Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tamarind: Taste of Thai

While on our way home from Tagaytay, we decided to make a quick stopover at SM Aura to celebrate dad’s birthday – I ended up picking Tamarind among the roster of restaurants in the area, because 1.) I was in the mood to do a review at that time 2.) It was the first place that popped into my head that served dry noodles – A birthday meal staple.

Tamarind is basically the classier, fancier sibling of Jatujak, a casual Thai resto located in SM Megamall. This restaurant promises its diners to give them ‘a taste of Thai’ – And I guess this promise has been fulfilled so many times already since the dishes here were crafted by a Thai chef.

Interior is a bit dim.

Menu: Starters, Salad, Soup, From the grill, Meat entrée, Seafood entrée, Curry favorites, Vegetables, Vegetarian specials, Kwey tiew haeng, Kwey tiew nam, Rice, Delectable desserts.

The menu book was too wide to fit into the frame ._.

Two appetizers: Thod Mun Goong – Crunchy fried shrimp cakes, and Gai Thod – Marinated Thai-style chicken wings with a spicy dipping sauce. I don’t know about you, but I really like it when the appetizers’ servings are practically the same size as the main course. Hehe.

Thai Iced Tea, which had a nice, bitter finish.

Kaprao Nuea – Stir-fried beef with basil. The beef shreds were too small, but were packed with so much spice.

Grob Radna – Noodles with Thai gravy. I love that the noodles stayed crispy even if it was practically drenched in gravy. You can also choose if you want chicken, seafood, or pork mixed together with your noodles.

Kao Niew Mamuang – Sticky rice with mango. The cherry gives it a nice touch. ^^

Tamarind’s food is packed with a harmony of flavors, plus their dishes are cooked to perfection. I also loved the decent size of the servings. I would like to recommend this restaurant to those who are searching for the true taste of Thailand.

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

Tamarind: Taste of Thai is located at 5/F SM Aura Premier, Sky Park, McKinley Parkway McKinley Hill, Taguig. Tel no: (02) 556-1156. Links: Facebook.

Advertisements

Hermana Taste Tradition

As soon as we arrived in Tagaytay to celebrate my dad’s birthday, I grabbed the opportunity to visit the new Serin mall, owned by Ayala Malls. It was actually my second time to visit this place – And the reason why I came back is because I wanted to check out this new Filipino restaurant called Hermana, owned by the same people behind Red Engine/Downtown Pizza.

Interior. Halfway through our meal, the staff switched on their TV and began playing Robocop (the new version with Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson in it). Hmmm. Now, I really don’t have anything against action films or the Robocop franchise, but IMO they should’ve picked a more family-friendly movie, like a rom-com or even a Tagalog comedy flick.

Menu: Something new, Salad, Appetizer, Soup, Vegetables, Hot plate, Main dish, On the grill, Snacks, and Beverages.

Lechon Kawali – Deep fried pork belly with a generous layer of fat. It was decent, but it never came with a dipping sauce so the taste was absolutely bland – Not to mention, very greasy. Should’ve ordered their liempo instead.

Crispy Tawilis – A type of small freshwater fish that is deep-fried until nice and crispy. According to my mom, she didn’t really enjoy munching on this dish because apparently, it the fish still had little bones inside them.

Tinolang Spareribs – Slow-cooked pork ribs with chayote wedges and sili leaves.

The food here was just mediocre, but since they’re still new in the resto scene, maybe there’s still enough time to improve the quality of their dishes.

Ambiance/Interior: 4/5
Staff/Service: 4/5
Food: 2.5/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Hermana Taste Tradition is located at the second floor of Ayala Mall Serin, Tagaytay City, Tagaytay.

Stacy’s

So we finally had a reason to go to Stacy’s in BGC, and that’s because my cousin decided to hold a little gathering there for her daughter’s Christian dedication ceremony. I’ve always wanted to go here because of the fact that it’s a breakfast/snack café (and if you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I absolutely love diners/restaurants that serve 24/7 breakfast), plus it just seems like a nice, relaxing place to be in.

