food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Quick thoughts: Cafe Seoulhwa’s bingsu

I am not a girl that goes to BGC (Bonifacio Global City) often. It is, in today’s traffic, three hours away from where I work/live. This was confirmed when I tagged along my sister and her friends’ monthly dinner thing a couple of weeks ago. We had checked beforehand how long it would take as we didn’t exactly know where the place was (it was the suggestion of their friend that lived in Taguig).

We went to Cafe Seoulhwa for their bingsu, according to Google, a shaved ice dessert with toppings. For 90s kids who grew up in the Philippines, Ice Monster type things.

We ordered two bingsus, the Mango Cheese (P240 for the small) and the Strawberry (also a small at P240)

Strawberry and mango bingsus
Strawberry and mango bingsus

 

They were great. Really creamy, and the ice wasn’t just ice, it tasted creamy. The fruit was fresh and the whipped cream/ice cream, not too sweet. It was soothing, delicious and not too sweet. The servings were large, that by the time we were halfway through, my sister and I were looking at each other, eyeing one another at who could finish the strawberry bingsu we were sharing. (I did, btw)

It’s definitely a return item. Now if they can only open one in the north.

You can find Cafe Seoulhwa at BGC:

2/F Forum BGC South Global
7th Ave. cor. Federacion Drive
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines
Their Facebook account is here.

Bring around P550 for two people for separate desserts, or share a small one after a meal and try their toasts or coffee.

 

food · Restaurant reviews

Bread and Bakers Munoz, Puerto Princesa’s Chaolong (almost) in Quezon City

20150517_114236

It is no secret that I am a fan of Puerto Princesa (as evidenced by the post here) and the food. Fresh, cheap and uncomplicated, it’s easy there. Everything is mostly a tricycle ride away. I could go on and on about what I love about the place, but that is not the point of this post, but the chaolong.

I discovered chaolong on my 3rd(?) visit to Puerto Princesa. I had gone to other Vietnamese joints previously (Saigon) and raved about it, but on the third, we went to local favorite Bona’s, who serve the most local version of the beef noodle soup. It is not fancy. It’s mostly a bowl of tasty broth, a few chunks of beef and noodles. The ambiance is your typical Filipino down home joint, al fresco dining, utensils in hot water for cleanliness, monoblock chairs strewn across the way. It was awesome. They also had a Yakult slush shake that was perfect to cool off after the hot broth and thick french bread. It is one of the reasons I miss Puerto Princesa, and rightly so.

When we read that there was a chaolong place in Quezon City, we had to go. People’s reviews online were raving about it, and even in this crazy summer heat, we itched to try a bowl. So off we went one lunch after errands last week, in the blazing heat. We almost missed it, even if it was along Roosevelt. If you’ve been along that road, you know that there are a lot of establishments along the road and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Thank goodness for the large sign proclaiming “Chaolong”.

It was humble too, al fresco, empty, had a few pieces of baked goods in the display. We ordered bowls of chaolong and plain french bread to dip in. It took a while to serve, we assume that it’s because they make it to serve because of the aforementioned quiet space. So if you go, prepare to wait around 10-15 minutes to get your bowl.

 

It was not spectacular, it was mostly, okay. The bread was the savior of the meal, being the right amount of crusty without being dry. The chaolong was a little off, but good enough to satisfy cravings until you head back to Puerto Princesa for the original. A bowl will set you back P65 and bread will be P15 per roll. Good for lunch, especially when it starts to rain. They are open 7 to 10 Monday to Saturday and 8 to 7 on Sundays.

How to get there: Drive along Roosevelt Munoz until you see the Metro Gas Station with the 7-11. It is right across from there.

And now to petition them to make Yakult slush.

food · Restaurant reviews

Your Local: Unexpectedly familiar

The website for Your Local says “A new take on familiar flavors.” I would like to agree. While a couple weeks ago was my first visit to the joint, the place felt recognizable, while being fresh.

I had heard of Your Local before, you can’t help but, if you read food blogs and local websites like I do. And my confession of the day is, while I am a voracious eater, trooping to Makati isn’t really my cup of tea. I take great reviews of restaurants down south, and file them away for other times, when I know I’m meeting friends from the south, or for when I can drag people from our cozy nooks in the north to travel the two hours both ways to get to eating places in Makati or the Fort.

