Monthly Archives: June 2015

Buon Giorno Caffe & Bistro

So this entry almost never got made because I contracted a nasty stomach bug last Monday and had to rest in bed for two days. The doctors told me not to eat anything greasy, oily, or anything made from dairy products – Good thing I was able to recover swiftly thanks to plenty of rest + some meds.

A few days later, after making sure that my stomach was finally in good working condition, we headed over to Buon Giorno Caffe & Bistro to have lunch. This restaurant was first built in Tagaytay, then opened up another branch in Rockwell Business Center in Ortigas. I was so happy when our trip here finally pushed through, because I’ve wanted to visit this place for the longest time but it kept getting delayed for different reasons.

The interior was decent, but… Hmmm. It could use a little bit of refurbishing.

Menu: Colazione, Pinoy breakfast favorites, Antipasti, Zuppe, Insalata, Pizza, Pasta, Vegetariano, Piato principale, Risotto, Panini & sandwiches, Kiddie meals, Dolci, Bevanda.

Thick slices of bread for our appetizer.

Risotto con Salsicce e Cippole Arrostite – The famous rice dish with huge slices/chunks of Italian sausage, and mixed with some roasted onions. This was too good, and I love that it packed so much flavor even though it didn’t have a lot of ingredients in it.

Quattro Formaggi pizza, with mozzarella, feta, parmesan, and gorgonzola cheeses. This dish wasn’t that bad, but… IDK, I think I prefer my pizza crusts to be a little bit thicker than this one. Also, I know it probably has something to do with the flavor that we chose, but this pizza could also use more toppings.

Pescatore Alla Puttanesca for our pasta, which consists of seafood with spicy tomato sauce.

Gelatooooooooo!

It was great, but honestly speaking, it wasn’t the best Italian restaurant I’ve eaten in (I’ve been to worse ones, though… Trust me <_<). Although I’m probably just saying that because I didn’t enjoy their pizza very much. If you’re going to pay Buon Giorno a visit, then I suggest that you try out their risotto/pasta dishes. Their rice meals/appetizers/desserts seem really delicious too.

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

Buon Giorno Caffe and Bistro is located at G/F Rockwell Business Center, West Tower, Ortigas Ave. Ugong, Pasig. Tel no: (02) 710-3515. Links: Facebook.

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Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

What is a spaetzle?

A spaetzle is a fresh dumpling/pasta dish originating from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. ‘Spaetzle’ literally translates to ‘small sparrow’.

What is Spatzle Euro-Market Café?

Spatzle Euro-Market Café is a restaurant located in Shangri-La Mall’s East Wing. It serves European cuisine, mostly food coming from the three countries mentioned earlier. It’s always a bit crowded whenever we pass by this restaurant – I guess the reason why people love to come to Spatzle (aside from the food, of course) is because of its homey, yet quirky restaurant concept.

Completely loved Spatzle’s interior.

Menu: Soups, Salads, Starters (spatz crispy apples), Roesti (chicken and fresh mushrooms), Tarte Flambe (provence, monte blanc), Haus Made Specialty Mains (roast chicken sausage on mushroom spatzle), Freshly-made Pastas (spatz carbonara, gnocchi Bolognese, la mancha), Wraps and Open-Faced Sandwiches (the spatz burger, grun buckwheat galette), Weekend Market Specials (weekend roast pork belly, gnocchi vongole), All Day Brunch, Haus Made Specialty Drinks (all-natural citrus cooler soda, brunch cocktails), Wines, Sodas, Bottled Water, Coffee and Haus Teas, Haus Desserts (frozen brazo de mercedez).

You guys probably expected me to order some wiener schnitzel (which they actually had on the menu), but nope – I chose something else (and besides, wiener schnitzel reminded me too much of katsu)…

New Potato & Mushroom Chowder Soup, which had some seasonal mushrooms and baby potatoes mixed in. It didn’t have much flavor in it, but the soup was still nice and had a rather Earthy taste. It would be great if they served it with some garlic bread instead.

Meanwhile, the one on the left is my drink, the Mint Lemonade…. A delicious and revitalizing thirst-quencher.

Mom’s drink was their hot Peppermint Tea.

Spatz-Folded Thin Pancake. This isn’t really a pancake pancake, more like a super-thin crepe, actually? It comes with a small, sunny-side up egg with strawberry cream cheese on the side, and a few strips of bacon. The bacon was amazing because it wasn’t greasy, yet still had a nice crunch. The pancake is also stuffed with mozzarella cheese and strawberries – This may seem like a strange combo, but trust me… It works. I liked this dish very much.

