertaste. The dipping sauce is amazing too.

So in my opinion, Rekados’ food is good, but I think it’s the ambiance of the resto that makes this whole place worth visiting, just like most garden restaurants along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay area. This is a must-visit if you prefer eating at restaurants with a magnificent view.

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

Rekados Cafe and Restaurante is located at Sta Rosa Tagaytay Rd Silang, Cavite. Tel no: (0917) 545-5421. Links: Facebook.

Borough

(Hey, guys! Sorry if it’s taking me a while to post entries lately… Work has been keeping me busy these past few weeks T_T)

Borough is a restaurant/bar in The Podium that brings a small piece of New York to Manila, with their take on delicious NYC comfort food. Borough has been open since 2010 – In fact, whenever I hear or see someone mention ‘The Podium’, Borough is the first establishment that comes into mind.

Unfortunately though, my first experience here at Borough wasn’t the best one – I found their food too greasy, and the fact that I had a slight toothache at that time wasn’t helping. So as much as I wanted to have a great time there, it was pretty much impossible. But I am a firm believer in giving restos second chances, so that’s just what I did with this place.

Interior. Nice, although a bit dark on the inside—But then again this place doubles as a bar/lounge, sooo… *shrugs*

Menu: Appetizers and bar chow (grilled cheese and tomato soup, baked mac and cheese, cubano corn on the cob, chocolate chicken wings), Pizza rustica, Soups, Salads (rothko ceasar, poached salmon), All day breakfast (brooklyn omelette, praline pecan waffles, banana amaretto french toast), Burgers and sandwiches (bbq pulled pork, asian tuna burger, falafel, cheese-injected portabello pita pocket, bbt), Mains (sole amandine, fried chicken and waffles, eggplant parmigiana), Pasta (rigatoni ala vodka, pasta primavera), Sides.

Drinks menu: Long drinks, Rock drinks, Cocktail and mixed drinks, Spirits and liqueurs, Non-alcoholic, Craft beers, Local beers, Imported beers, Coffee and tea, Signature cocktails, Signature shooters.

Our appetizer was the Popcorn Calamari – popcorn-crusted fried squid tossed with some additional popcorn pieces, and served with some clarified chili butter. The popcorn itself could use a little bit more salt, but the calamari pieces were fabulous… Just the right size, amount of seasoning, plus it didn’t take too long to chew. The chili butter didn’t really add anything to the dish.

French Onion Soup – Carmelized onion soup, topped with melted gruyere cheese on crostini. Not as delicious as the other French onion soups that I’ve had before, but still yummy.

Pizza Muniere – Thin-crust pizza with mozzarella and white cheese sauce, anchovies, capers, red onions, dill, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

And finally, the highlight of my entire meal… This.

Mom’s Milk and Cookies. There’s just something so comforting about eating a batch of piping hot, freshly-baked cookies, and drinking milk from a glass bottle in a bucket filled with ice. The cookies, which came in three different flavors, were completely divine – Sweet and chewy, but not to the point of being cloying. Pair this up with a shot of cold milk, and… *dreamy sigh*

I’m so glad I gave Borough a second chance. I guess I finally found the reason why this resto has been around for so long now – Not only does it serve amazing food, it’s also a great hangout spot for you and your friends.

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

Borough is located at G/F The Podium, 12 ADB Ave Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 570-8906.

Mad Mark’s

(Not to be confused with a certain movie currently showing in theaters at the moment.)

Mad Mark’s is a small restaurant/dessert shop in Kapitolyo, famous for their cheap and tasty meals, as well as their homemade ice cream, made from fresh, imported ingredients. In fact, the whole concept of the resto was inspired by ice cream parlors in the US.

Mad Mark’s is familiar to me because aside from the fact that we have passed by it several times when we visit Kapitolyo, the place has garnered rave reviews from most food bloggers, food/lifestyle magazines, and famous personalities… Which leads me to wonder why it took me so darn long to do a review of this resto.

Interior.

