My Reviews

Mr. Cochinillo

5.0 Stars
Filipino
8

Christmas is just around the corner and as early as September, some people have started planning out their calendars for this holiday seasons. Companies already booked venues for banquets and feastings, some bought gift cards and exchange gifts while restaurants are busy preparing their Christmas sets and menus. As we would all agree that food is the most essential part of all the happenings and what makes it special even more is the presence of each family members connecting together to celebrate this glorious event.
 
Talking bout feastings, Lechon has already been a staple for most weddings, debuts, birthdays and all sorts of gatherings but not all the time we get the chance to try a well perfectly roasted Lechon. Either they were not cooked in the right manner nor were they perfectly seasoned to create a bursting savory flavor. I've got a very good news though for you who are reading this. I have found one of the best Lechons I've tried ever and it is called Cochinillo.
 
A cochinillo is a suckling pig fed on it's mother's milk then slaughtered between the ages of two to six weeks. It is traditionally cooked whole, often roasted and varies on different cuisines in terms of preparation. We were welcomed by Sir Tinee De Guzman, Mr. Cochinillo himself, in his beautiful home to get a total experience of the perfect cochinillo along with complementing dishes such as Fabada, Rabo De Toro and Seafood Fideua. The Spanish tradition of slow roasting over wood fire in brick oven has been a long standing preparation of cooking since the 18th century and this technique has been perfected by years of culinary testing and continuous practice.
 
Selecting the piglets is the first step in the meticulous preparation process. Mr. Cochinillo only works with trusted local farmers and ensures that each piglet is carefully selected – from the complexion, to the conformation and build, to the size. The secret of a truly delectable cochinillo lies in the preparation. Each carefully selected piglet is thoroughly cleaned and trimmed before being marinated in a special mix of olive oil, herbs, and spices. It is then slow-roasted in a custom-made brick oven for hours, where it is cooked in its natural juices and acquires a smokiness only possible from roasting over wood and coal resulting to Crisp, succulent, with moist and tasty meat that easily falls off the bone. Cochinillo meat is distinct for its buttery texture and its light, crisp, golden-brown skin. It can be easily sliced with a porcelain plate, demonstrating a tenderness and delicateness not attainable in your typical lechon
 
How to order? Visit their website http://www.mrcochinillo.com/order-now/#steps-to-order and follow the 3 easy steps. Take note that they will be adding a 10% surcharge for orders On Dec 22,23,24,25,26,30,31 & Jan 1. Call / text any of the following numbers: +63 2 6330043, +63 2 9524102 and +63 917 545 4888.

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Leann's Tea House

4.0 Stars
Korean
10

A hidden gem tucked at the heart of Tomas Morato - perhaps I was not searching thoroughly and got lost for a bit looking for this place but it was indeed one precious find somehow.

Place/ Ambience: They are a three storey bldg with more seats upstairs. The place is cozy and well ventillated and it looked like a typical korean bbq place.

Food: With only a budget of 349php per head, you can enjoy unlimited samgyeopsal (pork) and side dishes. Upgrade it to 449php, then you can also get to try unlimited woosamgyeop (beef). There were only a few sides you can choose from but they are always the best choice of banchan like the homemade kimchi which is mildly spiced, sweetened peanuts, lettuce for wrapping, potato and veggie salad and beansprouts. The dipping sauces like samjang and sesame oil were also perfect when you wrap your grilled meat and potato in a lettuce. The only thing they don't do is add flavor to their meats. All are freshly cut and served without marinate so it is how you mix and match and balance everything. Traditionally, the banchan and the sauces are the ones that enhances the flavor so it is totally a nice experience.

Aside from the unlimited offers, we tried some of the ala carte options that one must definitely try. First we got the pajeon seafood pancake. It was a huge serving for only 300php - you can share it with 4 or 5 people. It was flavorful and filling. Seafood pancake is like a staple food that should always be on your table.

We also tried the bibimbap for only 210php. It was beautifully plated and filled with much vegetables and meats topped on rice. The egg must be mixed right away and must be eaten while it's hot. Put some kimchi and samjang and it is good to go.

Cheese buldak is another dish that you shouldn't miss. It is packed with lots of cheese, veggies and chicken meat. If you wanted to have a different texture on your feast, this would be a great option for only 320php. Make sure you eat this right away to get a better cheesy experience as it gets too cold quickly.