But I digress.

I headed to Your Local a couple weeks ago with a friend who was visiting from Singapore. She made the reservation and we headed to Makati to try the joint. It was packed when we got there before our 7 pm. People were waiting outside for tables, and there was no parking to be had (which, since we walked from Greenbelt, wasn’t a problem for us, but may be an issue with 90% of the customers).

I had the day’s special, a truffle cream pasta (P550?)

Truffle cream pasta

With a glass of Moscato (P250). The server, who was very nice, suggested appetizers but since we came from a sashimi snack at Tokyu, we refused. I knew truffle cream pasta could be very rich so I hesitated ordering more.

Several minutes later, the server sets down two glasses, on the house, as my friend knows one of the owners of the place.

I got Tinker, a drink made from vodka, earl grey tea, lemon and rosemary. My friend got Social Dysfunction, a drink of many liquors, starting with Bacardi 151. Suffice to say, I was very happy with my drink, and would consider coming back to Makati just for another glass. My friend was very carefully sipping hers, having had a shot of it before, and having ordered the Lamb Rendang, coating her stomach with food so she could get home without causing herself injury.

Verdict: Fun food, really good drinks. Need reservations. Expect a sprinkle of Singaporean favorites with steak and potato options. Don’t go for a first date. The place is lit very romantically but the tile on the walls bounces back audio, thus making conversation kind of a strain. Works for a third date though, since you have to lean in next to your date to speak. Tip: The joint’s walls open to Yardstick Coffee so you can extend the date to an after dinner coffee or their Carmen’s Best ice cream topped desserts. Bring at least P900 a head for food and drinks, more if you want to get that coffee.

Find your way to Your Local here:

Contact Details
ADDRESS Universal LMS Bldg. 106 Esteban St. Cor V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Brgy. San Lorenzo, Makati
EMAIL hello@yourlocal.ph
TELEPHONE +632 8236206
MOBILE +63917 6543355

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Duck and Buvette: Comfortingly good.

When a former colleague asked to take us to dinner for a celebration of a year well done, I had to look for a place in the Shangrila area. It couldn’t be too weird, as our colleague is notorious for being picky, and it couldn’t be too far because we only had a limited amount of time. I had settled with Duck and Buvette because the reviews were good, and not being very familiar with French food or any version of it, it was something we had to try.

For something we all weren’t familiar with, the style of cooking at Duck and Buvette (or at least the dishes we tried), felt comforting and recognizable. Beef with potatoes, veal with corn, fish dishes. Bacon(!).

My friend, being a big fan of all things bacon, ordered the Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon (P175) to start, and this is what we got:

Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon

They were good, I just needed them a tad crispier, as I am of the thinking that bacon should always be crispy.

The table favorite was the 8 hour Angus Briskets (P370), creamy, melt in your mouth beef with garlic mashed potatoes that i wanted to steal from the two people (out of four of us there) who ordered it.

 

8 Hour Angus Briskets

I had the Veal Shank and Smacked Corn (P550)

Veal Shank and Smacked Corn

For me, a really manly type dish that was full of beefy flavor, made a little delicate with the corn.

Verdict: We shall return. Especially for the mashed potatoes.

Prepare to spend: Around P600-P700 per person for food and drinks

Duck and Buvette

02 6310675
+63 9179324843

Level 2, Main Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

 

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Patio Vera: Gorgeous area, menu hit and miss

Patio Vera’s Beef Steak and Paella Valenciana

I can’t take credit for finding Patio Vera, as it was the significant other that found it and made reservations the first time we went there. I was awed. The place was gorgeous. It’s set in an outdoor patio, with an all white room that’s airconditioned for those who want their dinner a bit brighter. Filled with vintage knick knacks, I was openmouthed the whole time I was waiting for our food to arrive, and how do you not, with this all around you:

Flowery pretty

The menu is fairly simple, nice Filipino favorites with a sprinkling of other cuisine. It is divided in simple categories of soup, salad, and main ingredients (Pork, Beef, Veggies, etc.). Our first visit, I had the Fabada (P115) soup, which according to their menu was white beans, pork knuckles and chorizo. It was great. Soothing, smooth, and really quite heavy for a single serving. This made me too full to finish my Salpicao Aglio Olio (P325), which the boyfriend finished. To be honest, it was a little too oily for me, too much richness on one plate, and after a rich soup, I couldn’t manage more than half the serving.