Menu: Shareables, Man sandwiches, Grilled works, Comfort foods, and Beverages.

(Also, I think it would be nice if they could include a brief description of the dish right next to their names, so people would know what kind of food they ordered…)

My lunch was the Yamazaki Steak – Tender chunks of beef paired with lettuce shreds, a nice soft-boiled egg, plain rice, and fries. Bit of a carb overload, but this dish is just absolutely heavenly.

Mom had the Can’t Get Enough of Wings – Four(!) pieces of Mad Mark’s spicy and tangy chicken wings, with rice and some slaw. I was so proud when my mom managed to polish off two wings, because this is a definite sign that her taste buds are slowly getting used to spicy food. Yay! Hehe.

Dad had the Creole Grilled Chicken – A giant piece of cajun-spiced chicken, with rice and house salad as the sides.

We were unfortunately close to being flat broke after we paid for our meal – So this means we didn’t get to try their famous homemade ice cream. Boo! Overall, our experience at Mad Mark’s was just fantastic – Don’t you just love it when a restaurant serves large portions of flavorful food at a cheap price? I know I do! Can’t wait to try their ice cream and hefty manwiches the next time I come back.

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

Mad Mark’s is located at 23 East Capitol Drive Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Tel no: (02) 342-6802. You can also find them at Glorietta 2 and UP Town Center. Links: Facebook || Instagram

Balboa

From the same people behind Sumo Sam, Johnny Chow, Mr. Kurosawa and Akira, comes Balboa! Balboa is an Italian restaurant located in Shangri-La’s East Wing (right in front of Corazon, which I did a review on not too long ago). The restaurant obviously got its name from the famous fictional boxer portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in the film ‘Rocky’. They used to have another Italian restaurant called Marciano’s (which also served Italian-American fare) but unfortunately all of their branches seem to have closed down earlier this year. T_T

The interior gives this place a really classy vibe… The lighting is kinda dim, though. We ate there in the mid-afternoon, so there were only four customers inside: Myself, my mom, a young man, and his middle-aged companion… Who caused a scene in the resto after he loudly complained about his seat being too near the garbage disposal, and the order taking too long to arrive (to be fair though, he was right 😡 ). He ended up cancelling his order and walking out of the restaurant with his pal ten minutes later. Jeez! What a diva! -_-

Menu: Starters, Soups, Salads, All-day breakfast, Pizza, Pastas, Steaks, Side dishes, Mains, Seafood, Risotto, Burgers and sandwiches, Desserts, Drinks.

Bacon and Crab Croquettes for our appetizer. A little bit bigger than the average croquette, but filled to the brim with crab meat flakes. Slightly sweet, and goes well with the bed of alfalfa sprouts that came with it.

Finally got my Chicken and Waffles fix! Hehe. Both the chicken fillet and the waffles had just the right thickness and crunch. Of course the dish came with a small bowl of syrup/gravy, so we didn’t feel queasy after we were done eating.

Fish & Chips – The potato wedges had this weird, slightly burnt taste, which I assumed came from the potato skins. The fish fillet, made from halibut, was nice and crispy. You can also tell that the fillet that they used here was fresh.

All in all, we had a pretty good lunch. The food was definitely heavenly, and I can’t wait to come back so I could try their pizzas and pastas this time. I just hope that the service would’ve improved by the time I return.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 3.5/5 – Our order took more than 15 minutes to arrive?
Food: 5/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Balboa is located at 4/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, East Wing, Shaw Blvd cor EDSA Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (0932) 878-3984. Links: Facebook.

Dulcelin Gourmet

My first encounter with Dulcelin Gourmet happened when I came across an article featuring the top 10 best chicken and waffles here in Manila. And as you may have noticed from this blog, chicken and waffles is one of my favorite comfort foods. So when this list mentioned Dulcelin Gourmet’s chicken and waffles as one of the must-tries, I just knew that I had to go here.

