My Reviews

Versus Barcade

4.0 Stars

Tired of the normal night out with friends where all you do is drink, chat and maybe dance (when someone gets overboard in alcohol)? What if I tell you that there's a new bar in town that could make your mundane night a little bit funner? Hint: Barcade.

Hello, Versus Barcade.

Tucked inside the quiet side of Uptown Parade lies this spacious bar that mixes drinks with a different kind of fun. Stepping inside is like travelling through time as the place is a marriage between modern and the 70s or 80s with its nostalgic arcade games.

We were too excited to even bother look at the drinks list and went straight to the game room which has enough games to entertain a group of about 20. There were two pinball machines, Street Fighter themed machine, and even Mario Kart.

There's also this air hockey-like game where the goal of the players is to keep their pucks in the 1, 2 or 3 pointer grids to earn points. I tried it several times and after what seemed forever, I managed to score 1 point.

The best part here is that you can play all these fun games for free during its soft opening. Versus Barcade is still working on the best way to manage its game room but I'm sure that if ever they do charge per play, it will be worth it!

After trying some of the games, we headed back to the main dining area and tried some of the drinks and bar chows.

We had Mr. Pacman (PHP1,250) and Mrs. Pacman (PHP1,200) for sharing and we each ordered other drinks to try. I went with Bedtime Stories (PHP380) simply because I saw the word "cacao".

For bar chows, we tried Kwek-Kwek, Chibul (Chicharon Bulaklak) and Chikin (Chicken Skin). I didn't see the individual prices of these dishes but it is available as part of a set of 2 appetizers/bar chows and one main dish for PHP600. I don't think it's priced badly as you'd definitely get your money's worth if you pair your quick bites with the likes of Gambas or Beef Salpicao.

All of the bar chows were very straightforward and prepared without any frills. But one thing I liked about all three was that each one was done right.

Chibul and Chikin were crispy and enjoyable to eat. I had to stop myself from grabbing another serving of both to give others a chance to try it too. But seriously, I can't wait to get my hands on more!

Kwek-Kwek was paired with this brownish sauce which I first thought was for squid balls. Though good, I still prefer it with vinegar.

We also had a hefty serving of nachos.

Mr. Pacman is a mixture of Casadores Reposado tequila, Orgeat Syrup, Vanilla Syrup, Fresh Orange Juice, Lemon Juice and Chocolate Bitters. Though unpopular with our group because of its slight bitter taste, it was light enough to be enjoyed even by those with low alcohol tolerance.

Mrs. Pacman, on the other hand, reminded me of punch. The Beefeater London Dry Gin, Spicy Mango Syrup, Aperol, Lime Juice and Orleans Bitters mix works better for me as I had three glasses of this drink! It was a bit sweeter than Mr. Pacman and tasted lighter too in terms of alcohol.

My Bedtime Stories was one of the last drinks served and it was a lot darker than I imagined. The drink was bitter because of Johnnie Walker Gold but it was complemented by Frangelico, milk, gingerbread syrup egg yolk (as emulsifier) and cocoa powder to garnish. Sadly, even with cocoa, it was something I wouldn't order again. Maybe I'll just go with a non-alcoholic version of it which Pat D had.

And speaking of non-alcoholic, you can request for mocktails at Versus Barcade too! You could either choose the ingredients yourself or have them surprise you with their concoction. Price starts at PHP300 and could go as high as PHP800 depending on the ingredients. Peanut D liked her “The Peanut” drink. 128514

Versus Barcade also has a second floor perfect for those who want a bit of privacy. There is one arcade game there for entertainment too!

And if you happen to be a smoker, this place also has its own smoking area which is located at the back of the game room, near Mario Karts.

We went on a Monday and the place was pretty much ours till around 9 p.m. We were told that the crowd could get crazy on weekends where this barcade would be like a standing room event place. So for titos and titas of Manila, I highly suggest that you go on a week night and try to come early. They close at 2 a.m. on weekdays and 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Overall, it was a fun visit and I will surely be back to play all the other games.