Grilled Sausage Roesti – Preservative-free grilled Italian sausage with another sunny-side up egg and gravy. FYI, roesti is a potato pancake dish that is traditionally eaten as a breakfast or snack food in Switzerland. Like the soup, the roesti could use a little more salt (I guess that’s the reason why there’s a small bowl of gravy accompanying it). The sausage was great, though, and the meat inside was definitely all-natural. Spatzle’s roesti stands out from other restaurants’ roesti because the resto uses a unique method in slicing their potatoes.

I had a great time here at Spatzle because the food here was different from what I would usually try on a regular basis. And this is actually my first time to try a restaurant that serves German/Swiss-centric cuisine, and I’m happy to say that their dishes left a good impression on me.

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

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe is located at 5/F East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, EDSA cor Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Links: Facebook.

People’s Palace

People’s Palace is a Thai restaurant owned by Scottish chef Colin McKay. It first opened up in Malate, then later moved to Greenbelt 3, where it can still be found today. This resto can accommodate up to 88 people, while the garden patio outside has space for an additional 50 diners.

Interior.

Menu: Hot Soups & Appetizers (prawn spring rolls, son in law’s eggs, prawn and pork relish with prawn crackers), Cool Salads (prawn, pomelo and coconut salad), Curries (mussaman curry of lamb), Spicy Fried + Stir-Fry, Fragrant Rice Noodles (kao soi gai).

Drinks menu: Iced juices, Cool smoothies + Shakes, Essential extracts, Simply softies + Mineral H20, Local beers and Thai beer + Others, Spirits + Mixers, Premium house pours, Deluxe house pours, After-dinner liqueurs.

Cool and refreshing Thai Iced Tea.

Thom Yum Goong – Hot and deliciously sour/spicy soup with prawns.

We had two appetizers: Our first one was Tod Maan Pla – Thai fishcakes with a dip that consisted of cucumbers and peanut relish. The next one is their Chicken and Pork Satay, which came with some peanut sauce for dipping.

This is People’s Palace’s take on Phad Thai – Stir-fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, chicken, tofu, and prawns. The noodles are slimmer than the average pad thai, and it has a slightly spicy aftertaste to it.

And lastly, a generous serving of Steamed Sticky Rice with mangoes, aka my favorite Thai dessert.

Well… It’s delicious, but the food was a tad bit overpriced and the crowd there was a little bit too… Fancy for my taste? But I would still highly recommend People’s Palace if you want to have a great night out with your friends while gorging on some scrumptious modern Thai cuisine.

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

People’s Palace is located at G/F Greenbelt 3-Garden Side, Esperanza St Ayala Center, Makati. Tel no: (02) 729-2888. Links: Official Website || Facebook

Hanamaruken

Hanamaruken Ramen is a Japanese ramen joint that started out in 1982. Its founder, a chef named Takaku Arakawa, came from a family of butchers – So this background served as an inspiration to merge two distinct types of food: Meat and ramen. Chef Arakawa believes that a good cut of meat, combined with the chef’s passion for cooking, is the secret to creating the perfect bowl of ramen. Today, Hanamaruken has over 40 branches, with most of them located in Osaka. It is also a subsidiary of the Arakawa Pork Company, one of Japan’s biggest suppliers of meat.

At first I thought that Hanamaruken was going to be one of those ‘hard-to-reach’ restaurants, since their branches were located in Trinoma and ATC. Luckily, a new branch opened recently in The Grove, near Eastwood – So now I (gladly) have no more excuses to skip out on trying their delicious ramen bowls.

Interior. I’m just gonna assume that their branch in Trinoma is much bigger…

Menu: Hanamaruken Ramen (spare rib ramen, pot belly ramen, arakawa abura soba, champon), Small Plates, Extras, Rice Bowls (happiness rice bowl, drunk man rice bowl), Drinks.

Of course no ramen entry is complete without a plate of Gyoza. Hehe.

And here is Hanamaruken’s signature dish – The Signature Happiness Ramen! Shoyu-based tonkotsu broth with pork ribs and soft-boiled egg. This has got to be the biggest bowl of ramen that I’ve seen in my life so far – But boy oh boy, ‘happiness’ is definitely the perfect way to describe how I felt after eating this dish, even though the noodles kinda reminded me of the ones used in instant ramen, and my parents thought that the broth was a tad bit too oily/garlicky. The huge slab of slow-braised soft-bone pork rib makes up for it, though. By the way, the Signature Happiness ramen is a creation of Chef Arakawa.

Their Tempura was a bit… Hmmm. :\ I only tried one piece. Let’s just say I’ve had better tempura than this one… Sorry!