Kimchi Fried Rice priced at 180php is another ala carte dish that suits my palate. The regular serving is generous and it is topped with sunny side up egg lying on a bed of cheese. Instead of just plain rice, this kimchi fried makes it more interesting. You need to mix the egg, the kimchi rice and the cheese altogether and there you'll enjoy it better along with your grilled meats.

Last on the ala carte menu is the LA galbi or beef short ribs. It arrived a bit on the later part of our lunch but then it still something worth trying. The only let down was the tenderness as I was expecting a fall of the bone meat nevertheless, it was tasty and somehow I liked it because it general, it was the only meat that is marinated

They also have plenty of refreshments. For me, I tried their red ginseng tea. It was invigorating and sweet and it makes you eat more. Lol.

Overall, for the experience, food and price point, Leann's Teahouse is one for the books. Even before I started being a foodie, they are awarded one of the best korean restos in the metro so they are definitely recommended. The staff were accommodating, friendly and all smiles. Kudos!

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Ilustrado

5.0 Stars
Filipino
10

When visiting the walled city of Intramuros, the feelings of nostalgia comes alive and I remember as a kid loitering around Manila High School where my mom teaches Biology class and oh, it was such a long long time ago since my last visit after I started working professionally. Nostalgia rose to ecstatic when we came back a week ago to try one of the famous restaurants in Manila, Ilustrado. It was established 3 decades ago, well 29 years to be exact and their hispanic inspired space consists of Spanish courtyard, a casual cafe decked with art and art posters and a neo-classic main dining room that has several international heads of state. Who would have known a precious gem is located within this historical place?

To mark its 29th year anniversary, Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila is offering an 8-course Degustation menu for the whole month of October and it was created by Chef de Patron Bernice Pimentel. The Degustation menu utilizes local cuisine and ingredients in an up-to-date fashion. As per Chef Bernice, “This year, 2019 marks the third year that we have been doing an anniversary degustation and this year, I am not only bringing forth our culinary heritage to the present but also incorporating much more local ingredients."

The food tasting starts with Kangkong Pesto Brioche served with Boursin Cheese. Surprisingly, I have never thought Kangkong can be infused in making a brioche but I also thought if they can make a bread out of Malunggay, why not? The texture of the boursin cheese is soft and creamy and when you spread it to the freshly made brioche is delightful.

Kesong Puti Croquettes at Lato (with baby mesclun and salsa verde aioli) was the second dish. I love the small crunch and creamy texture when you bite the croquette then mix it with the salad on salsa verde, the entire dish is refreshing. 

Next is a unique dish of Oyster Laing Rockefeller with Aklan oysters, chili and coconut milk, topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled with lemon juice. It is like laing in a whole new level. I enjoyed this gorgeous dish so much even though I am not a fan of oysters but I don't know, when you just make a coconut based dish, I am a fan.

To warm the stomach is Sayote Egg Drop soup with Quail Eggs and Crostini. I am pretty sure I'd be making this dish for myself coz my mom always tells me how rich and healthy veggie this is. A nice hearty soup made of sayote is the bomb!

Before going to the mains, we tried Burong Mangga Sorbet to cleanse the palate. There is this kilig factor after scooping in that sorbet. They made it cold and sour so a bit numbness to balance to tangy taste. 

For our mains, we had the BBQ Pulled Pork Tostadas that gives a hearty bite with slow-cooked pork, Filipino-style BBQ marinade, re-fried munggo (mung bean) and papaya slaw piled high on fried tortilla. Oh man this is good. Soft and flavorful meat and the papaya slaw on top gave a nice balance. Though I was thinking of bread, the tortilla is perfectly fine and it added crunch overall. 

Another main, and now with rice, the Seabass Sinantol. It is a chilean seabass fillet and arugula on top of sinantol rice, a unique twist that imparts a ‘santol’ flavor to the grains. The subtle taste and crisp layer of the seabass is a great complement for the sinantol rice. To be honest, this is the star of the course for me. I could actually eat the sinantol rice alone because it is already flavorful on its own nevertheless, the whole plate is one delectable dish.

Last but definitely not the least, the sweet ending. It is a beautifully plated Egg Pie Brûlée with rose crème chantily, strawberry, green grapes, mango and edible flowers. It was colorful and refreshing. 

So there you go! Overall, the entire course was amazing and how Chef Bernice uniquely created these dishes were top notch. I would definitely recommend this especially if you are looking for unique and modernized Filipino cuisine. The place is romantic and couples should visit as well. Kudos to a superb dining experience.