Thanks |ooloo and Megaworld for the invite!

  • No. of Comments: 5

Oye Tapas & Grill

3.0 Stars

Is it just me or there is a crazy number of restaurants opening here and there? I used to be able to keep up with the new store openings within my area but I couldn't keep up anymore with the rate it's going. But I prioritize those I've been itching to try and one of the new restaurants I spotted a few weeks back is this tapas place in Uptown Bonifacio.

Hello, ¡OYE! Tapas & Grill!

Located at the very corner of Uptown Bonifacio along 9th Avenue, it would be very hard to miss Oye's bright signage.

But inside would be a different story as the place is dimly lit giving Oye a more chill and warm vibe. And speaking of warm, the place was literally warm due to the lack of air conditioners. To date, they rely on the mall's centralized A/C but it is definitely not enough. I heard though that they plan to add their own soon.

I got so confused with the interiors of Oye. The mural of bull and lion on the wall as well as its animal themed chairs do not seem to coincide with what I think Oye wants to be known. But let's put that aside for now and focus on its main offering--food.

Our host, Oye, chose the dishes for us to sample. And while waiting, we ordered drinks to go with our dinner and Mojito (PHP380) was the popular choice.

Just like how J described it, Oye's mojito was refreshing and really good as it had the perfect combination of alcohol, lime juice, soda water and mint. I can't help notice though its rather small serving size. For PHP380, I was expecting the glass to be bigger. Overall, though good, I wouldn't order this drink for its price. (I would get two fruit shakes instead.)

To start our meal, we were given a complimentary bowl of bread and pesto dip. And everyone liked it! The bread had a lovely texture and held the oily dip well.

I first tried Truffled Egg, Potato and Ham (PHP275) which was quite similar to the liquid omelette of Rambla. This one though had more texture to it as it had crisp bits of shredded potato and ham. I couldn't get a good taste of truffle though.

Patatas Bravas (PHP245), a common dish served in tapas bars, was your usual fried potatoes. Though the potatoes are usually boiled in salt water before being fried, I couldn't distinguish it from normal fries. Quite steep too for its serving size.

I indulged in Chorizo Stuffed Baby Squid (PHP375) next and found it divine! I loved the beautiful blend of flavors from land and sea. The baby squid had a snappy texture too making it enjoyable.

We all noticed that the three grilled skewers served to us had some parts that were noticeably too charred but we figured that this must be how Oye cooks it.

The Grilled Chicken Majada (PHP365) smothered with the mixture of herbs and olive oil had a lovely flavor. However, the chicken chunks became too dry due to being overly grilled.

Grilled Pork Belly in Black Pepper Sauce (PHP365) was slightly dry too for my liking. I also noticed that the black pepper taste was rather weak.

I was excited to try Grilled Prawns and Squid with Chorizo and Vegetables (PHP495) as I love seafood. And this one was the most texture and flavor among the skewers served that night.

Not a lot of Spanish restaurants serve Fideua. This seafood dish that originated from the coast of Valencia is very similar to paella. But unlike paella which uses rice, fideua uses noodles. Thankfully, Oye offers Fideua de Mariscos (PHP290, 5 inch pan | PHP705, 12 inch pan). Oye's version had very strong seafood flavor (most likely because of clams) which could be too overwhelming for some. It is best to drizzle some lemon juice to create a nice contrast of flavor.

My favorite that night was False Risotto with Shrimps and Salmon (PHP290). It had that delectable tangy taste and despite being topped with seafood, it was not as fishy.

To cap our meal, we had a bite of Leche con Galleras (PHP280), Spain's milky version of parfait. The combination of milk and biscuit was really good and something I could finish with ease. I'd definitely order this again.

