Monthly Archives: September 2015

Cafe Platito

I took notice of this restaurant while having merienda with my family at the Café Breton branch nearby, during one of our many Tagaytay trips this year. There was just something that drew me to the place, it was probably the quaint, homey atmosphere, giving off the impression that it served nice, home-cooked snacks like sandwiches, omelettes and such.

Interior that isn’t really an interior. They also have a small shop of some sort, selling pouches and wallets.

Menu.

Longganiza. According to my mom, the longganisa was severely undercooked.

Fish and Chips. This could’ve been a perfect dish if the skin wasn’t TOO. DARN. SALTY. I was half-expecting the pieces of fish to have tiny bones in them, good thing there weren’t any. On the bright side, it did have a soft, melt-in-your-mouth consistency which was pleasant, although I couldn’t help but think that the fish that they used here were those ready-to-eat frozen fillets that you can find in the supermarket.

… Honestly I really have nothing else to say about this restaurant. In fact, it kind of baffles me how they have managed to stay open for such a long time (I came across a review of this place dating back to 2008), but I guess I’m just gonna assume that some people actually like their stuff? Oh well. To each their own.

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

Cafe Platito is located at Cliffhouse, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City. Links: Facebook

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Fireside by Kettle

So some of you may remember our trip to Shangri-La Mall’s Kettle nearly a year ago, where we indulged in some delicious southern-style fried chicken with cornbread and honey, an enormous plate of pasta, and soup. Now, we’re going to take a look at its sibling restaurant, Fireside by Kettle, located in SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall. Unlike Kettle, Fireside focuses more on barbecue and grilled fare.

Slightly dark interior.

Menu: Appetizers and soups, Salads, Mains, Burgers and sandwiches, Sides, Desserts, Drinks, Coffee, Beers, and Wines.

Lovely and refreshing Green Apple fruit shake for my drink. With real apple bits.

Sweet Corn Cappucino – Popcorn salt. Don’t let its outer appearance fool you – This is definitely not coffee. It’s soup! Warm, buttery mild-tasting soup, in fact.

Double Cut Pork Chop – Honey cider brined, grilled apples, peppercorn-mustard cream sauce, and grilled vegetables. It may look like a really thick slab of meat, but it’s definitely not tough to eat at all! I love the taste of the mustard too, and nearly had a fun time trying to guess which wedges were apple slices, and which ones were made with potatoes. Hehe.

Fireside Homemade Doughnuts – Comes with salted caramel, chocolate, and raspberry sauces. These donuts were huge, thick, and definitely far from airy. If I didn’t know better, I would say that this came from a high-end donut shop found in BGC or something.

So if I were to choose, I would have to say that Fireside by Kettle is only a slightly bit better than its sister restaurant, simply because it didn’t leave us feeling really queasy after our meal. But both restaurants are absolutely great in their own right.

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

Fireside by Kettle is located at 3/F SM Megamall, Mega Fashion Hall, Julia Vargas Ave Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 532-1807. Links: Facebook.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

In 1988, a man named Hitoshi Matanaka was inspired to open up his very own ramen shop, after watching the popular ramen-themed Japanese film, ‘Tampopo’. His main goal for creating the first Hokkaido Ramen Santouka store was to make good quality ramen for his family (awww!). This first branch was located at Asahikawa, located in the cool mountainous Japanese province of Hokkaido (where else?). At the beginning, Mr. Matanaka’s small ramen shop only served shio (aka salt-based) ramen, and could only accommodate nine people. But in the end, this humble ramen shop was able to rise above the competition, and become one of the most well-loved ramen shops in that region.

Now, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has branches located in so many different countries – China, the US, Canada, to name a few. They currently have several branches open here in the Philippines, including one in Eastwood. I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that they set up a branch there, because there was already a Katsu Sora nearby and I’m sure that these two restaurants were pretty much joined at the hip.

Interior.

Menu: Original ramen, Specialty ramen, Awase-aji ramen, Hokkaido tsukemen, Santouka chicken ramen, Hiyashi chuka, Santouka spicy miso soup with the goodness of vegetables, Ikameshi, Rice bowl, Santouka set menu, Curry and rice, Pao, Salad, Side dish, Topping for ramen, Dessert, Drink.

Pork Gyoza, of course.

Tori Karaage. Chicken was freshly cooked, but had a rather greasy aftertaste.

Mom and I shared this bowl of Tokusen Toroniku Ramen, with a shio-based broth. This restaurant always makes sure that the soup is served at just the perfect temperature. The broth used for their ramen is simmered – Not boiled – Before adding in veggies, fish, and kelp. I could understand the pure saltiness of the ramen soup, but it also had too much oil in it. Bleh. Still a highly-satisfying bowl of ramen, though. We were also lucky to try out their roasted pork cheeks, since they’re only served in limited quantities. The pork cheeks – Another Santouka specialty – Were super tender and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture to it. Definitely worth the price.

Other toppings that came with our bowl of shio ramen were a small piece of pickled plum (served only with their shio ramen), spring onions, fishcake, mushrooms, and crunchy menma bamboo shoots.

Dad had the Spicy Creamy Shio Ramen, which I assume is almost the same as the one that mom and I shared, except with less pork cheeks and more zing.

Even though I found their ramen a tad too oily for my taste, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s food was still great, because it had so much character despite its simplicity. I’m willing to try their other types of ramen + rice meals the next time I come back. This place is a must-visit spot for ramen fans.

