My Reviews

Tomatito Manila

4.0 Stars
Spanish
6

Happy anniversary, Tomatito Manila!

Tomatito is a sexy tapas bar in BGC. They celebrated their first anniversary recently and it was a success! I first tried Tomatito during an event and absolutely loved everything I had. My favorite would be their Salmon TNT. It’s just so perfect. 128517

Tomatito is from the same group that set up Las Flores and La Lola. Its space is relatively huge. I love their interiors - neon lights, rugged designs and furnitures, and colorful walls and couches. It’s perfect for dates and night caps with friends.

During their anniversary night, we were treated to overflowing alcohol. Name it - from whiskey to champagne, from sangria to wine, beer to cocktails. My first drink was Chivas on the rocks. It’s just a pretty good welcome drink. Then I had Lolea. Then champagne. Them back to Lolea. Surely, I had fun.

The music that night was truly lively. Everyone had fun dancing and drinking.

I wasn’t able to try the food that were served that night but I saw they served cold cuts and cheese, and sandwiches too!

Thanks Tomatito and |ooloo! 128153 I’ll definitely be back here for Salmon TNT. 🙂

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Starbucks Coffee

5.0 Stars
Coffee

Current favorite: Grande Iced Soy Caramel Macchiato with less syrup (sweetener).

I thought it’s kind of weird at first, but I really like the balance of coffee and soy milk. 9749

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Glasshouse by Harlan + Holden

3.0 Stars
Café
5

This is one of those restaurants that I’m excited to visit due to its beautiful interiors and sophisticated ambiance. This also became trending on Instagram for the same reasons.

I went here with Cindy S and Edison A. Since we’re full from a heavy lunch, we just had drinks here and dessert.

I ordered matcha latte. It’s kind of too milky for me. It has a nice matcha kick, but I prefer it to be stronger next time. Cindy and Edison ordered coffee. If I remember it right, Cindy tried their hot mocha. At first sip, she told me it’s too acidic. She told me try it, and yeah, she was right. Usually, coffee has sour aftertaste due to the nature of the beans used or how the beans were grounded. But their coffee is already sour as it is. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, but I didn’t like its taste, tbh.

Edison tried the iced version and had the milk changed to almond milk (+25php). Same as Cindy’s, it’s kind of sour. We just had a few sips and didn’t finish the drinks. More than half pa yung naiwan.

Good thing we ordered their New York Cheesecake. It’s game changer. It’s so rich and I liked its consistency. 🙂 Definitely one of their best sellers!

When our bill arrived, we saw that the staff who took our orders forgot to note the additional almond milk in Edison’s drink. We actually didn’t notice, as we left his drink untouched after maybe 1-2 sips. After we settled the bill, one of the staff approached us and asked for feedback. We politely told her our observations and she was receptive to it. She even asked us to write it down and gave us feedback form. She said that they’re still figuring out what to improve as they have just opened few months back.

2.5 stars for now, Harlan and Holden. I’ll be back to try your food and other meals. And I hope you improve your coffee and drinks as I really love your location and interiors. 🙂

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Bake Cheese Tart

5.0 Stars
Bakery

Finally had the chance to visit Podium last Friday to try Bake cheese tarts.

For 95php, I think it’s a steal. I was expecting it to be over 100php. There was no line when I visited. I like its crust, it was not too messy to eat.

I actually bought a box of 6 (540php) as pasalubong to my sister and Mommy but I actually ended up eating most the next day. I ate it cold as what the staff suggested but I think I prefer eating it fresh off the oven.

P.S. Thanks guys for the recos! 🤗

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El Union Coffee

5.0 Stars
Coffee

I couldn’t believe that this is going to be my first review of this coffee shop here on |ooloo ‘coz I’ve been here like more than 10 times already. There’s something about this place, I’m not sure if it’s magic or magnet or what but I just keep on coming back.