Oye is still in its soft opening and there are still some areas that need improvement. Aside from the overly grilled skewers and lack of A/C, the experience would have been a lot better if the servers were more accommodating. They hardly smile and carelessly pour water in our glasses causing some accidental splashes on us. I'd let a few months pass before I visit again. By then, I hope that food and service will be a lot better.

Thank you, |ooloo and Megaworld for the invite!

It was fun eating with you guys, Peanut D Clarissa P AlwaysHungryPh P EJ B Pat D Julie Brie K Dens and Ninz! 10084

  • No. of Comments: 5


4.0 Stars

There's a new pizzeria in town and it is bound to tickle your taste buds with glee. Yes, Tasteless Food Group is at it again with spoiling us by bringing the famous UK brand PizzaExpress to Manila.

Hello, PizzaExpress.

I was so curious about PizzaExpress when I saw its board up in Uptown Bonifacio. I have never heard of the brand before but the giddiness from other foodies was so infectious that I got excited myself without knowing what to expect. And after a few months of looking forward to that first bite, I finally got to indulge in some of PizzaExpress' popular dishes.

For this visit, I sampled its Baked Dough Balls (PHP195), Mozzarella Tomato Salad (PHP275), Leggera Superfood (PHP390), Margherita Pizza (PHP350), Liguria Pizza (PHP430), Lava Pizza and Big Bad Brownie (PHP260).

While waiting for my order, I did a bit of research on PizzaExpress and found out that this brand started way back in 1965. Founded by Peter Boizot, he had a simple idea in mind and that was to bring a taste of Italy back in UK. He fell in love with the flavors Italy that he wanted to bring it back home for everyone else to enjoy. And it turned out to be a successful venture as PizzaExpress now has over 470 branches in UK alone. It also has presence across Europe, China, India, Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and now the Philippines.

First served were the starters.

The Baked Dough Balls were basically like your pizza dough rolled into these bite-sized balls served with garlic butter, pesto Genovese and pesto Rosso. All the dips were enjoyable with garlic butter as my favorite.

But skip this if you plan to eat a lot of pizzas. It is a great snack to munch on though if you are too hungry to wait for 10 to 15 minutes for your pizza.

Mozzarella Tomato Salad is a great dish to try when you're slowly learning how to eat healthier. This bowl of cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella drizzled with pesto Genovese and topped with basil was nothing short of scrumptious. The slight saltiness of the pesto Genovese was a beautiful accent to the sweet cherry tomatoes and light mozzarella.

And if you want to go hardcore with your new year's resolution, go with Leggara Superfood. This hefty plate packed with roasted pumpkins, green beans, baby spinach, lentils, avocado, beetroot, mixed leaves and pine nuts tossed in balsamic syrup. Though I wouldn't recommend this to those who dislike "healthy tasting food", I enjoyed this dish as well. There were just some mouthfuls that I found bitter so I made sure that the succeeding bites had beetroot in it.

I decided to skip pasta during this visit as I wanted to try more of PizzaExpress' pizzas. And I think I made the right move.

I started off with the classic Margherita which is topped with mozzarella and tomato. The straightforward no-frills pizza made me smile from ear to ear as it brought me back to the days when I scrape all the pizza toppings (and just eat my crust with tomato sauce and leftover cheese). Though it may not be the best margherita I've tried but this is the type of pizza I would love to munch on to cheer me up after a tiring day.

Lava Pizza was not part of the sneak preview menu but was highly recommended by S. And how can I say no when asked to try this pizza described as "topped with fresh burrata"? I simply can't say no to that!

The fresh plate of Lava Pizza was served right after and it was stunning-- generous serving of burrata on top of warm pizza with cherry tomatoes and olives. Though it took me some time before I was able to dig in, the burrata stayed in its lovely soft texture and oozes out every time I take a slice. Make sure to eat it with olives for that sharp contrast in flavor. I noticed though that this one has to be eaten with fork and knife as it tends to be too soft to be held.

