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Posts Tagged ‘restaurants

When things are hectic at the store and the parents and I no longer have the time and energy to cook our own meals, we head to the nearby Banawe area in search of food. Apart from having numerous car repair stores, Banawe is known for being the place where restaurants (mostly serving Chinese food) are found left and right. We’ve visited a lot of these places over the years, but only return to a handful of those which offer quick hot meals to satiate our grumbling tummies. KimPo Tea House 鑫寶茶樓 is one of those places.

KIMPO_Mulberry Juice photo MulberryJuice_zpsc5699e71.jpgKimPo has a pretty long list of drinks and food which you could select from. I normally settle for hot tea when eating at this restaurant, but there was one time when my curiosity got the best of me and I ordered a bottle of Mulberry Juice (Php65.00).  It’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits, including treating skin problems, enhancing one’s immune system, controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels, preventing the common cold, etc. It was a mix of tartness and sweetness, which resulted to my Mom enjoying it more than I did.

KIMPO_soya milk photo SoyaMilk_zpscf640e6f.jpgOne other time, I decided to order a bottle of soya milk. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can drink soya milk anytime of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for breakfast. This brand was pretty good, but it already has sugar mixed in it. Those who prefer to have them sugar-free would have to pass.

KIMPO_halo noodle soup photo HaloNoodleSoup_zps63be5d82.jpgDad enjoys eating noodles and whenever he’s feeling hungry, a good bowl of hot noodle soup is usually the answer. His favorite at KimPo? The Halo Halo Noodle Soup (Php147.00). Before I go on, just a tidbit for my non-Filipino readers: “halo halo” is the Tagalog term which means “mixed”.  This dish has several braised beef brisket slices, pork wantons, vegetables and chicken chunks on top of springy noodles. Dad enjoys everything about this, except the beef brisket since it’s a little on the sweet side. Those usually end up getting eaten by Mom.

KIMPO_noodles photo Noodles_zps1cec570f.jpgHere’s a photo of the noodles, which Dad and Mom have only positive words for. If I remember correctly, KimPo didn’t use the same type of noodles before so it was a good thing they switched to this.

KIMPO_pata tim photo PataRice_zps382a9863.jpgKimPo, like most Chinese places here in Manila, offer a wide array of rice toppings. One of my Mom’s go-to items is their Pata Rice. To be honest, we all agreed that ordering this is a hit or miss since there were times when the meat had a very slight foul odor, which affected its taste. The usual explanation I hear about this is the meat probably came from a male pig / boar. I don’t think everyone notices that faint smell, but for those who are sensitive to it (like my Mom), it can be pretty disturbing. To be fair, this doesn’t exclusively happen when dining in KimPo. You may experience the same when eating at other places as long as you’re eating pork.

KIMPO_spareribs rice photo SpareribsRice_zps3900d852.jpgAnother type of popular rice topping is the Spareribs Rice (Php125.00). I know a lot of people which love eating pork steamed with black beans or tausi. I, for one, am a big fan of this and try to order this whenever it’s on the menu. These chunks of pork spareribs are steamed with black beans until they’re very tender. The sauce gets absorbed by the rice once they’re placed on top, resulting to the delightful meal we enjoy. I personally prefer the spareribs rice from another tea house, but my Mom doesn’t seem to notice any differences.

KIMPO_white chicken rice photo WhiteChickenRice_zpse4262f29.jpgOne of my favorite things to order is their White Chicken Rice (Php120.00). It’s a quarter of a chicken, steamed and topped with ginger sauce. It’s not something extraordinary since it’s one of the things we usually serve in our own store, but for a quick fix, this version from KimPo isn’t half bad. I usually end up sharing the chicken with Dad, so it’s really worth its price.

KIMPO_KP Chicken photo KPFriedChicken_zps10df6ec2.jpgIf you don’t feel like ordering any of the rice toppings, there are many other stuff you could order à la carte. One time, I was so tired I wanted us to get home quickly and get some sleep. My parents don’t approve of skipping meals, so I had to order something. I ordered the half serving of their KP Chicken to share with the parents. This was supposed to be their signature fried chicken, which was served with shrimp crackers and banana ketchup. We found parts of the chicken meat too dry from being in the fryer too long. The shrimp crackers were, thankfully, good.

 photo YangChowFriedRice_zpsf204e2fe.jpgIf you’re craving for some carbs, we recommend ordering KimPo’s Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php100.00). A serving of this is good for approximately three persons. We’ve ordered this several times and, most of the time, it turned out to be nicely cooked. Dad can eat this without having anything else with it.