I still consider Hanamaruken’s food top notch, even though it kinda pales in comparison to other popular ramen places such as Ippudo and Ramen Nagi. I would love to come back so I can try their rice bowls and their other dishes… Hopefully in the Trinoma branch this time. ^^;

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

Hanamaruken Ramen is located at Eulogio Rodriguez Jr. Ave Ugong, Pasig. Other branches include Trinoma and Alabang Town Center. Links: Official Website || Facebook

Hanako

Hanako is a small restaurant whose origins can be traced to Paranaque. In fact, the branch that we visited (in SM Hypermart) is only their second branch outside of Paranaque (the other one being in Mandaluyong). As their name suggests, Hanako serves Japanese food.

Okay, to be honest, I have passed by Hanako a dozen times but I never considered doing a review for it until recently. I do remember one of my cousins telling me how spectacular the food was, so I finally tried out their chow when the family and I were running on a very tight schedule, thanks to work + other things.

Interior.

Menu: Starters (kani salad, tofu steak, sukiyaki soup), Donburi (tofu steak, katsudon, gyudon), Entrees (kakiage, mixed tempura, crispy fish teriyaki, tonkatsu, torikatsu curry, katsu curry), Makis (spicy tuna crunch, salmon cream cheese, five star roll, ultimate dynamite roll), Sushi and sashimi (salmon sashimi, salmon sushi, tamago sashimi, tamago sushi), Dessert.

Ebi Tempura. The fried batter was lovely and crispy, and the shrimp tasted really clean. Reminded me of the huge and delicious pieces tempura served in Tokyo Tokyo and Teriyaki Boy.

Of course I had to try out their Gyoza. Hehe. The soysauce was slightly spicy, but I can handle my spicy food very well, so this wasn’t much of a problem. Surprisingly, the gyoza is actually one of Hanako’s bestsellers.

This is their chicken Katsu. I didn’t even know that this came with rice, so I was feeling slightly full afterward. >_< Anyway, the katsu was nice and perfectly cooked, but the skin kept falling off the meat.

Our maki was the delicious California Gunkan, with mangoes, eggs, fried salmon skin, tamago, cucumber, and shreds of kani. I wanted to try their Spicy Tuna Crunch, but I remembered that I had to share my maki with mom, who (still, apparently) dislikes spicy food. Fun fact: ‘Gunkan’ translates to ‘Battleship’ in Japanese.

And for dessert, we had the decadent Meiji Madness – A warm, moist, cake/pudding-like dessert with cold ice cream and chocolate shavings on the side. Heaven.

In my opinion, I think Hanako is the ideal restaurant – Cheap, yet the food served is simply amazing. This is a must-try if you’re on a tight budget and want to eat some good quality Japanese dishes.

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

Hanako is located at SM Supercenter Pasig, Eulogio Rodriguez Jr Ave Ugong, Pasig. Links: Facebook.

Cheesecakes by Guy

Cheesecakes by Guy is a small café/cheesecake restaurant in Eastwood Mall. It’s the first restaurant venture of Chef Gregory Guy. Not only is Chef Guy an Ateneo graduate, he also took culinary studies at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary/hospitality institute. So I guess you can say this guy is clearly on his way to becoming a star when it comes to the local culinary scene.

We ate here for dinner when my dad decided to take a leave of absence from his work today.

Interior.

And here’s a shoddy pic that I took of their cheesecake collection. Their cheesecakes come in many different varieties. The last time my mom came here, she tired their quezo de bola cheesecake.

Menu shots.

English Breakfast iced tea.

Mac and Cheese, a bubbling platter of elbow mac slathered with three different cheeses – Cheddar, gruyere, and mozzarella. Even though the dish is chock-full of cheeses, it did not make me feel queasy at all. The taste was very light, and the burnt edges give the dish a crispy texture.

This is their Philly Cheese Steak Panini – Paper-thin slices of rib-eye, with bits of jalapeno peppers, cheddar, gruyere cheese, and caramelized onions, in between two slices of grilled ciabatta bread. Paired with some side salad. The sandwich had a slightly spicy kick to it, and I also loved the combination of the beef’s tenderness and the warm, toasty ciabatta.

And finally… Cold, delicious cheesecakes! I had the Oreo version (bottom), while mom had the regular version. These cheesecakes were made using farm-fresh eggs, and combines the best of two distinct cheesecake styles – New York Style cheesecake, which has an intense, rich flavor, and the lighter-tasting French Gateau au Fromage. So the end result is a light and creamy, yet very flavorful cheesecake that people can enjoy with each bite.

Heck, even my dad loved it and he’s very picky when it comes to desserts.

Our meal here was very light and shouldn’t even be considered as dinner, but none of us really cared—The food was just amazing, and that’s what really mattered.

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

Cheesecakes by Guy is located at 2/F Eastwood Mall, Eastwood Ave Bagumbayan, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 584-3372. Links: Official website || Facebook