Liguria was great too! This seafood packed pizza has prawns, mussels, squid, clams, capers and olives. It is also topped with garlic, parsley, lemon, béchamel sauce and breadcrumbs. I drizzled my slice with lemon juice for extra zest and it was love at first bite. I could be a bit biased though as I love anything garlicky, tangy and seafood. Yes, it was a marriage of a lot of things I love.

To cap my meal, I had Big Bad Brownie.

At first, I thought that it was priced pretty steep for a small serving of vanilla gelato topped with chocolate brownie chunks, crushed Italian biscotti, vanilla wafer, pistachio and drizzled with caramel sauce. But... it was worth it. Each spoonful was blissful and despite being full from eating three pizzas, I managed to finish it. The brownie chunks were decadent and went well with the smooth vanilla gelato. I also liked how the biscotti, wafer and pistachio added crunch to this sweet treat. I can't wait to have more!

Overall, it was a lovely experience. I would definitely be back for more of the pizzas I've tried and Big Bad Brownie. PizzaExpress, you are surely doing a great job in creating a world made happier by pizza.


If you plan to dine here, the best photo spot is the table outside the facade of the store. However, it is right below the A/C which will make your food cold. I also do not recommend you to eat there as I had problems shooing flies (a prevailing problem in Uptown Bonifacio due to construction happening around the area). I didn't experience that problem though when inside the store.

  • No. of Comments: 5

Bake Cheese Tart

5.0 Stars

Bake is finally in Manila! After over a year of waiting, the world's best cheese tart is now open in Podium.

Hello, Bake Cheese Tart.

I haven't heard of Bake till I visited Japan last year. The long queue in front of its store near the subway caught my attention and made me curious. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince R to line up with me that time. But the enticing aroma of freshly baked tarts left a strong impression that I made sure to grab some when I visited Seoul, Korea and Taichung, Taiwan.

Bake opened its first store in 2014 and has delighted cheese lovers ever since.

I was in love with Bake's cheese filling that uses well-curated cheeses from Hokkaido (deemed to be the cheese capital of Japan) and France. The blend of cream cheese with its natural tartness, heavenly creaminess and balanced by a hint of salt made it an instant hit to my palate. And the double bake tart that gave the treat an extra (to die for) crunch.

One thing I loved about Bake is its consistent delivery of superb cheese tarts. And I think it all boils down with how Bake works... by keeping it simple. Bake only sells one product in one size and flavor.

Though others might find splurging PHP95 for a cheese tart (or PHP540 for a box of 6) a bit too much; this treat is definitely worth every cent. One bite of this would convince you that getting a box of Bake cheese tarts is a smart decision. (Note: Bake Philippines offers its cheese tarts far more affordable compared to stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.)

Bake is opening its second branch in Rockwell, Makati around 3rd or 4th week of January. No news yet on other locations but I am hoping that they'll open one nearer home.

Again, welcome to Manila, Bake!

  • No. of Comments: 0


4.0 Stars
Ramen or Noodle

Tsuta has been one of the most anticipated brands this 2017 by food enthusiasts, or more specifically by ramen aficionados. I fall under both categories and I can't help but salivate whenever I read reviews on Tsuta's signature and Michelin-starred ramen. Just picturing its rich broth with truffle oil makes me uneasy. I just have to try it as soon as it lands here in Manila. And finally, I did.

Konnichiwa, Tsuta!

Tsuta Ramen is no stranger to those who frequent Tokyo. As the first ramen shop worldwide to be awarded the prestigious Michelin Star, Tsuta has become a destination for good ramen.

It all started at a small shop in the quiet neighborhood of Sugamo, Tokyo. Chef Onishi Yuki decided to craft his own recipes and interpret ramen differently. With his years of training under his father's ramen shop, Chef Yuki was able to create the perfect ramen bowl that harmoniously blends traditional and modern. By using premium ingredients such as shoyu from the shoyu brewery in Wakayama, Haccho Miso from Tokushima Prefecture and noodles made of curated wheats, each mouthful ooze with rich character which is undeniably Japanese. But what makes it interesting is that Chef Yuki adds something other ramen shops didn't... truffle oil.

