Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Blackboard by Chef Michel (4th anniversary post!!)

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For this year’s anniversary post, I went back to The Podium to have lunch at this restaurant called The Blackboard. This restaurant is owned by Chef Michel and his wife, who were inspired to open up this restaurant after living in Kuala Lumpur for several years. What makes The Blackboard different from the other restaurants out there is the fact that all of the dishes on the menu are not permanent – So you can enjoy a sumptuous Chinese meal today, then eat Spanish paella a week later. The only thing that’s consistent here is the quality of the food.

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Interior. Extra points for their awesome music playlist.

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A closer look at the Mexican-themed menu, written on a huge blackboard (hence the resto’s name).

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Fish and Chips Basket, served with tartar and aioli sauce. The skin had a slight peppery taste to it, while the fillet was nice and very flaky. A good dish overall, not to mention slightly addictive.

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Ham and Cheese Croquetas. Crunchy on the outside, and slightly mushy on the inside. I have yet to find a croquette dish that I didn’t like! Also comes with a delicious aioli dipping sauce.

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Beef Tacos. This wasn’t too bad… It tasted/looked quite similar to Pancake House’s famous tacos, but with a soft tortilla.

I was actually quite surprised when we received our bill for this meal – We ended up paying less than 1,000 bucks! I was expecting to shell out at least 2,500 or something for this entire meal. Maybe the price does depend on what’s written on the blackboard at the moment. I think it’s pretty cool that they switch up their menu once in a while in order to cater to both diners who want to eat something affordable or expensive. Anyway, if they end up creating another menu that’s s easy on the wallet, then I won’t hesitate to step inside this restaurant again.

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

The Blackboard by Chef Michel is located at 5/F The Podium, 18 ADB Ave Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Links: Facebook || Twitter


Casa Verde

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When I first laid eyes on Casa Verde, I was naturally drawn in to the long lines and wondered what’s so special about their food. My cousin and her hubby got to try out their dishes way before I did, and she said that the food there was highly affordable – And truth be told, this just increased my interest even more. We have made plenty of attempts trying to get inside this Cebu-based resto, and this time, we were successful (And it was a couple of hours before dinner time started, so… No long lines!)

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I tried their Simply Bliss cooler – A delightful, refreshing mixture of coconut milk, orange juice, and pineapple juice.

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Golden Chicken Fingers – Double breaded chicken tenderloins, fried till golden. Served with honey mustard dressing, mashed potatoes, and vegetable medley. The meat could use a little salt, and this dish had me feeling queasy by the time I got to the fourth strip. But oh well, at least the honey mustard sauce was good and the breading was nice and crunchy.

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Fried Cheese – Breaded cheese sticks served with a side of marinara.

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Victoria’s Secret Spaghetti – Homemade meat sauce topped with oozing cheese.

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Brian’s Ribs – The resto’s best seller. Baked pork ribs with a sweet and tangy piquet sauce, served with rice, corn, and carrots. Well, the piquet sauce was good… But the meat was a bit cold, and had this leathery, stringy texture? It was weird.

(Really sorry about the blurry shots!)

I think I finally understand now why this restaurant has never failed to attract crowds all the time – You basically get heaping plates of food for a very, very cheap price. No wonder students love coming here. Unfortunately though, their food is just mediocre for me. IDK, maybe we just ordered the wrong dish. I’m still glad we got to try out the food here, though.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Casa Verde is located at UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Links: Official Website || Facebook || IG: @casaverdeph

REDUX: Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken

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Yes, I know, I know… Some of you guys are probably thinking, ‘Didn’t you already do this before?’ Well, you’re absolutely right – Peri-Peri Chicken was actually one of the first few restaurants that I reviewed when this blog was still in its early stages, and during that time, it was still known as a place that served set meals and tiny pieces of fish fingers. But a couple of years after that, they seemed to have changed their image; Aside from the usual chicken (Which they now serve with a whole assortment of sauces), Peri-Peri has started offering alcoholic beverages, like cocktails and their signature ‘beergaritas’.

Peri-Peri has been around since 2006. According to them, their chicken is marinated in a blend of spices hailing all the way from Africa, then grilled to perfection.