For us, KimPo is really a reliable place for a quick and satisfying meal. In addition, most of the servers here already know my parents and I since we visit this place regularly. I don’t think we have encountered any service issues here. One thing to take note of: they don’t have a very big space, although they still manage to seat a lot of people. Sadly, they don’t have a private function room so if you get seated next to a huge group who’s celebrating an occasion, it can get really noisy.

**If you want to try them out, you can visit Kimpo Tea House at 706 Banawe Street, Barangay Sienna, Quezon City.

Last Monday, my parents and I had some free time on our hands and we decided to have lunch at the mall. Dad wanted to eat at a place which we’ve never tried before. We had to go through a list of possible restaurants when I suddenly remembered an Instragram photo posted by one of my college friends a few weeks ago. It was a plate of gyoza which I found to be quite intriguing. Good thing the restaurant where she ate that was located inside Trinoma so off we went to try it out.

HANAMARUKEN_logo photo Hanamaruken_zps480b0862.jpgHanamaruken Ramen is said to be a food chain from Osaka, Japan. According to Dianne, our server for that afternoon, they started their operations in Trinoma on November of 2013. Why my parents and I were unable to dine there before is something we don’t quite understand.

HANAMARUKEN_interiors photo interiors_zps4db279e0.jpgWe really loved the restaurant’s interiors. It was uncluttered, peaceful and relaxing. Just the type of place we were looking for.

HANAMARUKEN_drinks photo drinks_zpsdfbd75de.jpgHot tea and cold water are served once we were seated. Mom enjoyed their tea very much.

HANAMARUKEN_ Gyoza photo gyoza_zpsf1b4e57f.jpgFor appetizers, we just had to go with a serving of their gyoza (Php150.00). A serving comprised of 8 pieces of pork gyoza, accompanied by a sweet soy dipping sauce and chili oil. These weren’t as big as I expected them to be, but they were very flavorful. I enjoyed eating them with the chili oil. My Dad also liked it so much that he ordered another serving even before we finished with the first one.

We also wanted to try their karaage, but was informed that it was unavailable during that time. We hope it’s going to be available by our next visit.

HANAMARUKEN_Drunken Man Rice Bowl photo DrunkenManRicebowl_zps922302db.jpgMom wasn’t in the mood for ramen, so she chose the Drunken Man Rice Bowl (approximately Php220.00). This was basically white rice topped with kakuni (braised pork), two fried eggs and spring onions. I was able to try a piece of the kakuni and thought that it was really good. Mom liked it too, but commented that the serving size was a little too small for her.

 photo SignatureHappinessRamen_zpsf4432797.jpgDad ordered Hanamaruken Ramen’s specialty: the Signature Happiness Ramen (Php480.00). Good thing that Dad was really satisfied with his ramen! He couldn’t stop raving about how flavorful the soup base was, the noodles’ texture and how soft the pork rib was. I was really glad to see how much he enjoyed this that he’s already thinking of revisiting the restaurant soon. 🙂

HANAMARUKEN_Chasyu Ramen photo ChasyuRamen_zpsb248ae15.jpg

I was initially thinking of ordering the Signature Happiness Ramen as well, but decided to try something else. I ended up ordering a serving of their Chasyu Ramen (approximately Php280.00), which was also pretty good! I found the tonkotsu shoyu broth to be very light, so it wasn’t difficult to go through one bowl on my own. The braised pork belly was also a treat. 🙂

Apart from the delicious and filling food, another great thing about Hanamaruken Ramen was their level of service. Service was quick and their wait staff were efficient. We’d like to applaud Dianne, who assisted us during our visit, since she was always smiling and obviously knew what she was doing. She answered all of our questions and made sure we were okay with everything throughout our stay. I hope Hanamaruken’s service levels and food quality will remain this high as the months go by. 🙂

**Want to try this place out? Hanamaruken Ramen is located at the 2nd floor garden restaurants of TriNoMa in Quezon City. Visit their official Facebook page here for more information.