My default order is their Dirty Horchata. Well if you read Denise J’s article on |ooloo insights (see what I did there? I’m reading!!!), horchata (pronounced as or-cha-ta) is a drink that the Spaniards invented. It was originally called horchata de chufa but later on just called horchata as Mexicans used rice as main ingredient instead of chufa nuts. There are a lot of variations now in this drink and one of my favorites is the one with coffee in it.

El Union’s version is very refreshing with strong kick of caffeine. It has cinnamon powder on top which I find very addicting. You couldn’t just leave Elyu without trying this drink.

Five stars for El Union. As always. 10084

Hello Cindy S Angela Marie C and THE perfect Sandy P 128517

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Commune

5.0 Stars
Café
3

Good coffee, warm ambiance, and nice location. That’s Commune.

I went here with Cindy S one morning for breakfast. For coffee, we had their Cappuccino with 3D latte art. I liked the taste of their coffee, it’s strong and not sweet. They gave us sweetener, just in case, which I think is muscuvado sugar. The 3D art was too cute! I didn’t want to drink the coffee because I wanted to keep it as cute as it is the whole time. 128517

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Yellow Cab Pizza Co.

4.0 Stars
Pizza

While most of the pizza places we know have promos for the World Pizza Day on Feb 8, Yellow Cab raised the bar higher by having week-long promo. Yellow Cab will have its first ever World Pizza Week this week!

It actually started last Sunday and will end on the 10th. They offer BUY 2 TAKE 2 promo daily! Schedule as follows.

Schedule:
Feb 4: Gilroy Garlic and Hustlers (500php)
Feb 5: Hawaiian and Hustlers (500php)
Feb 6: #4 Cheese and Husters (500php)
Feb 7: Manhattan Meatlovers and Hustlers (560php)
Feb 9: Barbeque Chicken and Hustlers (560php)
Feb 10: New York Classic and Hustlers (500php)

For Feb 8, for 299php you’ll get unlimited slices of NY Finest and #4 Cheese pizzas. Unli Mountain Soda too! It’s a steal if you ask me.

I tried eating as much as I can during their event but of course, diet. Lol. Anyway, let’s just see each other in the nearest Yellow Cab branch on Feb 8! Hmmmm I’ll probably be at their Burgos Circle branch to pig out. Yeeeeeba. Peace out. 🤗

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PizzaExpress

5.0 Stars
Pizza
10

“PizzaExpress is something that’s not old, but it’s not young. It doesn’t get old, nor young.” This is one of my key takeaways from last Friday’s |ooloo rendezvoos. It only goes to show that PizzaExpress is timeless, and can adapt to its market, location, and trends. And I think this is also the reason why the brand is still here, still strong and kicking, and actually growing since 1965.

It’s so hard to say no to Peanut D.'s invite so despite being busy at work, I made sure to attend this carbo-filled rendezvoos. And it was actually a good decision.

PizzaExpress is a restaurant that originated in UK. The founder, Peter Boizot, wanted to have great tasting pizzas in UK. He loves art and jazz, so one can expect beautiful interiors in every PizzaExpress branch. The one in Uptown Mall is actually pretty good with a nice view of the kitchen. I love the fact that customers can see how their orders are prepared. I also like the colors of the interiors – gold, green, blue, and brown. It’s not your typical bright and artsy restaurant, but it’s both simple and sophisticated.

For the food, my three favorites include Baked Dough Balls, Burrata Caprese, and the American Hottest Pizza. Trust me when I say that the Baked Dough Balls are addicting. They’re too bad for anyone’s diet. No one can stop munching these. It’s not possible. I particularly liked the Pesto Genovese dip. It’s just so perfect.

The Burrata Caprese was love at first bite. It’s made with Burrata cheese, pesto Genovese, and pine nuts. I actually exclaimed that this tastes better than love. “Promise, mas masarap pa ‘to sa love.” If I can have this every day, I will. *wink*

The American Hottest Pizza is PizzaExpress’ spiciest pizza. It’s made with fresh green peppers, jalapeño, and red chili. It surely is spicy, but it’s more than that. I could still taste the mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and salami in each bite. It’s super good. If you’re looking for something different and with extra kick, get this one.