As a big fan of truffle, I made sure to find time to drop by its first ever Manila store in Bonifacio High Street Central.

A tear dropped as I saw its board up gone.

Welcomed by its beautifully lit store with wooden and tile accents, I entered like a giddy little girl to a toy store.

I didn't think twice and decided to try the award-winning Shoyu Soba (PHP390 | PHP440, with ajitama | PHP570, with 4 slices of char siu | PHP620, with ajitama and 4 slices of char siu).

Sadly, my fist visit had some hiccups and I didn't get to try the Shoyu Soba I was drooling for. I did get to try Ro-Su Meshi (PHP170), Aburi Niku (PHP130) and Shio Soba (PHP390 | PHP440, with ajitama | PHP570, with 4 slices of char siu | PHP620, with ajitama and 4 slices of char siu)) though.

The Ro-Su Meshi was delightful. I noticed that the chefs only cut the slab of meat upon order. I guess it is to ensure the freshness of the meat.

The thin slices of roasted pork somehow reminded me of ham, in a good way. It was a festive burst of flavors every time I get a mouthful of the well-seasoned pork and fragrant buttered rice. It would have been more enjoyable though if there was more butter on the rice. (Butter monster here.) Those who have low tolerance for salty dishes might have to eat more rice to enjoy this.

The Aburi Niku was like the local favorite lechon kawali but more succulent. I'd recommend this guests who want something familiar and to picky eaters, especially kids.

Just like Ro-Su, this is best enjoyed with rice.

Before heading out for a meeting, I had a taste of a friend's Shio Soba.

As expected, the broth was light. The blend of the different broths--whole chicken, asari clams and various important Japanese fish with sea salt from Okinawa and rock salt from Magnolia gave this bowl a very delicate taste. The truffle oil was a beautiful accent giving it an interesting flavor. However, I found it too light for my liking and I'm more used and prefer shoyu.

I went back to Tsuta the following day to satisfy my curiosity and to have a taste of the ramen that won a Michelin star.

The queue was quite long when I got there. Service too was slower compared to other ramen shops but it could be also because of Tsuta's different prepping methods such as freshly slicing the char siu.

After 15 minutes or so, my fragrant bowl of noodles was served. The mouthwatering aroma of truffle was the first thing I noticed and after quick snapshots, I began to indulge in the famous soba.

I first had a sip of the broth and it was light yet more flavorful than shio. The shoyu made from soy beans matured for 2 years and made into soy sauce in Wakayama gave the broth more depth. The serving of truffle might seem little but its flavor was evident in every slurp and it was enough not to overpower the broth.

The noodles were thinner than your usual soba which makes it great as it has more room to absorb the soup without being soggy. I also loved its firm texture. The bamboo shoots also gave it that extra crunch.

The thin slice of char siu was also good. But it was overshadowed by the beautiful and tasty flavored egg. It was cooked to perfection! When sliced, the golden yolk oozes out and made each spoonful even more delectable.

I'll most likely get another serving of noodles next time as I was left with half bowl of soup when I finished my soba. I found the broth, though lighter than the usual, a bit too salty for my liking to be enjoyed alone. (But it is fine when eaten with soba as the latter balances the flavors.)

My friend P had Miso Soba (PHP410 | PHP450, with ajitama | PHP580, with 4 slices of char siu | PHP670, with ajitama and 4 slices of char siu)and I had a spoonful of hers. And indeed, it was the richest of the three. The slight spice from hot sauce will surely delight those who like a bit of heat in their food. This soba may not have truffle oil but it has porcini mushroom oil which blended lovely with miso.

Though Tsuta just opened two weeks ago, it has been getting mixed reviews. Several are questioning if their taste buds are just not meant to appreciate Michelin star ramen or if Tsuta is just "not ramen enough" to be enjoyed. A lot also pointed out lack of flavor.

