My Reviews

Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant

5.0 Stars
European
10

Chateau Hestia is one gem tucked in a wonderful forest-garden setup. Serving great wine, deli and good coffee, Chateau Hestia is probably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Tagaytay. Surely, this place will give you subtle joys that nature has to offer.

The main dining cabin is clad in greens, a long, wooden bridge brings you to the beautiful flora and fauna that surrounds the place.

Breads and coffee are served fresh. We tried the margherita pizza and the beer caramelized onion gruyere, and they were nothing short of our expectations.

An open dining area is also available for those wanting some bonding with nature, or to simply feel the cold mountain breeze. Light comes naturally between foliage, further contributing to that magical experience.

This is our first time here after planning to visit almost a decade ago. We enjoyed the place, despite the long wait.

Bed and breakfast is available but subject to reservation as there are only five available rooms.

Chateau Hestia has its own exclusive parking that can accommodate a good number of vehicles.

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FOO'D

5.0 Stars
International
10

Chef Davide Oldani’s FOO’D brings to life beautiful moments though “pop cuisine”. Chef Oldani himself defines “pop cuisine” as an accessible, or rather affordable luxury cuisine with Italian roots. Chef Carlo Miguel, resident chef of Foodie Global Concepts, is an embodiment of Chef Davide Oldani’s “pop cuisine” scene by taking the simplest (locally sourced, organically grown) ingredients and turning these into a beautiful dish.

FOO’D by Davide Oldani has been with the BGC community since 2016, at the ground level of Shangri-La At The Fort. This is also the first venture of Chef Davide Oldani outside of Italy.

I could easily associate the “pop cuisine” concept to fine dining - with a modern, ecological or even utilitarian art, as real as fine dining could be. Chef Carlo Miguel evangelizes the advocacy that each ingredient is optimized such that there is minimal waste in preparing the dishes.

In going to fine dining, it’s quite exciting to see each dish as it is served. FOO’D has an open kitchen where one can witness the entire process. And it is really worth knowing that each dish takes a whole lot of time and effort to prepare. I couldn’t believe m that some dishes even take 24 hours to prepare!

I had to do a lot of Googling and a bit of Ratatouille flashback to really appreciate the experience and truly understand the art and science behind it. As fine dining is associated with specific dedicated meal courses, the repertoire served that night were conceptualized around mushroom and duck.

By the way, you may opt for these packages that FOO’D offers:

A Three-Course Tasting Menu (@PHP 1,500). You can choose 1 Antipasto, 1 Secondo and 1 Dolce

A Four-Course Tasting Menu (@PHP 1,900). You can choose 1 Antipasto, 1 Primo, 1 Secondo and 1 Dolce

Or a Five-Course Tasting Menu (@PHP 2,700). Choose 1 Antipasto, 1 Primo, 2 Secondo and 1 Dolce

FOO’D has also partnered with Citibank so that all Citibank cardholders can enjoy a six-course menu for only PHP 2.100 (regular price of PHP 3,000) until November 30, 2018

I’ll do my best to walk you through and share what I can about this unique experience. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the invite of Roegan T and Jessica G of |ooloo, and Ms. Arianne Vilanton of Foodie Global Concepts. No less than Mr Eric Dee, COO of Foodie Global Concepts also graced our evening.

Our sumptuous evening started with an exciting serving of Amuse- Bouche. Amuse-bouches are quite different from appetizers as it is not included in the menu and are served for free. The chef himself usually chooses what particular dish to serve. After being served, Chef Carlo Miguel came and personally introduced the repertoire for the night.

We had Crab Cannelloni as starter for Antipasti. Cucumber (cut so thinly) was cleverly used as wrapping for the tasteful crab meat, along with horseradish, tomato sorbet. Despite its black net-like appearance, the squid ink tuile becomes not only a visual accent on the dish but rather an accent of taste for its subtle saltiness.

Next up was the Mushroom and Egg. Confit egg yolk, mushroom, crispy prosciutto and truffle foam make up this delicacy. Confit is usually used in modern cuisine to mean long slow cooking in oil or fat at low temperatures. The confit yolk accompanies each mushroom while the truffle foam simply provides a sweet ambiance.