Diners have a choice to order the whole 8-course menu or choose only select dishes. Each dish is priced separately and the whole menu is at P1,250 plus 10 per cent service charge.

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Coffee Project

5.0 Stars
Café
9

What sets them apart from other Coffee Shops are their beautiful interiors that is so close to nature- definitely gives you a breathtaking and fresh vibe. If you ever visited some Coffee Project branches, they'd always have the same theme but designed differently. Their Salcedo branch for example
has this small not so hidden passageway towards the other side which can be a nice place for events or small gatherings.

As of our last visit, we get to try their newest offering. It was no surprise to me that they will serve Pancakes and breakfast meals besides the usual pastries and some savory snacks to pair with your favorite beverage. The three Pancake flavors they launched are: Original, Blueberry and Chocolate Chips and these are called Project Pancakes. Having tried these pancakes, I genuinely believe they were one of the most memorable and delicious pancakes I have tasted. Soft, fluffy texture, not so overwhelming flavors and the buttery spread on top is just so good. I love the Chocolate Chip better than the two other flavors, priced at 145 (1pc) or 205 (2pcs) they are considerably reasonable as the serving size is huge and flavor wise, it won't disappoint. They also have hearty meals if you opt to have savory breakfast while sipping your coffee. Their new items consists of Pizzas, Pastas and Rice Meals so you really have a lot of options when you visit them.

Glad I was able to try them especially the pancakes so now I have my new favorites. Kudos for adding these on the menu.

Flatlay by EJ B

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Churchill

5.0 Stars
Bar
10

This classy bar inspired by 19th century clubs and was named after a prime minister of UK seems to be the nicest one I've seen by far. Although it looks quite the luxury because of the atmospheric setting, you'll be surprised with a cut-rate price for the drinks and food menu items so it definitely is just a delight for bar goers especially those in the area. There is a passage way from Bistro Highlands so after having a nice scrumptious steak, you can go straight ahead to the bar to chill and relax.
 
In all honesty, I'm not much of a drinker but we do have to try some of what they have to offer. The cocktail drinks were Gin and Tonic (large gin and tonic water), Old fashioned (bourbon, angostura bitters), The Churchill (scotch whiskey, lime juice, sweet vermouth and Cointreau). Also, they have special drinks like the Licensed To Chill cocktail that is only available every Thursday.
 
For the Bar chows, we had the Pan Style Nachos Topped with Chili Con Carne, Crispy Fried Onion Rings and International Cheese Board Selection. I definitely enjoyed these food pairings firstly because all of them were plated beautifully thus it suits the vibe inside the bar. The onion rings comes with a nice warm bowl of cheese - they are crispy fried and stacked in a pole. The Nachos comes with guacamole, sour cream, chopped jalapeno and hot cheese sauce- very generous serving and are so good. The cheese board is sophisticated and the today's cheese variety can be asked from the server.
 
The VIP room is one for the boys. it is not as chic and refined in decoration but quite dim and relaxed and where men can use cigars and it looks like a sports bar or private room that requires membership that of the upper class men. When you enter the room, it actually smells nice as if it is not a cigar room nevertheless, anyone can privately use it for any gatherings.

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Sartin

4.0 Stars
Buffet
10

We often go on staycation at Tagaytay for its nice chill weather partnered with hot bowl of Bulalo and fried tawilis. Now, it's no longer just that... with Sartin's arrival at the Summit Ridge Tagaytay, you can have a wider choice of Filipino well-loved cuisines inspired by a family lineage from three distinct hometowns - Quezon, Tarlac and Bacolod. Sartin is a new concept unveiled by Josiah's Catering as they ventured into the new F&B operations management providing a unique culinary experience that guarantees great tasting food and excellent service.
 
As we gathered during the Grand Launch, along with fellow foodies, we were able to try their recommended dishes. From Tarlac, we had the Pritong Itik  - a native itik cooked low and slow with oil, garlic, salt pepper, herbs and then fried till crispy and Jet's Kare Kare - ox tail, tripe and meat, special kare kare sauce and house made bagoong alamang. The itik is something different but I liked the flavor and taste definitely. The bagoong pairing was slightly bland for me but the Kare Kare itself is good. From Bacolod Negros, we had the Pata Humba- pork pata, banana blossom, pineapple, saba and potatoes and from Quezon, we were able to try the Escabeche na Isda- fried fish in a sweet and sour escabeche sauce, cilantro and mango salsa. I really loved the Escabeche as the sweet and sour taste blends perfectly to the fish meat.
 