Boyfriend had the Halaan in Ginger Wansuy Soup (P99), which had a nice kick and a surprisingly good touch of wansuy, and the Spare Ribs (P325). He left half the ribs on the plate, as they were half slabs of fat, which is nice for a lot of people, but for him, too much as well.

This was not the last time we would go, in fact we went a month ago with his family. A bigger group, we were seated in the middle of the patio, and ordered significantly more dishes. Here is what we ordered:

Crispy Pata (P595) which was huge, enough for 3-4 people on its own. One caveat was the soy sauce that usually accompanies the dish had a sweet taste, which is not really for me.

Classic Kare Kare (P395) large serving too, 3-4 people as well. Vegetables were fresh, there were both oxtail and tripe, which works for me as I’m partial to tripe. Sauce was a bit sweet, but goes nicely with the bagoong.

Beef Steak (P345) good for 2-3 people. Nothing special, but good for those wanting traditional beef steak.

Everyone also had a Fabada which went over well with all.

Verdict: Go for the ambience, try the menu as it can be hit or miss. I am definitely a bigger fan of Patio Vera’s space, their menu I’m still going back and forth on.

Prepare to spend: Around P400-P500 a head with drinks.

Where is it:

70 General F. Santos Street, Calumpang, Marikina City

Please reserve a table before going as they can fill up (02 2390615), and be prepared to be a little patient on parking as there isn’t really space to park, it’s just on the street.

 

 

 

food · Restaurant reviews

Let me sin again: Ramen Nagi’s Butao King

Ramen Nagi Butao King

Ramen Nagi is a lot of people’s favorite from the ramen joints out there. It’s one of the more interactive ones, where you pick the richness of the broth, the garlic strength, noodle firmness, and individually pick add ons from the menu. I’ve heard about the place a long time, and I only had the time to go there last week, with a friend I haven’t hung out with in forever.

I picked the most basic broth, the Original King (P390, with P50 for add ons like egg or mushrooms), as I have heard that the spicy Red King was a burn on the mouth. While I like a bit of spice, I was not in the mood for a bowl of pain, as I was still nursing a cold, cough and a slight fever that day. The pesto green butao was interesting, but as I learned from my experience with the Double Cheese Tsukemen at Mitsuyado Sei-Men, and another time at Nomama and their green curry ramen, I really am more a traditional ramen girl.

The innocuous looking photo lies about the richness of this bowl. The umami of the fat really sings through the broth with every bite, and as I discovered, chopped up bits of fat were in it as well. Now I know why people love this, we Filipinos have an affinity with fat in our broth, and if you don’t agree, I suggest you check out any pork sinigang broth and the fat chunks in that.

I had the pork belly, but I think I’m better off with the cheek next time as I left most of the belly in my bowl as I am not a fan of soft fat in broth, while my sister really couldn’t get through much of her meal. She found it too much, and left more than half the bowl untouched. Our friend, who had the green butao, found it good, but not amazing, she just thought it would be greener than what she had, there were tinges of green in her bowl rather than the overall green in the photos advertised. Also untraditional, so if you love pesto and want a fresh twist on your ramen, try the Green King.

Would I go back? Definitely. I would need a pot of hot tea to melt all that fat down the system though.

Ramen Nagi is in SM North Edsa’s Main Floor next to Jollibee near the grocery, and if you need to call them, 3740503 is the number to use.

 

 

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Mitsuyado Sei-Men’s Double Cheese Ramen: Yay for cheese (but not for traditionalists)

When my sister and I found ourselves in Makati last month, we knew we had to try the cheese tsukemen (a variety of ramen in which the noodles arrive separately, cold or at room temperature, along a bowl of intense broth into which the noodles are meant to be dipped) in a place famous for it in Jupiter street.

So we headed to Mitsuyado Sei-Men for this:
Double Cheese Ramen

The double cheese tsukemen (Large, P380), which comes sprinkled with parmesan cheese that you pour cheese sauce over before you dip it in broth. Being as it was already 3 pm and we weren’t really hungry at that point, we decided to split and have a side order of edamame (P150) (because my sister always has to have edamame when they have it on the menu)
Edamame

It was to say, interesting. Definitely not for the purists, as I remember telling a colleague about it, and them saying “So basically it’s mac and cheese ramen” and hearing a click in my head as it came together. Cheesy noodles that you dip in rich, meaty broth, yes. Intense flavors and rich, smooth experience, yes again.