The Duck liver parfait served comes with a distinct texture. Some would coin this as glorified liver spread made with duck liver. The serving is topped with marsala gelee (or wine gello). Yum.

Our adventures with the duck continues with the Smoked Duck Carpaccio. Coined from the famous Applewood smoked bacon, this dish is unique in itself, as it duck, with arugula, orange, beet puree.

Our sumptuous evening wouldn’t be complete without Foie Gras. Chestnut puree, cranberry brioche. Not really into Foie gras but somehow I loved this one. Perhaps the cranberry made me love it!

Cannelini came next. White Bean Soup plus Seared Prawn, Rye Tuile. Really good. The prawn made an impression on the white bean soup which was enhanced by the rye tuile. prawn to the soup.

Onto Primi.

We were served with Mushroom Riso. Oh and 18 months aged carnaroli was really good. Googling why it has to be aged, the starchy components of the rice grain become stable, thus becomes more structured and solid, it releases less proteins, vitamins and starch in the cooking water and absorbs the condiment more easily... to realize a Gourmet risotto! The added mushroom and truffle oil just makes it magical.

Pressed Chicken Pasta. Spaghetti was used as pasta which matched the pressed chicken perfectly. Nothing was spared from this chicken. A specialized press was was used to infuse special herbs and spices into the chicken. Achieving that unique taste. Grana padano (very similar to parmesan but is slow-ripened). The sauce is so good and the chicken, very tender and tasteful.

Second, Secondi.

Roast Pork Belly plus apple elderflower puree, bacon braised cabbage, thyme jus. Lechon lovers will surely love this. The roast pork belly was so soft, juicy, not to mention that the skin is really crispy. The thyme jus and apple elderflower puree served their purpose well by making this pork taste fruity, and less “porky” of you know what I mean.

The next dish was quite surprising. Pressed Duck Two Ways. Maple leaf duck breast and confit duck leg, with rhubarb, duck press jus. Close your eyes and you’ll think you’re having prime meat, or even a high grade steak. Imagine having prime meat. Chef Carlo Miguel surely does what he does best with duck.

Halibut was served with saffron potato veloute, Sicilian caponata, potato crisps. Halibut is also called “isdang lapad”. The halibut is so soft, prepared so tender that it actually melts and leaves a subtle taste behind. I just love how it was dressed with the potato crisps.

Next up, US Angus Prime Tenderloin Steak was served, cippollini (little onions in Italian), cauliflower puree, bone marrow bordelaise. Bone marrow bordelaise gets its delectably rich flavor from the demi-glace and bone marrow which we Pinoys love to sip in bulalo. The bone marrow bordelaise is usually added to accentuate the beef. Chef Carlo used red onion, which he made into a gem in the performance, like that solo violinist in a classic repertoire.

Ahhh, Dolci.

The most classic of desserts, I think is the Dark Chocolate Mousse. Served with cacao crumble, you’ll feel the bitter-sweet coarseness of real cacao. The raspberry becomes the centerpiece, and a dark chocolate gelato will surely entice you for more!

Oh, the Lemon Curd with cutesy. Dehydrated meringue, cacao crumble, curry almonds. Add to that there’s lettuce gelato. I would suggest to have them like an orchestra, where you’ll appreciate the entire ensemble if you hear them all playing. Grab a bit of everything and mix all it in your mouth!

The White Chocolate Souffle with Apricots, almond biscotti, and the pretty amaretto gelato. I just love the amaretto gelato. Amaretto is basically nuts. Er, I mean, Amaretto is usually associated with almonds which of course matches the white chocolate souffle perfectly!

Finally, a Raspberry Lychee Sphere with Rose glaze, coconut crumble, yogurt gelato finishes off this concierto with subtlety and finesse, enough for you to bring all good memories of this very fine repertoire home.

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Makati Diamond Residences

5.0 Stars
Hotel
7

We attended a workshop at the Salcedo and Arnaiz Function Rooms and we were delighted with good food and good service, as expected for a hotel of this class. This is actually the first time I’ve been to Makati Diamond Residences. I’m at awe with its classy, modern interiors.

