My Reviews

Costa Coffee

5.0 Stars
Coffee
9

Costa Coffee Philippines has officially launched “Wish Upon A Costa” campaign to feature a great selection of food and drinks to celebrate the holiday season. The campaign officially started last 15th of November and is aiming to capture the festive vibe of the upcoming holidays! We’re lucky to be invited by Costa Coffee via a looloo rendezvoos last week to feast on the holiday menu!
 
We started our rendezvoos with their appetizing selection of holiday cakes and pastries.
 
For the cakes, we had Purple-Glazed cake, Merry Choco Mint cake, and Candy Cane Cake. 
 
The purple-glazed cake is an Ube sponge cake with layers of yema and frosting on top. It’s smooth and not too sweet which surprised me. It looks really sweet at first sight, but it’s more than just the sweetness that I thought it was. Although the ube flavor isn’t that sharp for me, I still find it good and not too overwhelming to the taste.
 
Candy Cane cake is a Vanilla chiffon cake with layers of cream cheese and buttercream. I quite liked it although I find this one the sweetest among the three cakes we tried, but well, not as sweet as the other cakes outside. It’s still a good catch if you ask me.
 
Merry Choco Mint cake is definitely my most favorite among the three. It’s a chocolate sponge cake layered with buttercream and peppermint. I really enjoyed this one the most as the minty flavor is a bit strong which is a great addition to the moist chocolate cake. It’s not that sweet too which I love so to avoid having that cloying taste after finishing a slice. I bet I can finish a slice or two of these in just a snap of the fingers! 128517
 
For the pastries, we tried the Cheesecake Yule bar and Gingerbread cookie.
 
Gingerbread Cookie has a strong cinnamon taste which I find good. This is something good to pair with their coffee.
 
Cheesecake Yule bar is definitely the killer! Since it’s the yuletide season, you deserve this delightful bar of cheesecake goodness. I love it because the graham-layered bottom is thin but still moist, which means more room for the cream cheese layer in the middle! And the chocolate ganache on top is like the icing on a cake which makes it even more special. Well, even if there’s no chocolate ganache on top of it I will still love it! Will definitely get this again on my next visit!
 
For the hot drinks, we had Billionaire’s Hot Chocolate, Golden Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, and Salted Pistachio Mocha.
 
Billionaire’s Hot Chocolate is a creamy hot chocolate drink with caramel and topped with caramel and golden crumbs. They call it Billionaire’s hot chocolate due to its rich dark chocolate taste. A bit sweet for me but I like it anyhow!
 
Golden Hazelnut Hot Chocolate is a much sweeter hot chocolate drink with roasted hazelnut syrup and then topped with whipped cream and cookie curls. This is something you can get for the kids or the young ones as the sweetness tastes a lot like the holiday!
 
Salted Pistachio Mocha is totally my most favorite among the hot drinks! It’s not your usual mocha as it’s infused with salted pistachio syrup which works well in this drink. It also comes with a pistachio cookie on the side to pair with your drink. I absolutely love this because of two things: (1) not overly sweet, and (2) you can still taste coffee even though it’s not purely just espresso. This made me appreciate mocha as I usually just go for coffee with milk (latte, flat white) or just coffee alone. 
 
Move over Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Salted Pistachio Mocha is the real flavor of the holiday season!
 
For the Frostinos or Iced-blended drinks, we tried the Candy Cane Frostino, Salted Pistachio Mocha Frostino, and Golden Hazelnut Frostino.
 
Candy Cane Frostino is a chocolate drink that has mint and then topped with whipped cream, candy crumbs, and strawberry syrup. This is probably the sweetest drink among the three frostinos they serve; and just like the Golden Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, this is something that kids or teens will surely love! Yes, I’m not a teen anymore. I just act like one. HAHA jk
 
Next, we had Golden Hazelnut Frostino which is just the iced-blended version of the Golden Hazelnut hot chocolate that has roasted hazelnut syrup and then topped with whipped cream and cookie curls. This is also sweet for my taste but less sweet than the Candy Cane one.
 
Lastly, we had the Salted Pistachio Mocha Frostino and just like what I expected – I love it! It’s the Iced-blended version of the hot drink of the same name that I love as well. I usually don’t go for iced-blended drinks nowadays because I fear that my sugar level goes up, but this one’s an exception! It’s not as I thought it would be and I love it!

It’s that time of endless celebrations here and there, so why not go ahead and spoil yourself with Costa Coffee’s selection of festive food and drinks!