Anyone who wants a different ramen experience should definitely go to this, but for those who want a comforting bowl to slurp on that’s easy, maybe not. It took me a while to understand it, and now, while writing about it while the rain is pouring outside, my mouth is starting to water. Not for the faint of heart, and those who are trying to lose any poundage.

Verdict: Must try. Go with an open mind, and around P700 a head if you want your own bowl and side orders.

You can find Mitsuyado Sei-Men here:

No. 22 Jupiter Street, Brgy. Bel Air, Makati City, Philippines.
Operating Hours: 11.00am to 12.00am Monday to Sunday
Telephone: +632 511-1390

 

 

food · Restaurant reviews

Comfort food without the regret at Kettle, Edsa Shangri-la Mall

I have to admit, I was skeptical about Kettle. When I read about the joint, I kept reading about their fried chicken, and was like, “really, fried chicken? I could get a bucket of Chickenjoy for one order at that place.” However, when a few friends and I went there to have a light lunch, I was fortunately proved wrong.

Here is their famous buttermilk chicken (P519):
Kettle fried chicken

 

The serving is good for 2-3 people, and served with gravy, honey, and corn bread. It was great. The skin crispy, the meat juicy, the serving large, and the gravy + honey combo made weird sense. We were four people sharing this and a couple things more, and I think I ate more than my supposed share. (I apologize to the people at lunch.) I can definitely see myself hungry enough to eat a serving all to myself.

We had the chicken with extra sides of coleslaw (P59) and roasted garlic mashed potato (P89). The mashed potato is my return item of the two, and I can’t imagine eating the chicken without it. It was subtle and comforting and I kept dousing it with honey. Not my finest hour, but hey, for the love of carbs.

Kettle coleslaw and garlic mashed potatoes
We had the corned beef hash (P519) as my friend who had been to the place before had recommended it.
Kettle corned beef

 

It was not your everyday corned beef, with chunks of beef and hunks of potatoes, but going back, I would rather get two orders of chicken, I do like my crispy skin and mashed potatoes.

The thing I liked about Kettle, even if they weren’t touting diet, healthy food, it wasn’t heavy. It may just be because we were sharing, but I didn’t feel like oil was clogging my veins and it was hard to work, thus the no regret part.

Verdict: Prepare around P700 a head if you want your own dish and a drink, but if you’re not starving, P500 is good. Nothing is avant garde, which i think is the point. So if you want unfussy food that people of all ages would like, head to Kettle.

You can find them at:

Level 5 East Wing, Shangrila Plaza Mall,
EDSA corner Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City
Telephone: +632 654-7077
Operating Hours: Everyday 11:00 AM – 09:00 PM

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza: Thank you carabaos

I’ve read, and heard about Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza for a while. It’s been in Katipunan for a quite some time, and friends of friends have recommended it for a good dinner, and I see it at least twice a week and always think to myself “I really have to get to this joint.” My family has attempted to go once, but due to weird circumstances, we had to leave, and quickly.

So when my friend K asked to eat at UP Town Center, I steered her towards Gino’s, which is several hundred meters away. I am glad I did.

I really went there for this:

Burrata caprese

The Burrata Caprese (P355) it was a ball of fresh buffalo milk mozzarella sitting on pesto, surrounded by cherry tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and strips of fresh basil. Cheese and tomatoes. We were three sharing this, which is enough, but if you’re anything like me, you could have had this to yourself. K actually saved some to top her already cheesy pizza slice with. A girl after my own heart.

We had two pizzas, the first was the Sausage pizza, since we had a meat pizza lover with us:
20140830_130546

According to the menu, it was homemade sausage, kesong puti, red onion and basil. The sausage was ultra rich, and I bit into parts that were just fat, so it was kind of jarring sometimes. I am not really a meat pizza person, but I could see that the boyfriend liked it, drizzling generously with both the hot sauce and the chili honey (yes, honey with sili, it weirdly worked).