Anybody who has experienced gift shopping in Manila during Christmas season will agree that it’s always a big challenge, especially when you’re already late in the game and cannot afford to go shopping online. I usually shop early to avoid this since I dislike big crowds, but had to face it last December when I had very little free time on my hands with the business in full swing.

The Boyfriend and I ended our shopping pretty late one Sunday and didn’t want to keep on going around the mall to look for something to eat. We decided to just try Mango Tree Bistro since there weren’t a lot of people eating inside, thus it wasn’t noisy and crowded.

MTB_facade photo MangoTreeBistro_zps65708554.jpgMango Tree Bistro is located between Powerbooks and an escalator from the lower floors.

MTB_catfish salad photo catfishsalad_zps81bc7b07.jpgMore often than not, the Catfish Salad (Yum Pla Duk Fu, Php380.00) makes an appearance at our table whenever I eat at a Thai place. I first tried this at a small Thai restaurant located along Banawe in Q.C. and have since enjoyed the crunch of the fried catfish meat mixed with the sweet, tangy, spicy mango salad. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with the version from Mango Tree Bistro since it tasted like old, overused oil. The mango salad itself was pretty okay.

MTB_shrimp pad thai photo shrimppadthai_zpsdf273a2d.jpgIf the catfish salad is my must-have, this Phad Thai Goong (noodles with prawns, Php420.00) is The Boyfriend’s. We both found this to be pretty good.

MTB_pork curry photo curry_zps69dc08e8.jpgWho eats at a Thai restaurant and not order curry? Not us. We decided to try the Spicy Chicken Fillet Curry with Kaffir Lime leaves (Panang Gai, Php420.00). We didn’t get to finish this dish and The Boyfriend took what was left home. He said it tasted better the next day when it was eaten with rice.

MTB_honey ribs photo honeyglazedribs_zps966a1a40.jpgIf there’s one dish that deserved to be highlighted, then that would be the Honey Pork Spareribs (See Krong Moo Yang Na, Php480.00). This dish had a very nice balance of sweetness and saltiness. It was The Boyfriend’s favorite during that meal and he was very happy we decided to try it out despite the hefty price tag.

MTB_thai iced tea photo thaiicedtea_zps66222708.jpgThe Boyfriend was the only one who ordered drinks that night. He said that his Thai Iced Tea (Php80.00) was just okay.

Mango Tree Bistro‘s prices are definitely not cheap, but serving sizes for some items are meant for sharing. The service rendered during our visit was pretty okay. Most of the servers were alert, but never obtrusive. In our opinion, most of the food we tried were pretty ordinary so there’s a slim chance of a repeat visit in the near future.

**If you’re interested to try the stuff they have to offer, this branch of Mango Tree Bistro is located at the 3rd floor of TriNoMa  in Quezon City. Visit their official website here.

Shangri-La Mall: One of the places which I haven’t visited for a long, long time. I’ve heard news that they were constructing a new wing, but didn’t know that that part was already open to the public for quite some time. I was able to drop by the place just this past weekend when my family and I went out for our Sunday dinner. We went around the area to check our dining options and decided to try what Spätzle Euro Market Café had to offer.

Spatzle storefront photo Spatzle_zps5aaa630a.jpgIt was my first time to encounter the word “Spätzle” and apparently, it’s a type of egg noodle with a soft texture (read more about it in Wiki).

Spatzle_utensils photo Spatzle_utensils_zpsbffa6603.jpgThis restaurant had this really awesome looking container on each table. That “Hallo” signage won me over. :p

Spatzle_hand sanitizer photo Spatzle_handsanitizer_zpsaa6b8645.jpgThey also had a small spritz bottle of hand sanitizer included. We tried it out and it smelled nice. The scent wasn’t too strong.

Spatzle_citrus cooler photo Spatzle_citruscooler_zpsf039c075.jpgMy brother ordered the Citrus Cooler (Php145.00). This came in a really cute mason jar, which I liked as well.