Dulcelin Gourmet is located at UP Town Center, so it took us a while before we could actually step inside the café because there were so many other restaurants to choose from. We ended up having dinner there during a Sunday night visit, when it started raining SO hard all of a sudden, and Dulcelin Gourmet just happened to be the restaurant nearest to where we were standing.

Interior.

Menu: Starters, Soup, salad, and vegetables, Soup of the day, Mains (beef, pork, chicken, pasta, fish), Sandwiches, Beverage menu, Coffee menu.

And here’s a picture of their dessert menu, consisting mostly of pies/cakes.

BTW, there was something I noticed while browsing through the menu items… The chicken and waffles were gone! T_T So I had to pick something else that (most likely) tasted just as great….

A nice, tall glass of Strawberry Milkshake for my drink.

My choice was the Chicken Fried Steak – A huge, hand-breaded and tender US choice beef, slathered with creamy sausage and pepper gravy. You can choose if you want rice or mashed potatoes to go with your steak. The meat itself tasted slightly bland, but the sausage and pepper gravy was just amazing. A very hearty dish.

Mom and dad shared this plate of Veal Shanks Kare-Kare – Slow-braised, fall-off-the-bone veal shanks and ox tripe, in Dulcelin’s very own kare-kare sauce. Served with veggies and their special bagoong. Veal is the meat of young cattle, so as expected, the texture was buttery smooth and tender (probably not as tender as wagyu beef, though… well, not that I’ve actually tried wagyu 😡 ). It also fell off the bone really quickly.

And now, on to the dessert!

Mango Torte – This is Dulcelin’s specialty, with cream, fresh mangoes, and a chewy nougatine base.

Caramel Pecan Walnut Pie – Pecan and walnut covered-caramel custard, in a flaky butter crust. What I absolutely love about this is that the caramel isn’t too sweet and overpowering, which is one of the reasons why I’m not a big fan of anything with too much caramel in it. This is what every caramel-filled dessert should taste like, to be honest.

Dulcelin’s food was just hearty and satisfying. I’m still slightly bummed about the chicken and waffles, but the dishes/desserts that I tried that night made up for it, and I will come back to try more.

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

Dulcelin Gourmet is located at UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 995-2165. You can also find them in Glorietta, Tiendesitas, and San Juan. Links: Official website || Facebook.

Mama Lou’s

Mama Lou’s started out as a home-based Italian restaurant located in Las Pinas. Pretty soon, they opened up even more branches in different locations like UP Town Center, and in Solenad. Their specialty is a pizza + calzone hybrid called a ‘panzarotti’.

Interior.

Menu: Antipasti, Zuppe, Insalate, Platters, Al dente barilla pasta (pomodoro, diavalo, olio, alfredo, homemade pasta), Risotto, Pizza, Mains (pollo, carne, seafood), Desserts, Drinks.

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find the panzarotti in their menu… Hmmm.

Slices of bread for our appetizer – Comes with two dipping sauces.

Mozzarella Sticks – Deliciously gooey cheese sticks breaded and fried to a golden brown served with pomodoro sauce. I’m a huge fan of mozzarella cheese sticks, so I just couldn’t pass this up.

Our pizza was the Napoli, with tomatoes, mozzarella, and anchovies. Since the dough was paper thin, I was able to eat more than three slices. Comes with a small bowl of alfalfa sprouts.

Penne Pesto Al Pollo – Zesty penne partnered up with some grilled juicy pieces of chicken fillet, tossed in basil and pine nuts pesto sauce. Not bad, but the chicken pieces could use a little more salt.

Their signature iced tea has this nice, refreshing minty taste, which is perfect for hot summer days.

I guess I can say their food was pretty decent, and also tasted good. But I think it lacked a “wow!” factor, and made me feel like I was just dining in a typical Italian restaurant. My whole dining experience here was just basic and average.

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

Mama Lou’s is located at Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road corner Nuvali Blvd., Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Tel nos: (+63 49) 302-0752, (+63 915) 789-6262. Links: Facebook.