The free flowing coffee is good, quite strong. Even black coffee drinkers will opt to add milk or sugar to balance the taste. The roast chicken and fish fillet served for lunch are, as expected, well prepared. There were limited choices for dessert though, probably because of the package availed by the event organizers - we had fresh fruits, some pastries. I did like the chocolate pudding a lot! Oh, and you have to try their custom-made vanilla and chocolate ice cream!

Makati Diamond Residences is just across Greenbelt 1, which makes it perfect for Corporate gatherings and workshops. With the good ambiance, food and service this hotel has, we’ll surely try having a weekend staycation here soon!

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Three Guys & A Grill

5.0 Stars
BBQ Joint
8

Each Looloo rendezvoos is overly exciting since we get the opportunity to get a first try of great new food choices in town. It becomes more exciting when we get to know the hows and the whys. We get to know how the food was conceptualized and prepared, how the place came to be, and with that, meeting the passionate people behind the venture. Thanks again Roegan T for this Rendezvoos and Mr. Duncan Gates of Three Guys and a Grill for this awesome experience! Brie K, Pat D, Charlzz C, Dennis O and Denise A made it fun and even more special!

Three Guys and a Grill sits along the very busy B. Valdez street, just across A. Venue Mall, a stone’s throw away from the busier Makati Avenue. If you’re driving, I suggest you park at A. Venue Mall since street parking is not allowed along B. Valdez. The place is not so big but they mentioned that they’ll do some renovations to make the most out of the space, and make it more convenient to customers.

As the sausages were served, Duncan Gates, one of the “Three Guys” who put up this joint, walked us through the hows and the whys. You’ll know the definition of passion when you hear this guy talk about the sausages and what would be our special ‘guest’ for that night- the burgers!

But before that, let me tell you how great the sausages are!Take any (I mean any of them) and you will just be thrilled with how good these sausages are. Each sausage is meticulously prepared and grilled with quality in mind. Ingredients are all crisp-fresh.

Personally, I loved the Breakfast Dog. Perhaps because it’s served with omelette and barbecue sauce! Perfect for my whole day breakfast cravings!

My other favorite sausage would be the Swiss Army Dog. Traditional pork schueblig was used, plus ketchup ,sliced pickles, and grilled onions simply put together to come up with the traditional European sausage.

There’s really no secret to goodness as Duncan mentioned that these sausages were all made with the highest international standards by Santis Delicatessen, following specifications given by Three Guys and a Grill. These guys made sure that the sausages will be loved both by Filipinos and his European, American and Australian customers.

Just a bit later, Duncan served what we were waiting for... A true sight to behold...the burgers! There’s no ‘plain’ burger here guys. All burgers are painstakingly grilled and dressed up to please you!

All burgers served were huge, even their single patty burger is good enough for two average Filipinos 128521 (the burgers are big enough for sharing so be generous to your friends, unless you want to keep all the goodness to yourself!)

They call their no-frills burger the Tommy Burger. They say this is basic but I would say this is premium - way better than your usual Big Mac or Whopper for almost the same price!

I loved the Kiwiana Burger (Duncan recommends this one, being a true-blooded Kiwi). I love pineapples and this one’s got a big chunk! And they added a whole sunny side up egg to make this burger one heck of a huge burger!

How can I forget the Anghang Burger?! The spice comes from fresh jalapeños plus Sriracha sauce which makes the brings an Oriental-Mexican taste to the burger.

The burgers are really, really good!!! I’d say these are even better than what you get at Pound, Burger Geek and even 8 Cuts! Again there’s no secret to how these burgers came to be. Of course only the best pure beef patties are served, along with toasted potato buns (you’ll know how good it is compared to regular buns when you try it), really fresh crisp lettuce, premium tomatoes and large onions, and special cheddar cheese. Oh, the magic comes from the Three Guys Special Sauce that these wizards have formulated.

Oh and did I mention that fries are really really good? All burgers are served with large, premium cut fries. Try it with Engkanto beer! These fries are best eaten with beer!

So, what I am exactly trying to say here? I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the sausages. Oh and fhose burgers are all available now so let’s go and get some!

Three Guys and a Grill have branches at The Pantry along Dela Rosa St. in Legaspi Village, Makati, also one at the Mall of Asia, and another one down south at Southwoods Mall in Binan, Laguna.