Spatzle_house iced tea photo Spatzle_houseicedtea_zps7d987345.jpgI was curious to know if their House Iced Tea (Php90.00) was any good, so I decided to order it for myself. It wasn’t like the freshly brewed ones that I love (Hint: It’s the one from my favorite Greek restaurant). This was also such a small serving for its price. They were a bit too generous with the ice cubes, in my opinion, and it weakened the taste of my drink quickly.

Spatzle_bread plate trio photo Spatzle_breadplatetrio_zpsd52254fd.jpgThe first dish to arrive to our table was the Bread Plate Trio (Php195.00). It came with diced tomato and olive oil, hummus and a kind of pâté.

Spatzle_poutine fries photo Spatzle_PoutineFries_zpsc550b00a.jpgFor one of other appetizers, we ordered a serving of Poutine Fries (Php240.00). This dish consisted of fries topped with ground pork, brown gravy and cheese. My brother said that this type of dish is very famous in Canada.

I was really glad that Spätzle used pork instead of beef, allowing me to try this with the rest of the group.  I thought that it was just okay; not a personal favorite.

Spatzle_carbonara (solo) photo Spatzle_CarbonaraSolo_zpse2c234e8.jpgMom ordered a solo serving of Carbonara (Php275.00). She was surprised to see the raw egg on top since she’s not used to having it served that way.  This was just so-so for everyone who were able to sample some of it. It was salty enough, and having spätzle instead of the usual spaghetti was something that made it a little more interesting.

Spatzle_roast chicken sausage with mushroom gravy photo Spatzle_RoastChickenSausageinMushroomSauce_zpsb1dc0473.jpgMy sis-in-law ordered a serving of their Roast Chicken Sausage with Mushroom Sauce (Php295.00). We were surprised to see that the chicken bones were still there; we thought that it was a dish using boneless chicken. The meat was also still a bit uncooked, with blood still found near the bones.

Spatzle_steak bfast photo Spatzle_SteakBfast_zps84159efc.jpgMy brother ordered a serving of the Steak Breakfast (Php595.00), which turned out to be just another average dish. He said that the flavors were all just too safe.

Spatzle_Schweinhaxxe photo Spatzle_Schweinhaxxe_zps9d226468.jpgThe last one to arrive was this serving of Schweinhaxxe (Php650.00). This pork knuckle was served with a hash brown and some lemon,  sauerkraut, horseradish & mustard. The pork knuckle was bland so spreading a little bit of the mustard on the meat was a wise decision. The skin was not crisp and was tough to chew on. The sauerkraut was also a downer. 😦 The only positive thing I could remember about this was that it was served hot.

(In our opinion, if you want to eat something like this, go to the Old Swiss Inn and order their Gnagi. Choose the baked version over the fried one. It’s a lot more satisfying.)

Since we visited this restaurant during its soft opening, we could fully understand why there were still some areas that needed extra attention. We have personally gone through the same situation in managing our business and understand the challenges that take place during this time frame.  They only had a soft opening menu available during our visit, so I’m guessing they might expand and/or take out some items once the soft opening period is over. I’m really hoping that they will be able to experiment a little more.

The restaurant lay-out and ambiance was really nice- this I have to admit. Food presentation was okay. The dishes looked pretty, but I think they still have room for more creativity, just to help make their items become a bit more memorable.

To be honest, their items are expensive; definitely not a place for those who are trying to save up. Again, the serving sizes were way too small for their price tags and none of the items we ordered really stood out. It was kind of hard to justify paying Php2,000+ for that meal. This restaurant might be more suitable for those on a date, where first impressions (and “small” appetites?) matter.

**Planning on trying this restaurant out? You can find Spätzle Euro Market Café at the 5th floor of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall’s East Wing.

I’ve been to Robinson’s Magnolia several times and enjoy the place immensely. I like the fact that it’s not (yet) too crowded and that the air-conditioning has (so far) been operating quite nicely. Since I’m there for several hours at a time, it’s not unusual for me to look for a place to eat when the need arises. I rarely find myself at the al fresco area so I wasn’t aware that a Thai restaurant was located at the ground floor until I was invited by Aldous for an event last Thursday night.