Indeed, Tsuta is unlike the ones we've been used to. For one, Tsuta's broth is not tonkotsu-based but a combination of whole chicken, assorted Japanese fish and asari clams. Its broth also does not use MSG hence not being as flavorful as its competitors.

Perhaps it is not meant to please those who are looking for very rich and bold flavors. But if you want to try something new and a healthier option, give Tsuta a shot.

  • No. of Comments: 18

Cocina Peruvia

3.0 Stars

Cocina Peruvia is no stranger to me. I've tried it last year in its BGC branch and it was technically not love at first bite. However, I loved its Galera de Chocolate and that was good enough reason for me to go back for more.

Hello, Cucina Peruvia.

This Peruvian restaurant has been around for two years and after spoiling the Bonifacio Global City crowd, it has finally made its way to the north, Vertis North to be exact.

Its newest branch gives a similar vibe with its blue and orange interiors and cute accents.

We started with a refreshing glass of Iced Tea (PHP90) and it deserved to be called a house blend as it definitely did not taste like your usual glass of iced tea. It had a nice blend of tangy and sweet taste.

First dish served was Ceviche Nikkei (PHP290) and I couldn't think of a better way to start our meal with than this. Salmon chunks swimming in coconut milk and citrus juice was great! Its tangy taste definitely whet my appetite. (Note: I'm a fan of ceviche or kilawin so I'm biased with this one.)

Next served was Anticuchos de Corazon (PHP320) and I wasn't very excited to eat it after finding out that it's skewered beef heart. But its mouthwatering aroma was just too much for me not to give it a try. And surprisingly, it was tasty with its salty and slight spicy flavor from the chimichurri and aji amarillo sauce. I wasn't too crazy though with its tough texture.

I got scared when Rocoto Chicken Wings (PHP200) was introduced as a spicy dish. Rocoto, or the Peruvian red pepper powder was described to be similar to Sriracha. I was surprised though that it was very mild for a spicy dish. Considering that I have very low spice tolerance, for me to claim that the dish wasn't spicy says something.

Three pasta dishes were served next namely Pasta a la Huancaina (PHP250), Chorizo con Pasta (PHP250) and Pasta Verde (PHP250).

I sampled Pasta Verde first and it was awesome! I loved the lovely taste of cilantro which was well complemented by garlic, onions, lemon and Parmesan cheese. I might be a bit biased though as I love pasta dishes with a nice herbal flavor.

Pasta a la Huancaina reminded me of carbonara with its creamy taste from the huancaina sauce which is the Peruvian cheese sauce made by blending aji peppers, cheese and onions. Though the pasta itself had a nice light flavor, the chicken chunks were very salty. Best to eat the chunks with a forkful of linguine.

Chorizo con Pasta was described to be hot with chili too but it also lacked the heat we were looking for after hearing that this dish is spicy. Taste-wise though, it was good. It was like your usual pomodoro pasta but with a bit of herb taste from the cilantro oil.

For mains, we had Lomo Saltado (PHP450 | PHP1,190, grande), Adobo Peruvia (PHP400 | PHP1,190, grande), Arroz con Mariscos (PHP450 | PHP1,190, grande) and Pollo a la Brasa (PHP380 | PHP750, grande).

The Lomo Saltado was extremely salty. Though I understand that the
meat should go with the fried potatoes, it was just too salty for my liking. The beef tenderloin strips were not as tender as I wanted it to be too. Needless to say, I didn't fancy this dish.

As a chicken lover, I was excited to try Pollo a la Brasa. Also, I only equate Peruvian dish with chicken. Peru = Peruvian Chicken. Its golden brown skin paired with what looked like perfectly seasoned fries made me drool. But it was dry and a bit on the bland side. The skin was packed with flavor but the marinate didn't go all the way to the white meat. I guess you have to put a generous serving of chimichurri or aji cilantro for taste. The fries were good though.