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Kooky & Luscious

4.0 Stars
Café
3

Had a light lunch here at Kooky and Luscious. It’s been more than a year since I went here. Everything’s quite the same. The interiors are still the same, colorful and laid back, but already showing some signs of age. The ambiance, by the way, makes me feel like I’m having lunch at Tropical Hut without the yummy smell of their pure beef burger.

The prices of their menu items are quite on the high side. The roasted adobo flakes sandwich on wheat bread which I got is P175, while the hot latte is priced at P95. The palaman was good, in fact, I should have ordered it with rice. The bread needs to improve. It’s not the ones you see at sandwich stores but the usual pinoy-sized tasty. Oh, and the sandwich came with fries. It was good. Naalala ko din dito ang fries ng Tropical Hut.

How was the coffee? Taste was good. It was pricey though. I expected to have better, bigger cup at P95.

Service was good. Though there were only two kitchen staff working (they also double as servers), service is quite good. The dining area is on the second floor so you’ll have to press the doorbell buttons to call the kuyas downstairs. And yes, they come quite fast naman.

Most Makati office workers may not notice this especially those who may be lucky enough to charge their meals to their corporate allowance. But for a total bill of P275 pesos, I should’ve gone to Starbucks or Tim Hortons.

I’ll be coming back to try their rice meals. I believe these are really their best sellers, along with their desserts.

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Nonna's Trattoria

5.0 Stars
Italian
7

Family. It’s always been a delight to hear never-ending stories from the Titos and the Titas, catching up with the cousins, seeing how the little ones have grown.

Having a closely knit family is probably one of the most interesting facets of Filipino culture, and Mama Lou’s has always been about bringing together family. Mama Lou’s, and now Nonna’s, has been the go-to place for family gatherings, or simply kitakits with good friends. Large tables, spacious interiors and an ambiance which makes you feel right at home.

Nonna’s Trattoria is conveniently located at the second level of Madison Galleries. You won’t miss this mall when entering Alabang Hills Village from the West Service Road. Nonna’s Trattoria happens to be at the veranda of Madison Galleries, where you can see the whole beauty of the Sacred Heart Parish Church at awe as you look outside. Kids will enjoy the large space where they can play at the open space just outside the resto.

Mama Lou’s has been really good friends with Looloo for a long time - almost seven long years! In fact, if it wasn’t for Looloo, I wouldn’t have learned about Mama Lou’s (quite ironic for someone who’s living in the south to not know Mama Lou’s!). We have to thank our Mama Lou’s family (and yes, we truly appreciate it!) David and Crystal, and Richard, for this wonderful gathering! Thank you tooo Roegan T for the invite!

Mama Lou’s has another winner with Nonna’s Trattoria. Trattoria, in Italian, means a place less formal than a ristorante (or restaurant). Oddly true, Nonna’s Trattoria’s ambiance is more homey. The food choices are not just your regular Italian food, but concoctions that would simply make you happy, and savor each and every ingredient that would go into your palate. We were so surprised to be actually served food ala fine dining, thanks to Chef Mav, which btw, has prepared these dishes as he has prepared (and won!) at the recent Philippine Culinary Cup! Imagine eating meticulously plated food and specialty wine wearing your t-shirt, ripped jeans and even shorts...don’t forget your beach flip flops!

And then our foodie adventure started. I think Chili G, Jayson J, Charlzz C, Dennis O and Eboy D mentioned how good all the food choices are so I’ll just be listing my favorites among all the goodies served.

Nonna’s breads are always a delight. I love breads and their house bread is really special. Eat it on its own or with butter and it’s just perfect!

The Riso Cacio e Pepe was served as appetizer and it was a delight to the taste buds as it is to the eyes!

Scallops, apples, foie gras was simply amazing. I’m never a fan of scallops but this one is really good.

As an in-between meal (or intermizzio) frozen Mango Calamansi iced cubes was served. It was indeed a refresher!

We were given pork, fish, chicken and beef plates but I loved the Chicken Eggplant Shitake Sesame best! Just perfect for those on a lean diet like me.

The beef rib finger with edamame, and roasted capsicum is my second choice. Beef cut size, taste and flavor is just right.