Thai Bistro_storefront photo ThaiBistro_storefront_zps43beaa7c.jpg

The first adjective that came to my mind when I entered Thai Bistro was “posh”. It looked so high-end, but without being too formal. I liked the high ceilings and warm colors all over the place. Owner and Chef Cecille Chang (also known as the Chef in Stilettos) was personally there to talk to us and share a lot of information about her restaurant.

Thai Bistro opened their doors to the public in August 13, 2012. Ms. Chang has spent a lot of time traveling all over Thailand, learning about the country’s food. Her extensive training has allowed her to create the various dishes being served at her restaurant.

Thai Bistro_Refreshing Cucumber Mint photo ThaiBistro_RefreshingCucumberMint_zps8580012e.jpgThere’s a wide array of drinks which are available to diners. Some of those in our group chose to have the Refreshing Cucumber Mint (Php130.00).

Thai Bistro_Pandan Juice photo ThaiBistro_PandanJuice_zpsdc45d8c1.jpgAnother chose the Thai Green Milk Tea (Php110.00). I was thinking of getting this drink too, but decided I wanted to try something a little lighter…

Thai Bistro_Lemongrass Juice photo ThaiBistro_LemongrassJuice_zps32255b13.jpgSo I went with a glass of Lemongrass Juice (Php80.00) instead. This refreshing drink came with a small (shot)glass of syrup, which you mix with the juice. I only went with half of the syrup because I didn’t want my drink to be overly sweet.

Thai Bistro_Mieng Kham platter photo ThaiBistro_MiengKhamplatter_zps6c0dcc63.jpgThe first dish which arrived at our table was this platter of Mieng Kham (Php180.00), a traditional Thai appetizer. Ms. Cecille Chang told us to roll the entire leaf and eat it whole. On top of each leaf is a piece of shrimp, crushed nuts, a small bit of chili and burnt caramel with fish sauce. 

This was my first encounter with this type of appetizer and I must say, it was VERY good. I honestly liked every single thing about this dish.

Thai Bistro_Mieng Kham close up photo ThaiBistro_MiengKhamcloseup_zpsb817ebc2.jpgHere’s a closer look at the appetizer. I was able to eat two of these: one without the chili and one with the chili. I really enjoyed the one WITH the chili because it managed to elevate the flavors to a different level.  

If you’re up for the challenge but are feeling unsure if you can handle the heat, I suggest you have something to wash it down within your grasp. If you’d really rather skip the chili, that’s perfectly fine too. No one’s going to judge you. 🙂

Thai Bistro_Choo Chee Roti photo ThaiBistro_ChooCheeRoti_zps90fabe91.jpgNext came a serving of Choo Chee Roti (Php195.00), buttered roti served with a small bowl of red curry dip. I’ve always been a big fan of roti, so this was a real treat for me! The red curry dip isn’t spicy at all. Perfect for non-spicy food lovers out there.

Thai Bistro_Spicy Tomato Dip photo ThaiBistro_SpicyTomatoDip_zps106ca6ee.jpgChef Cecille asked us if we wanted try their other dip: the Spicy Tomato. This was supposed to serve with herbed roti, but it was still fine with the buttered roti that we were already having. I liked this one better than the red curry dip. 

Thai Bistro_Pink Pomelo Salad photo ThaiBistro_PinkPomelosalad_zpsb592d4ea.jpgThe Pink Pomelo Salad (Php360.00) was served next. This salad had chicken, shrimp and various herbs along with the pomelo. It was all mixed together to create a dish that served as a nice palate cleanser. 

Thai Bistro_Pad Thai photo ThaiBistro_PadThai_zpsc6fd144e.jpgOne of the most usual Thai dishes being ordered is the Pad Thai (Php320.00). This type of stir-fried noodle dish is a favorite of many people I know. 

Thai Bistro_condiments photo ThaiBistro_condiments_zpse662d4d1.jpgIt came with an assortment of condiments which you can mix with the noodles to achieve the taste that’s most suitable for your palate. From left to right, you have chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce and distilled vinegar.

Thai Bistro_Siam Chicken Wrap photo ThaiBistro_SiamChickenWrap_zpsb6874360.jpgThe Siam Chicken Wrap (Php315.00) arrived at our table simultaneously with the other dishes. When I first saw this dish, it reminded me so much of the Chinese Lettuce Wraps my family and I enjoy at restaurants and at home. In Thai Bistro, you get to put the crispy noodles and the ground chicken & chili inside the leaves and enjoy a simple, yet flavorful, treat.