Cocina Peruvia's version of Seafood Paella, Arroz con Mariscos had generous serving of shrimps, mussels and squids. However, the flavor was not properly mixed. Some parts were too flavorful while some were on the bland side. Best to mix this before scooping a portion. Drizzle it with lemon juice for a lovely contrast of flavors.

My favorite entree was Adobo Peruvia. The pork belly was very tender and the cream sauce made it not your usual adobo. It didn't use vinegar or soy sauce like how we Filipinos do it but this creamy version was spectacular. The dish could be too flavorful though so it is best to pair this with rice.

To cap our feast, we indulged in Galera de Chocolate (PHP350) which was an instant hit with everyone. Its rich dark chocolate tart was definitely hard to hate. The corn and potato crisps added texture to the divine treat (though unnecessary) and the figs gave it a bit of fruity taste.

We all left full and ready to hit the sack. Overall, it was a fun night. I have some favorites I would love to go back to. But given the misses as well during the night, I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. BUT, I will definitely go back for more Adodo Peruvia!

Thank you, looloo team for the invite! It was a pleasure to be with old (members but young... at heart) and new faces again!

  • No. of Comments: 9


4.0 Stars

It was just a few months ago when Providore delighted my tummy with its superb Bone Marrow Burger. I had a quick chat with A, one of the owners of Raintree Restaurants and I got an insider info that they plan to open an al fresco dining area to serve early morning meals and after work drinks. And last February 8, Providore Backyard, finally opened.

Hello, Providore Backyard!

The chic white shed, faux grass and bar were the first things we saw as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned section of Providore. Not only does the set up recreate a “backyard look”, it also exudes a very homey and relaxed ambiance perfect for that well deserved nightcap.

Since we wanted to stick with some light snacks, R and I opted to go with Cali Dog (PHP295) and Steel Plate Nachos (PHP395). For drinks, we went with Red Sangria (PHP275) and Margarita Berry (PHP225).

First served were our drinks and both were pretty good.

The red sangria had a good amount of fruit chunks to make the drink sweet and refreshing.

The Margarita Berry was delightful too. Though it may not have the same punch as other margaritas you’d get elsewhere,

I liked that I could have a glass or two of this delectable drink without having to worry about wobbling home.

The huge plate of nachos was served next and it was packed with cheese, guacamole, onions, pickles and tomato bits guaranteeing each mouthful to tickle your taste buds.

What I loved most about this dish though was that the nacho chips remained crispy despite swimming in toppings for 20 minutes or so. (We had to wait for Cali-Dog before indulging in this great for sharing plate of goodies. Coz, flatlay.)

Though the Cali-Dog didn’t have what we’d call mouthwatering plating, it made up for its lack of Instagram worthiness with taste.

I love the snap I get from each bite of the hotdog and the generous serving of sauerkraut, mustard and bacon bits. The fries on the side were perfectly seasoned too and complemented the hotdog.

Though we were only able to try the casual snacks and bar chows, Providore Backyard also offers breakfast meals. And great news to early risers! This picturesque al fresco dining area is open as early as 8 am. Fret not night owls as you could still get your late night grub till 2am.

  • No. of Comments: 0

LAVA Cheese Tarts

4.0 Stars

[Super late post.]

It has been a while since I last dropped by Lava for my cheese tart fix. I try to avoid it as I’ve had a lot during Christmas break (or any break in general). But when my tummy craves, my whole body follows. And so, I found myself in front of Lava one early afternoon.

Hello again, Lava Cheese Tarts!

This time around, I noticed that Lava has a new variant and it’s a sweet one at that. Literally.

Presenting, Gorgonzola and Honey Cheese Tart.

This is perfect for those looking for a sharper cheese taste beautifully balanced by the sweetness of honey. (If you are a fan of honey and cheese combo, then you would love this!)

Though pricier at PHP85 per piece compared to the classic or original at PHP80, I do not mind the small price difference as the stronger taste is worth it! Plus I'm the market of this combo as I feast on slices of cheese and honey once a week! It is definitely a nice treat to have.