Some of Sartin's Signature Dish are the Valenciana- turmeric glutinous rice, topped with shrimps, pork, chicken, vegetables - typically Ilonggo's version of paella and Lechon na Ulo ng Baboy- roasted half pig's head, served with home-made thin breads, salsa, mustard leaves, burong isda. Valenciana is quite a heavy meal as it is full of ingredients nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. The roasted pig's head had a nice crunchy texture but is sinful so make sure of moderation.
 
What I truly enjoyed during the entire event were the Kakanin and Pica-Pica. A very nice selection of Kakanin's were available such as sapin sapin, maja blanca, biko, kutsinta, palitaw, kalamay and many more and they also have the Sartin Salad, for a fresh option- a mixed lettuce, radish, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, dried squid, tossed in pineapple vinaigrette and kesong puti. Other notable food items that I also liked are their breads, donuts and ensaymada- worth a try and you can take home for a pasalubong.
 
To sum it up, Sartin's collection of timeless homemade recipes surely hits the spot. Their place at Summit Ridge is perfect for family gatherings and intimate date as well while savoring the comfort foods not just for the belly but for the heart. Kudos!

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Seoulgyupsal

4.0 Stars
Korean
3

We happen to be at Banawe area so EJ B decided to treat the rest of the gang here at Seoulgyupsal. It is located inside the mall and has around 50 seating capacity. They have affordable unlimited korean bbq so the place is crowded and when we got in, the only thing I noticed is the poor ventillation however people seemed to enjoy their food anyways.

Lunch time starts at 11am until 530pm and dinner time starts at 530pm until 2am. The unlimited set 1 consists of samgyupsal and chicken for as low as 399php on weekdays and 449php on weekends. The unlimited set 2 which includes all beef starts at 449php weekdays ad 499php weekends.

Must try for me is the spicy beef and dak galbi korean spicy chicken. If you wanted something cooked already, you can also try the beef bulgogi beef- I assure you it was really good.

Overall, the staff are really quick and they serve the banchan right away upon seating. Btw, the banchan and rice is also unlimited.

Thanks EJ B for the lunch!
#teamkaladkarin

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Three Sisters Restaurant

4.0 Stars
Filipino
8

The modern Filipino home with the classic Pinoy dishes. This restaurant has been serving diners for more than 70 years even before the WWII -imagine that? They may be considered an epitome who started out as a panciteria and now to a well-loved restaurant at Kapitolyo. It was named after a talcum powder brand long ago where Lola Rosa really adored the jingle of the said brand then named it after her panciteria. The place was renovated to captivate more people with its homey and modern vibe. They have a loft type VIP room if I may say with an alfresco area to accommodate more people aside from the main and mini garden area.
 
Aside from their regular dishes, we were served a boodle fight which they offer for events and groups of people who wanted a more intimate yet fun experience. The Boodle fight consists of Chicken Inasal, Pork BBQ, Fried Bangus Belly, Sliced Tomatoes and Steamed Eggplant on top of Rice. The regular dishes were Kare Kare, Beef Sinigang, Crispy Kangkong, Pancit Bihon and Leche Flan for desserts plus Mango Shake refreshment.
 
The Pork BBQ stands out as it was really tasty and you can easily tear the juicy meat thus it became the crowd favorite. The crispy kangkong is still crispy despite a long period of time we spent capturing photos. Kare Kare and sinigang were also good but I only ate a few. The leche flan is creamy soft and sweet so it was a perfect ending. The boodle fight experience is so much fun so it is a must try for everyone. The only thing I would recommend is they should add salted egg on the toppings but overall, we all end up satisfied and full.
 
They have an extensive menu that offers affordable value meals, group meals and ala carte but the boodle fight is not on the list however, you can ask for it when you get there. it was indeed a wonderful dinner. Great service and delicious food! Kudos!

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Charlie's Grind & Grill

5.0 Stars
Burger
4

I've heard a lot of good comments about Charlie's Grind and Grill Burgers and Wings and like any other upscale burger joints out there, they are at least the most affordable offering Wagyu and Angus burgers with at par quality and flavors. They just recently renovated with a modern industrial interior surrounded by huge flat screens where I assume will eventually turn out like a sports bar where you can watch your favorite games. The alfresco area is where the kitchen is but it feels a bit hot nevertheless, it is well ventilated and pretty cool inside.
 