We were also served pasta dishes and salad. Their Spaghetti Frutti di Mare was exceptional. I loved its smoky taste and generous serving of shrimps, squid, and clams. It’s a bit spicy, but tolerable. For 395php, the serving size is actually good if you ask me. And besides, it’s for sharing! The Penne Pollo Piccante was also good. I like the generous serving of chicken strips. It’s creamy and light. For the salad, we had Leggara Superfood. This is packed with fiber and protein as it’s a mix of fresh greens, avocado, beetroot, pine nuts, and fresh mozzarella. I like how light it is, perfect to start any meal.

They also served us their Liguria pizza aka seafood pizza. It’s with prawns, mussels, squid, clams, capers olives, garlic, and parsley. The staff highlighted that this has no mozzarella and tomato but bechamel sauce instead. This pizza was also a favorite that night. It’s super packed with flavors and I love the big portions of every ingredient here. I was able to share this with my officemates when I went back to work and my entire team was all praises for this pizza.

Lastly, to end our delicious and carb-filled dinner, we tried some of their desserts. I was able to taste their Big Bad Brownie (260php). It’s chocolate brownie chunks served with vanilla gelato, cream, biscotti, wafer, and pistachio and topped with caramel sauce. The brownies were moist and chewy, which I actually liked. The caramel sauce also went well with vanilla ice cream. This dessert can be shared by three people I guess, as it’s also heavy.

Overall, I loved everything we had. I heard a lot of praises for food in our table especially for the Burrata Caprese, Frutti di Mare, and Dough Balls. And the praises I’m talking about are far more than “ang sarap” and “ang sarap-sarap!” I’m not sure if I can swear here on my |ooloo review but the expression that Angela Marie C., Cindy S., and I were using was “<insert mura here> ang sarap!!!”

Gazillion thanks again |ooloo and Peanut D. for the invite. You guys are the best. And of course, I enjoyed the night meeting my fellow reviewers! 128153 Cindy S Angela Marie C Midz S Chizbun - Cherrie P Will C Jayson J Abe C Kiko G Ruth S Cris M 🤗

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Nomads BBQ + Refuge

5.0 Stars
Fusion
6

This is not my first visit to Nomads as I have tried it last year during Foodgrammerph's event. I remember liking my experience before so when AlwaysHungryPh P. invited me and other foodies for dinner, I just had to say yes.

The first thing I noticed about the place is its interiors. It’s pretty cool that they have indoor and outdoor set-up. The latter has an artsy and rustic feel. I especially love the wall art. The ambiance inside is kind of more intimate. It’s quite dim so you may expect privacy. It’s for people who just want to enjoy good food with their friends in a homey feel.

I learned during this visit that they serve Mongolian Bowls. I loved how they give liberty to their customers on what to put in their bowls. Neil (of IG: @spoonsaroundtheworld) and I shared and we put so much beef in it. We added eggs and veggies for balance. We opted for a unique taste so we mixed all the sauces available. Guess what? It turned out so good. I will be back for this.

We also had few of their best-sellers. I got to taste their Kimchi Cheesesticks and I’m all praises for it. It’s spicy, sour, and salty all at the same time. I didn’t know that kimchi and cheese will go so well together.

I also tried their Umami fries and it lived up to its name. It’s really flavorful that I just couldn’t help myself in getting another bite. It was addicting. The sriracha mayo on the side gave it a nice kick. We also had their Veggie Dumplings and Salted Pork and Shrimp Dumplings. I like the latter better because it’s very rich in flavors!

Lastly, my favorite during this visit is their wagyu cubes on top of rice and nori. It’s melt-in-your-mouth and the combination of everything is just perfect.

Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner here. I would be back for more.

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Bench Cafe

5.0 Stars
Café
10

I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts lately regarding Bench Café. Yes the Bench Group, one of the leading clothing retail giants, partnered with FooDee Global Concepts to form the newest artsy Filipino café in the Metro.

Bench Café is located at the second floor of the flagship store of Bench/ in BGC. It is set to open its doors to the public on Thursday, January 25.