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

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is located at 2/F Eastwood Mall , Orchard Rd Bagumbayan, Quezon City. You can also find them at Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia, Glorietta 4, Greenhills Shopping Center, and Serin Mall in Tagaytay. Links: Official Japanese website || Facebook

Lombardi’s

Before heading off to mass, my parents and I had lunch/dinner at this Italian restaurant called Lombardi’s, which I’ve always wanted to try out for a while now. Lombardi’s promises to take their diners to the heart of Italy itself, by serving them fuss-free, non-intimidating, genuine Italian fare that is both simple, yet sophisticated at the same time.

Interior.

Menu: Pasta (dry, fresh), Pizza, Unlimited cakes and coffee, Insalate, Antipasti, Zuppe, Icantorini (farinacci, verdure), Mains.

Bread + Oil dip for our appetizer.

Pizza Al Salumi – Tomato sauce, mozzarella with Italian ham, prosciutto, salame Milano and coppa. Had a nice, chewy crust, but overall, it didn’t really impress me that much.

Linguine Alla Carbonara – Linguine with Italian pancetta, parmesan cheese, and cream. Only got to try one bite, but it wasn’t too bad? It had a sweet finish to it.

Ravioli – Italian dumpling with meat and tomato sauce. It had a nice lovely meatball wedged inside each piece of pasta. It was decent, but halfway through I got really queasy with the sourness of the tomato sauce.

Weeellll…. Honestly speaking, my experience here was just so-so – But unless they improve the taste/consistency of their food, I can’t really imagine myself returning to this restaurant anytime soon. Sorry! T_T

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

Lombardi’s is located at 4/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, East Wing, Shaw Blvd Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. You can also find them at Robinson’s Magnolia. Links: Facebook.

Salusalo: The Filipino Feast

Salusalo first managed to grab my attention when I came to UP Town Center one Sunday night earlier this year. If you guys have read my Ginza Bairin entry, you may remember that my family and I had an up-close encounter with a certain famous TV personality who was filming an episode of her talk show in UP Town. Well, this person ended up going to Salusalo with her camera crew. Now, judging from what I saw on TV when the episode featuring Salusalo aired a couple of days later, it seemed like the TV personality really enjoyed their food – So this was probably a sign for me to try out their food as well.

Interior.

Menu: Mga pampagana, Mga merienda, Mga gulay, Mga karne, Mula dagat, Mga sabaw, Salusolo, Salusalo, Mga kanin, Ensalada at buro, Mga inumin, Mga panghimagas.

Streetsmart BBQ. Local street food fare all covered in a nice, semi-sweet, syrupy glaze. Mmmmm! Had a fatty aftertaste too, but I didn’t really care. Hehe. I enjoyed this a lot.

Inihaw na Liempo. I thought it was just alright, but nothing special, in my opinion.

Salusalo House of Bulalo – A big bowl of hot, steaming bulalo soup. My parents thought it was too salty.

Okay, so here’s my take on our Salusalo experience: I feel like the TV host was doing a little bit of exaggeration when it came to the taste of this restaurant’s food, because… It didn’t really taste anything extraordinary, in my opinion. Maybe if they could add (or in some cases, reduce) the flavor of their food, they could attract more clients… And possibly more TV hosts too.

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

Salusalo is located at UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Links: Facebook.

John and Yoko

It all started with a regular trip to Greenbelt more than a couple of years ago. My mom and I were walking inside the mall when we spotted a group of finely-dressed young adults standing in front of this equally-hip, newly-opened Japanese restaurant. The restaurant’s name and exterior really caught my attention: John and Yoko Cosmopolitan Japanese. I wondered, ‘Cosmopolitan Japanese? I don’t really have an inkling of what that’s supposed to mean, but I sure would like to know’.

… So I ate there on my birthday and ended up enjoying it. Later on, I found out that it was the second (if I remember correctly) Japanese restaurant of the people behind Sumosam, who eventually became known as the Sumosam Group.

Fast-forward to the present, when I passed by the restaurant during another trip to Greenbelt earlier today – John and Yoko was actually our second choice, since the other Japanese restaurant that we were supposed to visit in Greenbelt 3 was closed for the afternoon. It was then that I finally learned the reason why it was called ‘Cosmopolitan Japanese’: This restaurant manages to incorporate both Eastern and Western elements into their food, just like how John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s marriage managed to bring together two different worlds.

Interior. Doesn’t it remind you of Mr. Kurosawa? Or maybe it should be the other way around…

Menu: Ginza tapas & big city teasers, Japanized salads on the Sunset Strip, Soups in the city, Rockin’ ramen & the noodles of immortality, Soho sushi & broadway rolls, Wagyu packaging district, Yakitori republic, From the deep blue sea, Think with tonkatsu, Big city bowls, A nation of blowouts, Too cold to hold, too hot to handle, Brain freeze time.

Crunchy Tuna Roll, aka my go-to order in any of Sumosam Group’s Japanese restaurants.

California Roll.

Tonkatsu Torikatsu. I chose chicken for my katsu this time, instead of pork. The meat was freshly cooked. The skin also had a beautiful crunch to it, and was definitely far from greasy. It came with some shredded lettuce, katsu sauce, and salad dressing.

Sukiyaki. This dish was heaven, but be prepared to shell out 40 bucks for extra soup – Which is inevitable since when it got to our table, the meat/tofu/veggies/noodles had already absorbed half of the broth. Sigh.

It’s so nice to see that the place hasn’t changed so much since I first stepped into this restaurant years ago. The food is still just as tasty, too. I know that several John and Yoko branches have opened up across the metro as years went on, and I think this is just proof that this restaurant will be here to stay for a longer while.

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

John and Yoko is located at 2/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St Legazpi Village, Makati. Tel no: (02) 729-8698. You can also find them at BGC, Alabang Town Center, and UP Town Center. Links: Facebook.