The basic burgers available are your choice of Wagyu or Angus Cheeseburgers which you can buy for only 230 and 220 Php respectively. Double patty, Burger with shrooms are also something you must try if you are down to a more meatier lunch. I saw some sliders on the menu probably a smaller version but I am not on a diet. Burgers are not complete without the fries and sides. They prepare the fries as you order - freshly cut potatoes with your flavor of choice. Even though I wasn't able to eat the fries right away and it got cold, they are still so good anyway - I wish I knew how they do their fries. lol.
 
In case the burgers won't satisfy your cravings, Hotdogs are also at the top of the list and what I liked the most is the Corndog made with German franks and cornmeal batter. Wings are also recommendable and for sure you'll love it. They have sweet, hot and nuclear buffalo wings and a lot more flavors to choose from and I honestly think they are better than some I've tried.
 
We surely had a great time at Charlie's Grind and Grill- a perfect fix for your classic American Burger cravings. Coming back soon and will bring some of my friends so they can also try these tasty and delicious burgers, fries and wings.

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Paradise Dynasty

5.0 Stars
Chinese
10

What makes a fine restaurant is not just excellent customer service, generally comfortable ambiance but most important of all is the delectable and worth remembering dishes which makes the customers come back. Paradise Dynasty is one of restaurants that showcases these three significant characteristics we all look forward to thus our dining experience has been really wonderful.

We visited their newly opened branch at the Podium which is twice as much bigger than their S Maison branch. The facade, the interiors and the furnishings were consistent but now I could clearly see the open kitchen while the chefs are making the famous Xiao Long Baos. On this branch, they have 2 VIP rooms interconnected to each other that can occupy a maximum of 16 heads per room not to mentioned the huge television setup that can be used for events or corporate meetings.

It was late afternoon and I could see a lot of patrons already having their lunch despite the fact that the restaurant just recently opened last December - definitely a good sign of good food and service! This is true as I visited the other branch which gets a bit crowded during lunch time and dinner and having tried some of their best sellers, I have felt the enjoyment with these customers while savoring the dishes.

There are familiar starters such as the Radish Pastry and the Glutinous Rice Stuffed in Red Dates which are both sweet in nature with the pastry having a milder taste. You can enjoy the soft flaky texture and the stuffing’s inside. Appetizers that are new to my taste buds were the Lettuce Roll with homemade Sesame Sauce, Chilled Baby Spinach with Vermicelli, Chilled Tofu with Century Egg and Chilled Jelly Fish and Seafood in Vinaigrette. To be honest, all of these were uniquely delicious on their own. You should lavish the Lettuce with the sauce while having a bite of the fresh greens and crunchy texture from the cucumber in between. Spinach w/ Vermicelli is the same way fresh appetizing salad. We all agreed that we wanted more of the Century Egg on top of the Tofu but it's all good, a nice balance of light and salty flavor. And the Jellyfish, though I was hesitant at first, it had a nice kick and sour taste that creates a nice sensation in the mouth.

A lot more usual dishes were served like the Stir Fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce served with Chinese crepes, Kung Pao Chicken, Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Conpoy, Stir Fried French Bean with Minced Pork and from the Szechuan cuisine, the Spicy Szechuan Crispy Chicken and Poached Sliced Fish in Szechuan Chili Oil. If you are into a feast here at Paradise, these are some of the basics you can try, to explore the different tastes of Chinese influences. I would not forget my favorite from the new dishes served which is the Crispy Fried Crystal Prawns tossed with Salted Egg Yolk. Who doesn't love Salted Egg flavor these days? The trend has never stopped and I definitely enjoyed each bite.

Last but not the least, the Xiao Long Baos. Of course you should not miss this on every visit. I could not say more how delicious and amazing these small dimsums are. For optimum tasting of the 8 distinct flavors, make sure to follow the pattern when you order the 8 flavor basket. I don't mind ordering another basket of original flavor for myself coz I really love their XLB.

So basically, they have a lot more to offer and they have desserts too so make sure you try them. I would definitely come back to try other dishes with family and friends soon and I am so excited to share the XLB as well. It was an awesome afternoon at Paradise Dynasty. Kudos!

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