I still have yet to try its coffee but I prefer pairing my cheese tart with milk.

  • No. of Comments: 0

Papa Diddi's Handcrafted Ice Cream

4.0 Stars
Ice Cream

I still vaguely remember the first time I visited Papa Diddi’s (which I have yet to blog). And just when I thought that Papa Diddi’s is all about cold treats, I came across its Sapphire Bloc branch and found out that this daddy can whip up savory dishes as well.

Hello, Papa Diddi’s!

Unlike its cramped Maginhawa branch, Papa Diddi’s Ortigas branch is a lot more spacious and had more interesting interiors. Just look at that book chandelier!

I passed by the area at bit past 9 p.m., coming from an event hosted by Real Living magazine, hungry and craving for something warm and filling.

After a few minutes of flipping the menu pages, I decided to go with Champorado and Bagnet (PHP199) because I’m a sucker for breakfast dishes.

While waiting, I kept thinking of which pants to destroy to recreate the denim placemats of Papa Diddi’s. And I was not yet done with choosing which pants to murder when my food arrived. I was impressed as it didn’t take them more than 10 minutes to serve my order.

My champorado and bagnet were served on a wooden paddle that seemed to be meant as pot holder. On the side were milk and sour salt.

I sampled the champorado first without any milk and it was already good. It was chocolatey and the grains were not overly soft or mushy. I then poured some milk after and it didn’t really do much difference to the taste.

The bagnet on the other hand was crunchy and salty, creating a nice contrast against the sweet champorado. I sprinkled it with some sour salt giving the crunchy pork a stronger (and tangier) taste!

I can’t wait to try Papa Diddi’s other dishes!

P.S. Papa Diddi’s air conditioning units are pretty powerful. Make sure you have a cardigan or shawl handy when you drop by.

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4.0 Stars

Ola amigos and amigas! Those are the words that come in mind when I think of Gringo, a restaurant known for its delectable baked chicken. And when I found out that Gringo opened a branch in BGC, I was beyond ecstatic! I could finally sink my teeth into some of Gringo’s well-loved chicken.

Hello, Gringo.

After a tiring walk around High Street and Burgos Circle to do some errands, I decided to reward myself with a nice meal before heading back home. And it was the perfect time to stop by Gringo.

I was warmly greeted by one of the staff and ushered me to a vacant table. He quickly handed the menu and gave me a glass of cold water.

After some thought, I ordered Quarter of Gringo Original Chicken with two sides (PHP225). For sides, I went with marbled potatoes and roasted squash. I also got a glass of House-brewed Iced Tea (PHP75).

Service was fast as my glass of iced tea was served after three minutes. And it sure was no Nestea or Lipton.

I have nothing against the two popular brands but I just do not like it when restaurants claim that they served house-brewed iced tea only to drink those ready-to-drink ones. Gringo’s iced tea has a nice dark tea taste which I love. But it’s best to wait for the ice to melt a bit as the drink could be a bit too flavorful to quench one’s thirst. (But hey, that means more iced tea!)

My plate of baked herby chicken was served next and I quickly took some snapshots without realizing that one of the sides I got was wrong. Instead of squash, I got eggplant. But the staff quickly replaced it after I pointed it out.

And true to most reviews, Gringo’s chicken delights and tickles the taste buds. The poultry marinated in various herbs and lemon was indeed flavorful and juicy. It was like a healthier version of KFC, only way better! It didn’t need any of the two sauces it comes with.

I would have preferred my sides to be a bit mushy as I found both to be too hard. But I guess it was cooked as such to add texture to the beautifully moist chicken. Just don’t expect for equally tasty side dishes as these ones were lightly seasoned.

Overall, it was a very pleasant dining experience. I didn’t get weird looks from the crew as I get the centerpiece from the other table for flat lay. Service was quick and everything was affordable.

Will I go back? Definitely!

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