For our dessert, the Panna Cotta, Berry (half strawberry) coulis with Malagos chocolate just made my day. Malagos chocolate from Davao is simply best!

Like family, David, Crystal and Richard, would take turns chatting with us, just as they do at Mama Lou’s. As Nonna’s Trattoria is still for opening in September 2018, the menu is not yet ready so I guess I’ll have to be back very soon to try out the menu!

We’ve been regular customers at Mama Lou’s BF for years but it was only two years ago when I personally met David and Crystal, and Richard of course, when Looloo was invited at the then newly-opened Nonna’s in Solenad, Nuvali. Since then, I would say I would always look forward to being at Nonna’s (and Mama Lou’s, of course), as dining with family. Catching up. Listening and sharing happy stories.

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Drip Coffee Shop

4.0 Stars
Coffee
7

Good coffee is all that it takes to make my day. Drip Coffee Shop has just opened its doors to make sure that we do get that good vibe. And it seems that they can live to their promise of making you through the day with a smile.

Located at the ground level of Dela Rosa Carpark 1, this cozy place is very accessible (peeps from SGV, Bankmer and PLDT will just cross the street!). Dining space is quite limited and can only accommodate around 12 people at a time.

For starters, prices are on the good side. I tried the Cold Brew Latte (large 16oz cup for only P90) just last week and it was all worth it. Right taste, and just the right caffeine punch.

I went back earlier today and got myself a regular Hot Latte (P80 for a 12oz cup), and it was all good. I’d probably trade this for my usual Dunkin Donut brewed cup.

Try this out for yourself, and see if it does make a good day!

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Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss

4.0 Stars
Ramen or Noodle
6

I was craving for really good ramen yesterday and came upon Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss at Eton. I was so excited when I got inside the store. Everything was laid out well in a modern Japanese flair.

I noticed that ramen prices are on the high end, at P350 to P400 per bowl, or rather, Big Bowl offerings of Miso, Tantanmen, Shoyu. I saw too that they have regular bowl offerings at P240 to P270. Plus P50 for an Aji Tamago (a.k.a. egg). I guess the bigger bowls would be ideal for sharing, and since I was alone, I just got the regular bowl, and even had to think twice in getting the egg, which I also got. Can’t imaging eating ramen without the egg.

I tried the Miso Ramen @P270 plus P50 for Aji Tamago. No more gyoza and drinks since P320 is already quite expensive.

I sat upstairs and saw that the place is big, and the interior looks fresh. All themed to be the modern Japanese place that it should be. The set-up of the place does look a bit like your typical Japanese themed fast food - fall in line and pay at the counter, then sit and wait for your order. They do accept credit and debit cards but I don’t know why they couldn’t accept my Paymaya Visa card. Paid cash instead.

My Miso ramen with special Aji Tamago was served in just a few minutes. The broth was good, nothing special though, compared to other ramen restos at the same price range. Noodles were quite good too, and yes they are a little sweet, soft but not soggy, and fresh, true to what their ads say. But as I started eating my ramen, I kinda felt how pricey my lunch was, or perhaps it was the fast-foodie vibe of the place. I don’t know if it’s just me or this place is starting to feel like just like a refreshed Tokyo Tokyo with a Premium menu.

The place looks ok, quite good in fact. The food is also ok but yes, it is pricey. Bring someone with you when dining here so you can share. They do have rice meals ranging P200-P240 which I might try next time.

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Toby's Estate Coffee

5.0 Stars
Coffee
2

There’s something about the smell at Toby’s Estate that makes me want to come back again and again. I think its the smell of carefully selected beans and that perfect roast that makes Toby’s Estate still, one of the best -never over-roasted like those of other coffee shops.

Oh and they make latte art even if my cup was for take-out. Well appreciated.

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Overdoughs

4.0 Stars
Doughnut
3

Got Overdoughs-ed with two six-piece boxes of Overdoughs Cookie Doughs for only P160! Overdoughs Century City Mall has partnered with Zap to give you another box of cookie doughs for free when you get one box using the Zap app!

I didn’t even know they had a promo until kuya informed me at the store. It was also my first time to try Overdoughs!

The cookie doughs were good. Yes, they’re quite small but they’re really good! I do hope they extend this promo for a long time!

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