Thank you looloo for the invite and great to see everyone again! Happy holidays, everyone!!!

Roegan T FoodventuresByFrapao T Aileen L Cindy S Norman Lester T Herl C Julie L

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Toritake

4.0 Stars
Japanese
9

Toritake is a must-visit for Chicken lovers like me. It’s a Yakitori place that originated from Shibuya, Japan in 1963 as an Izakaya or a Japanese bar that’s serving authentic Grilled chicken alongside with their selection of liquors. I was recently invited together with other fellow loolooers to finally try Toritake at their first international branch that was opened last July 2018 at the UP Town Center in Quezon City.

We started with Yakitori set which consists of Yakitori, Tsukune, Kawa, Teba, and P-man. Grilled chicken or Yakitori is savory and juicy. I love the tenderness of the meat and the flavor is heavenly good! Tsukune or the chicken meatball was also good although I find it too overwhelming to the palate if you had a lot, so I decided to combine it with P-man or Green bell peppers to neutralize my palate and to add some little hints of spices. Haven’t tried the others as I have overdosed myself with Yakitori and Tsukune with P-man. 128513
 
Next, we tried the Torinabe which is the hotpot with chicken thigh and breast, and some vegetables. This was savory but also a bit salty for my taste. Might be because it’s been cooking for so long and then left it cold for a while due to our photoshoot. So be sure to eat this as soon as it’s cooked.
 
Chicken Karaage is pretty good. Not too overwhelming for my taste - just the right amount of flavors.
 
Then I was able to try two of their rice meals – the Oyako Don, and Chicken Kijiyakidon.
 
The Oyako Don which basically is Fried Chicken cutlet, Rice and Egg is pretty good. Not too salty for me and it’s really filling too.
 
The Chicken Kijiyakidon which has Grilled chicken on top of the white rice is also good. I like the juicy chicken on top of just white rice instead of adding more stuff like egg, or so.
 
Next, we had Deep-fried Aged Tofu which I absolutely love. Tofu is like a blank canvas and you can do anything on it. It’s good that they have tofu on the menu as it’s something stimulating to neutralize the palate from all those savory chicken dishes.
 
Japanese Love is one of their specialty cocktails and I kinda like it – quite strong from the usual. It’s a bit sweet which will perfectly match your choice of Yakitori.
 
Overall, food is good! It might be overwhelming for someone to have lots of chicken especially if it’s delicious and flavorful, so I guess adding some non-chicken food is intentional like Grilled Tofu and Green Bell peppers, which works well.
 
We also love the ambiance of the place as it reminds me of a Japanese bar where you can drink and eat with friends or just by yourself.
 
Thank you Toritake for letting us try your first branch outside Japan, and big thanks to Looloo for inviting us!

Flatlay by Julie L

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Salamangka

4.0 Stars
Café
7

Trying out this newly-opened café in Eastwood on a gloomy afternoon. I used to pass by this place whenever I’m heading to Eastwood mall from my workplace and it caught my attention with its distinctive mural inside the café which depicts a ghostly tree.

Upon entering the place, I instantly noticed a mural of some of the popular Filipino mythical creatures such as aswang, manananggal, tiktik, etc. I was able to speak with one of the baristas and gave me a little walkthrough on their menu particularly with their coffee selection. He added that the owners of this “magical” café are also the same crew behind the Exchange Alley Coffee house in Alabang, thus, they’re using the same coffee beans for their coffee.

I just went for a hot cup of Latte priced at PHP 160. I’ve never tried Exchange Alley coffee house yet, so I can’t make a justified comparison between the two…for now. I like their coffee, but it’s not as strong as Toby’s or YDG (which I both love). It’s a bit light for my taste but not too creamy or milky.

Would love to go back and try their other coffee especially the Flat White, and one of their signatures which is the Chocnut Latte.

By the way, they’re also serving Homemade cocktails aside from coffee and food. This café is also a perfect #coffice / #alcoffice place as there are outlets inside. Having coffee or cocktails while working can be so good, right? 128513

Giving this visit a 4-star rating for now.

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Banh Mi Kitchen

5.0 Stars
Vietnamese

Banh Mi Kitchen has become one of my favorite Banh mi places – well, most favorite! I’ve always loved the Protein Monster (usually getting this after workout), and the Classic – both I’ve tried from my previous visits at different branches. This time I decided to try the Lemongrass Chicken priced at PHP149 for full serving.