Interior – The event was held in the second floor of the resto, but I only managed to get pictures of the first floor. I really like the cute, whimsical, and somewhat girly ambiance of the place – And it seems to absolutely fit the nature of the event too.

Unfortunately, no menu shots/items since this event included a buffet lunch. Here’s what was served during the event (the ones in bold lettering are the dishes that I tried):

Grilled Shrimp & Pomelo Salad in Asian Dressing + Roasted Garlic Rice.

Fluffy Sunshine Eggs + Manila Pride Bangus.

Irish Corned Beef & Taters + Fresh Tropical Fruits.

Chicken Melt Canapes with Apples and Grapes. The taste was just fine, but I would’ve enjoyed it so much more if I didn’t find a small chicken bone in my canapé. -_-

Banana and Strawberry French Toasts with Chocolate Chips – Heaven. Pure heaven. I would eat every single piece if I could.

So aside from the appetizers, the main dishes themselves weren’t bad! I loved the juiciness of the corned beef, the fluffy and buttery scrambled eggs, and the fresh, crisp lettuce with the perfectly grilled shrimp pieces tossed in (the dressing was a little bit tangy though). It’s a shame that I never got to try the dishes that Stacy’s is famous for (like their potato chip chicken + more French toast/pancakes/waffles), but hey, it’s feels really refreshing to try something different for a change. There’s always a next time, after all. ^^

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

Stacy’s is located at Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tel no: (02) 5550140. Links: Facebook.

Manam Comfort Filipino

During the holiday, my parents and I paid another visit to Greenbelt, and had lunch at a restaurant called Manam Comfort Filipino, formerly known as Namnam Comfort Filipino. What’s unique about Manam is that nearly each dish on their menu is presented in two ways: The classic traditional version, and the restaurant’s fresher modern take.

Interior.

Menu: Pulutan, Sisig & sizzling platos, Ensalada & gulay, Sopas, Pancit, Paboritos, Lupa, Dagat, Kanin, Dessert, Beverages & alcohol.

You can choose between three sizes: Small, medium, and large. We ordered most of our food in small servings.

House Crispy Sisig – Finely-minced pork jowls, ears and cheeks, served on a sizzling plate. The chunks of pork were larger than the typical sisig. There was a great balance between the chewy and crispy pieces of meat.

Caramelized Patis Wings. The glaze was super-addicting, it’s a shame that we only ordered the small size.

Crunchy Salt and Pepper Squid Rings, with Sweet Chili Sauce. Melt-in-your mouth squid rings coated in a light, crispy fried batter. This has got to be the best-tasting calamari I’ve had so far, right after Parmigiano’s.

Kare-kare with Oxtail.

Laksa-style Halaan Soup with Crispy Sili Leaves and Mais.

University Fried Rice – Fried rice topped with two fried eggs, spring onions, and mixed with small chunks of beef. Very filling. I wanted to pair up my sisig with plain steamed rice, but pretty-looking bowl of rice looked too good to pass up.

And for our dessert, we had the Choco-Butter Nut Sans Rival – This cake is just perfect because the layers didn’t crumble easily, and the chocolate is neither too sweet nor too bitter.

I think a great strategy that you need to follow when you’re planning to dine at Manam is to order all of your favorites in the smallest size, so you will be able to eat some delicious food without leaving some leftovers behind. Also, their skill in making two different versions of the same dish warrants them some plus points for pure creativity.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5 (the low ceiling made the place feel cramped >_<)
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Manam Comfort Filipino is located at G/F Greenbelt 2, Esperanza St cor Greenbelt Dr Ayala Center, Makati. Tel no: (02) 625-0515. Links: Facebook.