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Menu: Salads, Sandwich (Arros y frango, Choripan, Grande chicken burger), Appetizers (Jalapeno fries, Patatas bravas, Peri-peri chori nachos, Peri-peri wild wings), Main plates (Numero uno fried chicken, Fernandos), After dinner, Peri grupo, Healthy meals, Chicken platters, Pasta (Shrimp aglio olio), Sides, Big plates (Grilled peri-peri tagine, Plato porco), Pizza (Ala peri-peri), Desserts (Torta gorilla)

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Two types of soups: Pumpkin Soup, and Chicken Soup. Much like the old incarnation of Peri-Peri, you can get as many bowls of soup as you like.

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Pasta Tartufo – Perfectly-cooked pasta in a truffle infused cream sauce. This may look like a pretty dish, but it definitely needs a bit of salt. Truffle pastas are almost always a miss for me… Sheesh!

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Lastly, the star of the show: The Rio platter, which consists of one whole peri-peri chicken, and four sides (We picked Tortillas, Java Rice, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn and Carrots). I’ve tried loads of peri-peri chicken dishes before, but this one just blows the competition out of the water. The meat was so juicy, and the skin didn’t taste too burnt and wasn’t dry either. Ah, I loved it. This platter came with three spicy/tangy dipping sauces, and all of them do compliment the chicken meat very nicely.

Looks like Peri-Peri’s new image served as a huge advantage for them since they have opened up several more branches after the revamp. It definitely drew in lots of satisfied customers – Including myself. I already liked their previous look, and this new image of theirs just increased my love for them.

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

Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken is located at Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave Kapitolyo, Pasig. Links: Facebook || Twitter || IG: @pericharcoalph.

Simply Thai

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A few years ago, way before I even thought about creating this blog, there was a restaurant in Serendra called Thai at Silk, which served delicious Thai cuisine that was pleasing to the Filipino palate at the same time. Unfortunately though, due to several reasons, the restaurant had to close its doors after six years of operation. But the restaurant has now made a comeback under a new name: Simply Thai! Simply Thai isn’t a pure carbon copy of its predecessor, though – While Thai at Silk served traditional Thai dishes, Simply Thai gives them a modern flair.

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Menu: Soups (Tom yum kung), Appetizers (Golden tofu, sriracha hot wings, Phuket kung sarong), Salads (USDA angus beef salad, yam som oh, Krabi salad, nam prik catfish salad), Thai curries (Thai green chicken curry, lamb shank massaman curry, Yawarat duck curry) Stir-fries and more (Thai beef rendang, north Thai steak, cinnamon pork ribs, char grilled prawns, soft-shelled crab with black pepper sauce, banana fish, steamed whole seabass in lime garlic sauce, deep-fried pomfret fish in sweet tamarind sauce), Stir-fried vegetables, Rice and noodles (Pineapple rice, khao pad gai, khao pad moo), Khuang waan: The sweet stuff (Khao niao mamuang, takhoo sakhoo, banana fritters with coconut ice cream).

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Tod Man Kung – Thai prawn cakes with sweet chili sauce. The prawns that they used were finely minced, and almost had a paste-like texture to it. I also like that it was served piping hot and fresh from the pan. Very crispy too.

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Phad Thai – Thai-style fried flat noodles with tofu, pork, and bean sprouts wrapped in an eggnet. The noodles that they used are a bit thinner than the typical pad thai dish. And I love the presentation!

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Thai Chicken Satay – Chicken skewers with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. The chicken chunks were huge, but tasted kinda bland.

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Cha Plu Penang Beef Curry – USDA beef tenderloin, eggplants, and betel leaves in red curry sauce. I’m a huge fan of curry and beef, and unfortunately, this dish just fell flat. The curry lacked spice/flavor, and the beef wasn’t as tender as I expected it to be.

Simply Thai’s food was just alright for me… Not too tasty, but it wasn’t that bad either. But it was still more than enough to fill up that Thai at Silk-shaped hole in my food blogger heart. And I guess that’s what really counts for me. Hehe.