I loved their Mushroom pizza (P350):
20140830_130240

 

Which had cream, mozzarella, mushrooms, garlic and blue cheese. The mushrooms were the star of the show, with a kick of blue cheese perfectly toned down with the mozzarella. The garlic was a great supporting actor that added enough flavor to not make this simple pizza boring. I think i ate half that pie.

These 12 inch pies fed three hungry people well. We ordered an iced tea pitcher as well (P170), and we were too full to look at the donuts at the display. Since Gino’s shares the space with Cello’s there is an option to other from one or the other. The crack pie wasn’t on the menu so I forgot to ask about it. Did they discontinue the pie? I’ve been curious about it too.

Verdict: New favorite pizza joint. Set aside around P300 per person. Definitely get the burrata caprese! I loved that they used kesong puti in a lot of their offerings, and from the menu, i found out that they use milk from the Philippine Carabao Institute, so thank you carabaos for the yummy, yummy cheese.

Gino’s in QC is here:

2F 341 Katipunan Ave. Loyola Heights QC (above mercury drug)
1108 Quezon City, Philippines

Mon – Thu: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm

Phone 225 7462
Email ginosbrickovenpizza@gmail.com
Now who wants to go back with me?

food · Restaurant reviews

Silantro: Fil-Mex cheesy goodness

One of our friends had a birthday last month and asked for a recommendation for where to go. My sister had heard good things about Silantro from another friend, and off we went. The premise was nonpricey Mexican with a Filipino twist, and unlimited mojitos so we figured that would be hard to get wrong, and heck, they did things right.

It was a Friday and the place was packed. It only had about 12 tables and there were double the amount of patrons, half of which were waiting for others to finish. We were hungry, so we ordered a plate of Nachos (P145) to eat while waiting for a table to free up.

Here is what we were served:
Silantro nachos

 

Isn’t it pretty? We said it was like the best kind of parol (for the non-Filipinos, a Christmas decoration like this), since it was colorful, and we could eat it. And eat we did. We finished that sucker off in five minutes we were so hungry. It was so worth every penny, we ordered two more. It was a group of 8 people, and we each had our own things to eat, but it was so good we had to have some more.

We got a table around 30 minutes later and got the Calliente wings (P170):
Silantro wings

Which was their take on buffalo wings from what we gathered. I liked the green stuff but was unsure what it is. The sweet, spicy, barbecue like sauce good for those who have little tolerance for hot things, served with a couple of sauces (I only know them as white and orange)with a bowl of orange sauce that was fiery and woke up the senses. Add a touch if you want a little spice, but more than a drop is punishment for those who don’t regularly eat spicy food.

My favorite of the bunch was the Silantro’s quesadilla (P160)

Silantro quesadilla

 

Basically a cheese plate, it was fries, cheese, bread, and other blobs of things that I couldn’t stop eating. We also had the beef version, but I liked the Silantro’s better.

What we had that wasn’t pictured:

1. The Silantro’s Burrito (P180): I wasn’t a fan. The rice had a frozen, then nuked texture to it. The meat didn’t chew well either. Burritos for me are 50-50, either you do them well or you don’t, and for me, they did not do the rice wrap justice.

2. Unlimited mojitos (P250): We loved it. It wasn’t the most faithful rendition of mojitos, but it was sweet, citrusy, sometimes strong, and the bartender was easy to talk to about adjusting the sweet or the strong depending on the three people that were drinking it. My sister had the most lethal mix, one friend had the sweeter, the last, more juice than anything. They each had at least three glasses each.

Verdict: Definitely Mexican for Filipinos, everything had a slightly sweet tinge, and gobs of cheese on every dish. Not faithful to the original recipes, but caters to the Filipino palate, and is on a cool, casual setting that is affordable for both yuppies and college students on a good day.

Tips: Go early. Place fills up and you don’t want to be waiting forty minutes for a seat. Have the unlimited mojitos if you like girl drinks, the beer buckets for a nice, chill time with friends with fun food.

Price per head: P200-300 with drinks and definitely full bellies.

Silantro’s details:

Hours: Mon - Sun: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

75 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
1603 Pasig (just go straight on Kapitolyo. It’s past Rub ribs, and next to the Christian church)
Phone (02) 654 9657
Email silantropasig@yahoo.com