I really like the consistency of their banh mi in terms of crunchiness. Aside from that, it’s filled with Vietnamese BBQ chicken and everything you’d expect in a banh mi – pate, cucumber, pickled radish, carrots, mayo, and hoisin sauce. One thing I noticed with their banh mi is the strong taste of pate which I wouldn’t mind ‘cause I like it, as it adds more rhythm to the flavor.

I guess I can totally say that this is definitely the best Banh Mi place among everything I’ve tried so far!

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K&L Cafe by Blushing Cupcakes

5.0 Stars
Café
7

Went back to K&L Café to have a cup of coffee after having lunch nearby and from night shift to keep me going for a few more hours of work to support our BlackFriday promotions and launch. I also went back here to get a bag of Figures of Beans Sagada Dark roast ground coffee for my #HomeBrewing weekends with the fam! 9749128106

I got my usual Cafe Latté and it’s still good ever since I tried it for the first time. They’re using Sagada Dark Roast ground coffee for their coffee which I think is perfect to match the foamy top of the coffee. I also tried the Red Velvet Surprise cupcake and I like it as well. It’s moist and it’s a perfect partner to your coffee.

Since K&L is bringing Baguio closer to Manila, I took the chance to buy some Baguio-crafted products here such as the Strawberry jam, and Special homemade organic tablea chocolate!

I bumped into one of the owners of the café, Loren and gave me a take-out chocolate cake! Yaaay! Thank you! 128525128525128525

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Arrowland by Gandiva

5.0 Stars
Sports Club
8

We have unleashed the inner Legolas and Robin Hood in us when our team went here at Arrowland by Gandiva for our Team Quarterly Engagement activity. I’ve visited the first Gandiva café before in Ortigas with other loolooers a few years back, and quite learned a bit with the proper formation, etc so I’m quite confident this time that I might actually hit one of the lines outside the bull’s eye! 🤣🤣🤣

Since we’re a group of 8, we’ve availed two sets of 120 arrows worth PHP 1,020 that’s good for 4 persons. Added PHP 40 each so we can take home our own target papers.

The staffs are very helpful whether you’re a beginner or not. They made sure that our formation and aim are all correct to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

I was able to hit my target, or rather goal - to at least hit the lines outside the bull’s eye!

For more info about the price, check the last photo. 🏹

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Yechon Korean Restaurant

4.0 Stars
Korean
6

Yechon has previously opened their branch in Mandaluyong and probably the first Korean BBQ Grill to open in the Maysilo area. My parents and I were able to dine in during the soft opening period, in which they had the opening promo of PHP399 per head for an unlimited serving of beef and pork in buffet setup.

Unlike most Korean BBQ Grill I’ve been to - Yechon has a buffet setup where you will get your sidings on your own. Sidings like Kimchi, Japchae, rice, lettuce, Tofu pancake, seafood pancake, and even some desserts like the Buko Pandan are available at the table. But the pork and beef will be served upon request and a few variants are available such as the Original, Marinated, and Spicy for both meats. They don’t have chicken by the way, but I’m filled and satisfied with everything we had.

As a diner during the soft opening period, we were served with two dishes that aren’t available yet on the buffet – which are the Beef Bulgogi, and Steamed Egg. Beef Bulgogi is okay, but the Steamed Egg is definitely my favorite. #gainz before training!

Korean Grills are becoming a craze nowadays and I see why Yechon has branched out to Mandaluyong to reach out more people to fulfill their cravings without spending too much, and without going too far away from their homes.

Regular Unlimited rate is at PHP499 per head.

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JD's Takoyaki & Donburi

4.0 Stars
Japanese
3

What most people love with Eden Food Hall is the wide variety of dishes you can try at a very affordable price. One of which is JD’s Takoyaki – which I had first tried at the 26thStreet Mercato and find it just okay.

I decided to give it a second try here at their new-found home in Eden Food Hall and I liked it. The takoyaki balls are cooked evenly and it’s pretty filling. Not bad for its price of 80 pesos.

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Cafe Enye

4.0 Stars
Fusion
2

Went here on a Friday night for dinner after workout. Decided to try Tapa Buns from the Appetizers, and Chicken Mojo Skewers from the Mains selection.

Tapa Buns – 3 pcs. of soft and savory buns filled with their tasty tapa on top of the garlic shoestring potatoes. Really love this as the cured beef was sweet and savory. I got one more order for take-home ‘cause it’s really good.