Old Penang

After a year and five months (yes, I counted) I finally made it back to Resort’s World Manila! Yay! Nothing much has changed, but visiting this place is always a treat for me because located really far from where I live. Unfortunately, the restaurant that we were supposed to visit has already closed down (that would be Noodle Works, now replaced by Café Maxims, if I remember correctly), so we ended up having an early dinner at a restaurant called Old Penang.

Interior.

Menu: Noodles (yin yong char hor fun, black bean beef hor fun, hua dan crispy noodles, famous Singapore fried egg hokkien mee, famous Singapore laksa), Appetizer, Rice (nasi lemak special, hainanese chicken rice) Ala-carte (fish head with bitter gourd in black bean in clay pot), Old penang coffee and tea, Beverages, Healthy fruit juices and shakes, Old penang special, Desserts

Cold yet bitter Iced Teh Tarik for my drink.

Famous Penang Char Kway Teow – Huge and flat rice noodles, mixed with fish cake, prawns, bean sprouts, kut chay, eggs, and pork fat. It’s a bit spicy, but the noodles were chewy and the serving was just right for me.

Red Grouper Fish Fillet Soup – With mushrooms, ginger, bean curds, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions, lettuce, fish fillet, and fried garlic. My dad was craving for some soup so we ordered this dish.

Sizzling Seafood Beancurd – A sizzling plate with mixed mushrooms, squid, eggs, onion, sliced ginger, sliced carrots, peas, and prawns.

Yangchow Fried Rice – White (and greasy) fried rice tossed with BBQ pork, prawns, eggs, shallots, and spring onions.

And finally, some Roti Pratha with curry dip – This is actually an accompaniment to their chicken curry, but the waitress was kind enough to remove the chicken from the dish.

Old Penang has always been one of the best go-to restaurants for those who want to try out some delicious authentic Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indian cuisine. The servings and pricing of the food are just right too. Also, I’m just really happy that I get to come back to RWM again after a very long while and I already can’t wait for our next trip here.

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

Old Penang is located at 4/F Resorts World Manila, Newport Mall, Newport Blvd Domestic Airport, Pasay. Tel no: (02) 846-6063. Links: Facebook.

Ramen Daisho

It’s that time of the year again – That particular season where the rains start to come in and the only thing that anyone can imagine eating during these blustery days is a nice, warm bowl of soup. I myself have experiencing some strong soup/ramen/hot chocolate cravings lately, so my family headed over to Shaw Boulevard last July 5 to eat some authentic ramen at a place called Ramen Daisho. We were originally supposed to head over to a Chinese noodle shop in Wilson, but thanks to my excellent sense of direction (sarcasm) we, unfortunately, never got to our lunch destination.

Interior. After we stepped inside Ramen Daisho, we were greeted by an energetic “IRASSHAIMASSEEEE!!” from the chefs working in the open kitchen. Now, I know this type of greeting is common when it comes to authentic Japanese ramen places, and, despite my sensitivity to loud noises, I usually just let it slide. But there was something about their greeting that seemed… Louder? IDK. Maybe it was because of the lack of customers (we ate there two hours past lunchtime). Oh, and apparently, the reason why ramen chefs do this was because if the staff was too quiet, the Japanese owner would get upset. Interesting…

Menu: Ramen, Cold ramen, Side menu, Topping, Drink.

If you want to see what the inside of the menu looks like, go check out from Ramen Daisho’s Zomato page because I got a little bit distracted by the food that I forgot to take some pictures. Sigh. *headdesks* Anyway, on to the food!

Can’t forget the Gyoza! The dipping sauce used for their gyoza is unique because it’s made from a mixture of Japanese soy sauce, seasonings, and veggies. This combo definitely enhances the gyoza’s flavor.

Tonkotsu Ramen – Creamy pork bone-based broth with mushrooms, firm noodles, spring onion bits, and a soft-boiled egg. In a rare display of compatibility, dad and I ordered the same thing: Except mine had more chasyu slices in it (the Tonkotsu Ramen Chashu-men, pictured here), because chasyu is love, chasyu is life.