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

Simply Thai is located at G/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St Legazpi Village, Makati. Tel no: (02) 729-0860. Links: Facebook.

Yo! Panda

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Yo, yo, yo! Come and check out this restaurant in SM Megamall!!! Yo! Panda is the project of three siblings, who came up with the idea of opening a restaurant after their frequent trips to Hong Kong. The restaurant is known for their HK-style egg waffles, which sport a rather different look from the Belgian waffles that everyone is used to seeing.  You can easily tell if their waffles are ready to be served once you start noticing a delicious smell coming from the kitchen. Aside from the egg waffles, they also specialize in delicious Cantonese dishes and snacks.

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Crispy Pork Chop with Cheese Sauce and Noodles – Crispy fried pork chop, sunny side up organic egg, noodles, and cheese sauce. Slightly side-eyeing them for using instant noodles instead of hand-pulled ones, but other than that, it was… Okay? The pork chop was tender and crispy, but it could use a little more salt. Cheese sauce was a bit overwhelming, too.

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Cantonese Style Beef Brisket – Tendon, braised raddish, soft soy, organic egg, and steamed rice. Much like the pork chop, the beef was tender and practically melted in my mouth. Also liked the sweet aftertaste of the beef.

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Super Xiao Long Bao – Gigantic Xiao Long Bao with soupy fillings, served with a straw. Just look at the size of this thing! Filled with piping hot, soupy goodness and a tasty meat filling. And yes, you actually have to use a straw to drink all of that soup.

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For our dessert, we tried the resto’s specialty: Egg waffles! Here’s my Cookies and Cream waffle with Italian gelato soft serve, oreo cookies, chocolate fudge sauce, and whipped cream. Quite heavy for a dessert, I have to say. The egg waffle smelled so good, and was crispy on the outside.

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Mom had the Mango Cheesecake waffle, which also came with Italian gelato, cheesecake cubes, and fresh mango cubes.

My stomach was practically bursting at the seams by the time we left the resto. We ended up paying in cash because the resto’s cash register wasn’t working, which was a bummer. But if I were to describe our dining experience here, then it was…. Just alright. I’m actually willing to give this restaurant another try, since the food is affordable, and some of the other items on their menu have captured my interest.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 4/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste), 4.5/5 (presentation)

Yo! Panda is located at 4F, SM Megamall Building A, Ortigas Pasig City. Tel no: 02 2469069. Links: Facebook || IG: @yopandamanila.

Costa Coffee

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Another British food franchise has landed on our shores! Costa Coffee’s first PH branch opened up in Eastwood July last year, with another branch in BGC opening last October. Costa Coffee is the largest coffee shop chain in the UK, and the second largest coffee chain in the world, only behind Starbucks.  So I guess you can get the idea that a lot of folks enjoy their freshly-brewed coffee and pastries. And hey, if Harry Styles is a frequent customer, then that definitely says something about their food. Right?

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Very pretty interior.

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Menu shot.

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Cake/Sandwich rack, because why not.

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Our orders are summed up in two plates – And here’s the first one. Our drink of choice was the White Chocolate… And although Costa’s version wasn’t too bad, Starbucks’ own white chocolate is still the superior version. Next up is the Mango Sago Mousse Cake. The cake has this unique, creamy consistency, almost like a sponge. Lastly, we have the rather crispy Salted Caramel Chip cookie.

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Second plate: From the upper right corner you have dad’s Americano coffee, then on the left, a Banana Caramel Muffin, which I didn’t get to try that much… Then another White Chocolate drink, and finally, the Bacon & Egg with Maple Syrup Toastie. Who knew that a simple bacon and egg sandwich could taste so good! I love that the bread was perfectly crisp on the outside, without it being burnt… And soft on the inside. I could barely taste the syrup though, but that’s fine.

I have visited/reviewed lots of coffee shops over the years, but I have to say that Costa Coffee is now one of my favorites. And the fact that it’s located near my house just makes it even better. I really hope they can branch out more in the future.

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

Costa Coffee is located at Eastwood City Walk 1, Orchard Rd Bagumbayan, Quezon City. Links: Official UK Website || Official Twitter || PH Facebook || IG: @costacoffeeph