Thai Bistro_Thai Ravioli photo ThaiBistro_ThaiRavioli_zpsef8ae276.jpgWhat you see above is a photo of the Thai Ravioli (Php295.00). Inside each rice paper is a mixture of beef and shiitake mushrooms.  Sadly, because of some dietary restrictions, I wasn’t able to try this one out and had to rely on the others for feedback. I received positive reactions for this one.

Thai Bistro_Bagoong Rice photo ThaiBistro_BagoongRice_zps3dfb4afb.jpgBagoong Rice (Php315.00) is another one of those dishes usually ordered by customers in Thai restaurants (my family included). Thai Bistro’s version had all the other ingredients circled around the rice, allowing the customer to mix it all by himself. 

Thai Bistro_Sala Daeng photo ThaiBistro_SalaDaeng_zps135bf97b.jpgOne of the dishes which I consider to be highly amusing that night was the Sala Daeng (Php328.00). I love discovering new & unusual dishes and this one definitely did not disappoint. These are actually lemongrass florets stuffed with chicken and are then fried. They are served with a sweet chili sauce on the side.

I’m thankful that Chef Cecille decided to demonstrate how to properly AND easily get the chicken inside, or I might have looked really silly trying to eat this dish. :p You have to cut through a part of the floret and then scrape the chicken meat off the lemongrass. It takes a bit of practice to get the chicken meat out without creating a mess though. Give it a try when you’re visiting this place. 🙂

Thai Bistro_Lamb Shank Massaman (Small) photo ThaiBistro_LambShankMassamansmall_zpsa7136434.jpgThose closest to me know that I’m a big fan of lamb. Just imagine my delight when Chef Cecille said that she’ll be serving the Lamb Shank Massaman (Php120.00/100 grams) to us that evening! The meat was very, very tender and was served with crispy noodles and sweet potato chips. The meat itself was already a winner, but I must commend the use of sweet potato chips. That in itself was a winner too! This dish was, without a doubt, my other favorite (along with the Mieng Kham). 🙂

Thai Bistro_Sticky Rice with Mango photo ThaiBistro_StickyRicewithMango_zps1383ac1b.jpgI was already pretty full when we finished with all the mains, and yet I was glad I still had some room for dessert. We were given the chance to sample three types of sweets that evening. The Sticky Rice with Mangoes (Php210.00) was one of them. Thai Bistro uses rice imported from Thailand for this dessert and it was yummy. Don’t forget to drizzle some coconut milk over your sticky rice and mangoes for added oomph.

Thai Bistro_Takhoo Thai photo ThaiBistro_TakhooThai_zps1e01c800.jpgThe Takhoo Thai (Php180.00) was another delicious dessert. These are tapioca pearls topped with coconut pudding. This dessert wasn’t too sweet, so it was perfect for people like me.

Thai Bistro_Tapioca Pearl closeup photo ThaiBistro_TapiocaPearlcloseup_zps61fc463e.jpgHere’s a photo of the tapioca pearls inside.

Thai Bistro_Bistro Nest photo ThaiBistro_BistroNest_zps980efb7c.jpgLast, but definitely not the least, was the beautiful Bistro Nest (Php240.00). Those are crispy slivers of taro and sweet potatoes, topped with homemade coconut ice cream. Drizzle some of the Kaffir caramel sauce served alongside for a really nice touch. 🙂

Dining at Thai Bistro was an enjoyable experience for me. I was amused by everything, from the food presentation to the overall atmosphere of the place. Prices are a little higher here compared to the other Thai places I’ve been to, but I think most of the dishes are pretty worth it.

It was also such an honor to have Chef Cecille spend time with us. We know how busy she can be, and yet she didn’t mind sharing things about her experiences, her food, her schooling and even her diving trips! Big thanks to her and her team for being so accommodating to us that evening. ♥

**Thai Bistro is located at the Ground Floor of Robinson’s Magnolia Town Center, Aurora Blvd. corner Doña Hemady, Quezon City. You may visit their official Facebook page by clicking here

**Thank you, Wazzup Pilipinas, for organizing this event.


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