Mom had the Shoyu Ramen, which had a clean-tasting soy sauce-based broth. The base used for this ramen is directly imported from Japan, and is mixed with lots of flavorful ingredients.

Ramen Daisho’s noodles come in two textures: Curly, which has a nice, chewy texture, and the smooth and thin flat noodles. The one thing they have in common is that both of them are made from high-quality wheat flour and eggs, and are handcrafted by professional chefs. Meanwhile, the soup used for this ramen is simmered for over 12 hours inside their kitchen.

Tamago Yaki, large and sweet pieces of rolled scrambled eggs. I thought they tasted too sweet for my liking.

I pretty much had a great time at Ramen Daisho – Although I’ll probably come back here when the place is bustling with customers.

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

Ramen Daisho is located at Unit 2 Sunshine Square, Liberty Center, 312 Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 774-0036. Links: Facebook.

Green Pastures

Ever since I was rushed to the hospital nearly a month ago due to a stomach bug + eating too much greasy food, I’ve been trying my best to eat healthy, whether I’m doing a restaurant review or just eating some simple, home-cooked food. In my head, I’ve compiled a short list of the organic/healthy restaurants that I want to visit – And Green Pastures just happens to be one of them.

Green Pastures, owned by Chef Robby Goco of Cyma fame, took the restaurant’s name from his quest to search for the freshest ingredients to use for his dishes. All of the food used in this resto does not contain any MSG or preservatives, and are grown by local farmers.

The interior was slightly cramped, but that’s just fine. I think their branch in Eastwood is slightly bigger.

Menu (Organic Provisions): Large plates, Small plates, Soup, Do-it-yourself salad bar, Signature salads, Whole grain bowls, First course, Specialty pasta, Meat and bread, Faux rice, Commandable mains, Grill, Sides.

Drinks menu (Liquid provisions): Water, Iced tea made with organic honey, Local organic citrus in season, Kombucha tea, Cold-pressed elixirs, Smoothies

My drink was their delicious Salted Caramel smoothie with hints of salted caramel, pineapple, mango, and banana – Truly a sweet and all-natural combo.

Then we had the Roast Organic Chicken, swimming in konbu brine broth, lemon, grilled asparagus, and jus. The meat was packed with so much flavor, and you can even drink the broth by itself because it’s not too salty.

Our second viand was the GP Porkchop, a huge piece of roasted pork with cinnamon butter, roasted potatoes, and guava jam. The potatoes were nice and slightly crisp, while the pork had this strong, meaty flavor to it and goes well with the sweet guava jam.

Yang Chow Cauliflower Rice, with 8-hour roast pork, river shrimp, 142-degree egg, green peas, carrots, scallions, and lettuce mixed in. Okay, I admit – I got a little excited about wanting to try cauliflower fried “rice” especially after watching this video that I saw on Buzzfeed. But I guess I expected too much because it tasted quite bland, even though it already had eggs/meat/seafood/other veggies mixed in. I guess it was my fault too because I resisted adding some salt and pepper to it, because I felt like it would ruin the essence of the dish. Hehe. >_<

Everything that we ordered was gluten-free, so I didn’t feel guilty at all about stuffing myself and feeling a tad bit full after eating. ^^

For dessert, we all shared this piece of Kouign Aman bread with Mt. Atok coffee, with beans coming from the Cordillera region. It is described as having a “smooth texture with balanced body and acidity”. I found it really cool that each type of coffee bean came from different parts of the country and had different flavors, despite it producing the same drink.

Even though the food is too pricey for my taste, I still think it’s great that restaurants like these are helping Pinoys be more conscious with their health by eating the right food (and exercising, of course). Another thing that I love is that this resto supports the local farming industry, and it makes people aware that this country can produce great produce (pun intended).

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)

Green Pastures is located at 4/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, East Wing, Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 654-3219. Links: Facebook.