THE CONCEPT

Eric Dee of the FooDee Group shared a lot of things to us during this |ooloo rendezvoos. He revealed to us that initially when they were still starting Bench Café, they wanted a family-style restaurant. This means more of for-sharing plates. However, they thought that the price per dish will be too costly, maybe around 350php to 500php. Mr. Ben Chan from the Bench/ group wanted the café to be more consumer friendly.

Bench Café serves Filipino food. If the Japanese have bento, this café has Bench/To. These are 10 food combinations with price starting from 200php. Each bench/to can be upgraded to have soup of the day. The soup can be monggo, tinola, sinigang and bulalo depending on what’s available. The café also has SILOG meals such as tapa, spam, tocino, longganisa, etc. Each silog meal can be converted to be eaten with Pinoy panini. They use ensaymada bun for their paninis and each order comes with homemade taro chips.

All orders are served in a tray (banig-style, which I like tbh), making this café be thought as a “glamorized turo-turo.”

THE FOOD

For appetizers, we had Tinapa Cones and Sisig Lettuce Cups.

Though too salty for others, I truly liked the Tinapa Cones. These are crispy lumpia cones filled with tinapa mousse, and topped with salsa. The mousse is very rich and bold in terms of flavors. The tinapa taste was very evident in every bite. The Sisig Lettuce Cups on the other hand kind of reminds me of sampgyeopsal lettuce wraps of Koreans. The sisig is topped with calamansi foam, which I found cool. It’s a perfect combination, in my opinion.

During this event, we were given the liberty to choose which bench/to combination we liked to try. I had the Dancing Fish with Dilis rice. The fish was very crispy that you can eat it as it is without deboning. I liked how it tasted, not too salty which complemented well my dilis rice.

I had the chance to taste the orders of Christina R Midz S Sandy P Cindy S and Patrick V. They had Inasal Liempo, and Salted Egg Chicken. The liempo was soft and tender and really had a nice smokey taste. I loved how premium the meat was, as evident in its five layers: meat-fat-meat-fat-skin. The Salted Egg Chicken was pretty good too. I just love anything with salted egg flavor.

For the sides, I enjoyed the Gising-gising and Tinola. The former was not too spicy maybe, to suit the more general public palate. I prefer it a bit spicier though. Gusto ko sa gising-gising yung sobrang anghang, yung magigising talaga ako sa katotohanan. Oha! The Tinola, on the other hand, was perfect. I loved it so much though I’m really not a fan of this dish in general. Kudos!

For the dessert, we had Ube Halo-Halo, White Halo-Halo, and Flan B. Out of these, I liked the White Halo-Halo the best. It’s with coconut, macapuno, garbanzos, banana, nata de coco, leche flan, and coconut ice cream. Super super good. It’s very sulit, and I think I can finish 2 orders. The Ube Halo-Halo was good too, but it’s more of the usual one. The Flan B was spectacular as well. It’s filled with macapuno, and it’s such a nice surprise!

In my opinion, their desserts are so good that they can open a dessert-only Bench Café and it would still be a hit.

THE PLACE

It’s very artsy. I loved all the wall arts and the designs on the shelves.

It’s very colorful. The pastel pink couches, white and olive green walls, and colorful stained glasses on the windows make the overall vibe lively.

It’s very millennial. The interior design is on point and I loved the grand staircase connecting the lifestyle store to the café. Every spot can be an Instagram spot.

THE SERVICE

The service was superb. I think the staff handled us well considering that we have a lot of requests as foodies. Considering the big crowd that night, the servers were still all smiles which I truly appreciate.

P.S. They also have cocktails here. I tried the CIRCA 1987 and I liked it. It’s kind of sweet and sour at the same time, but it truly worked for me.

As always, thank you Peanut D for the invite. Hooray for my first |ooloo rendezvoos this 2018!

Nice seeing you again guys and cheers to more foodie events this year! Cindy S Patrick V Sandy P Midz S Christina R Jairus d Clarissa P Reich T Ruth D Ruth S 128153

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