Chicken Mojo Skewers is filling but felt like it somehow lacked some kick. The dish consists of 2 sticks of Grilled chicken skewers, cilantro yogurt on top, Latina salssa, and served with Enye rice. The serving was quite generous and filling though.

As Enye bids their last curtain call to Eastwood, their BGC branch is still open and will continue to serve their specialty dishes. Thank you Enye for the 5 memorable dining years in Eastwood!

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Ilustrado

5.0 Stars
Filipino
10

There are things that never gets old. For Ilustrado, it’s the reputation for serving succulent Spanish-Filipino cuisine in a genuine fashion that’ll make you reminisce of the early decades.

Founded by Rose and Boni Pimentel in 1989, Ilustrado is a charm tucked away from the pillar walls of Intramuros - which has been one of Manila’s historical landmarks. The restaurant has witnessed history, and made history! But what truly remains for Ilustrado is to offer world-class dishes that would represent Manila and its rich culture.

To coincide with the restaraunt’s 29th anniversary, Ilustrado introduced an 8-Course Degustation menu that’ll only be available for the whole month of October. It is created by Chef de Patron Bernice Pimentel, one of the owners and daughters of the founders, in which they’d showcase local cuisine and incorporating more local ingredients to bring forth their culinary heritage to the present in every dish they serve.

The 8-Course Degustation Menu includes an impressive selection of dishes that everyone will surely love.

Kangkong Pesto Brioche with Boursin Cheese is a light and perfect starter! I like how they incorporated the Kangkong pesto in the bun resulting to a soft brioche bun, and perfectly gets along well with the Boursin cheese.

Kesong Puti Croquettes at Lato (PHP 175) is their own version of the famous croquettes and it’s really flavorful! I also find it unique to have Lato on the side as well as a serving of baby mesclun, and salsa verde aioli.

Oyster Laing Rockefeller (PHP 195) is a heart-pounding dish that reminds me how much I love laing not just as a rice topping. It has an Aklan oyster topped with a serving of delicious laing, chili, coconut milk, reggiano, and drizzled with lemon juice. I would suggest squeezing the lemon a lot more and a few pinches of salt for the perfect experience!

Next is the Sayote Egg Drop Soup (PHP 125) which is light but also creamy. It has a quail egg in it and it’s served with crostini.

You might be wondering if it’s already time for dessert if they serve you the Burong Mangga Sorbet. I actually had some mixed feelings when they said it’s burong mangga. I, myself, isn’t a fan of that as I always find “buro” smells disgusting. But I was surprised that I kinda like it. It’s sour and sharp to the palate as they dubbed it as a “palate cleanser” - which is intended to somehow neutralize your tastebuds from the overwhelming savory taste of the starters.

The BBQ Pulled Pork Tostadas (PHP 215) is a slow-cooked pork drenched in Filpino-style BBQ sauce, mixed with mung bean, and papaya slaw on top of a fried tortilla. This one’s just perfect and the pulled pork has that sweet flavor into it!

Sea Bass Sinantol (PHP 350) is definitely the highlight for everyone! It’s a Chilean sea bass fish that’s served with arugula on top of sinantol fried rice. The fish tastes meaty and hearty - with a little skin layer that’s crispy and fatty. It is low in calories, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and is a good source of protein. The sinantol fried rice sure is a treat for many - rarely we use santol for rice, but it is surprisingly good! Sure we have bagoong fried rice and tinapa rice, but santol fried rice is the game-changer, my friends!

Lastly, the Egg Pie Brûlée (PHP 175) isn’t just a sweet treat for your tastebuds but also for the eyes! A medley of colours accompanied the creamy egg tart which consists edible flowers alongside with strawberry, green grapes, mango, and rose crème chantily. It’s a picture-perfect dessert and almost too cute to eat!

Diners can avail the whole 8-course menu priced at PHP1,250 plus a 10% of service charge. But if you wish to just sample a few of the dishes, you can do so by ordering it separately!

So on your next visit to Intramuros, be sure to check Ilustrado to complete your quest to the decades-old Manila.

If you wish to know more of their offerings, you may check their website: www.ilustradorestaurant.com.ph, or send them an email at catering@ilustradorestaurant.com.ph.

Thanks EJ B for the invite!
Good to see everyone again and finally met new food lovers! Chizbun - Cherrie P FoodventuresByFrapao T Christina R Marc M Dennis O Midz S Alex A Rusophotography P Glenn J

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