Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate Sansrival at Aristocrat

Excuse the melted frosting as I would like to share this cake from Aristocrat Bakeshop.
Torta de los Reyes (690php)

Torta de los Reyes is a chocolate covered sansrival that is surprisingly light.

Sansrival lovers would surely love this as the chocolate didn’t overwhelm the rich buttery flavors of the sansrival.

So good is this cake that I found myself eating a slice for three days straight. A plus is its ability to stay crispy even after a few days in the fridge.

No wonder Torta de los Reyes was part of Inquirer's 20 yummiest commercially baked cakes of  2008.

Aristocrat Bakeshop is located at the following branches: 432 San Andres, Malate, Manila, tel 5247671; 146 Jupiter corner Saturn Sts., Bel-Air Village, Makati, tel. 8995035; No. 70 Pinoy Shopper Mall Scout Gadica corner Tomas Morato and Scout De Guia Sts., QC, tel. 3711040; Level 4 Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, tel. 5233923; 2/F SM City, San Lazaro F. Huerta corner A.H. Lacson Sts., Sta. Cruz, Manila, tel. 7862664.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Taste of Singapore at Wee Nam Kee

I had my doubts when I first heard that Wee Nam Kee was opening in Manila.

But just like everyone else, I braved the long lines to give this import from Singapore a try.

A trip to Wee Nam Kee isn’t complete without ordering their specialty, Hainanese chicken.
Steamed Chicken Medium (488php)
Close enough to the flavors found in Singapore. Better than most white chicken served in Manila. Chicken is soft and has the right amount of fat.

On a different occasion, I ordered the chicken combination to try the roasted version:
Chicken Combination (248php)  
The roasted chicken didn't taste any different from the steamed variety.

No chicken should be eaten without a dip in ginger or soy sauce.

Chicken Rice (40php) 
Very flavorful. I don't eat rice but I managed to eat an entire bowl of chicken rice on my own.

Cereal Prawns (375php)
Another Wee Nam Kee must-try. Not oily and I love the generous coating of cereal each prawn had. The cereal coating is especially addicting.

Steamed Prawns with Garlic Sauce (375php)  
I love the strong garlic flavors.

Salt and Pepper Squid (250php)
Fresh and light. Nothing out of the ordinary though.

Wee Nam Kee doesn't disappoint, giving us, Manila residents, a taste of Singaporean cuisine.

Wee Nam Kee is located at Ayala Triangle Gardens Ayala Avenue Makati.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Uninspired Asian Buffet at Crustasia

Last time I checked,  buffets are designed to have the capacity to feed tons of people. Too bad Crustasia missed this memo.

I had the misfortune of eating at Crustasia where one has to wait a considerable amount of time before food at the buffet table is refilled.

The only section where supply looks bountiful.

Sad looking and uninteresting

 Warms the stomach.

 Not so bad. As the night went on, 4 pieces became 3 pieces per serving though.

I requested this to be cooked  with a lot of spice but I didn't feel any heat.

Kindao Spareribs and Pad See You

To this day, I am still confused what these dishes were all about.

Chicken and Crabs

I wasn't able to try Crustasia's specialty as there are no good parts to be had. Shells, shells, and just more shells for the crabs.

Tilapia and Pad Thai
Pad Thai tasted nothing like pad thai. Fish was good but the real challenge was to catch it at the buffet table first.

Roast Beef
Tough and cold.


Cream with Mango

Banana with Langka
My favorite of the three desserts.

Iced Tea
Comes with the buffet which costs 395++.

While the cost of the buffet is dirt cheap, it's no excuse for the very limited supply of food that we had.

P.S. I learned that Crustasia had its final run of the Asian buffet at Trinoma this weekend. I'm not surprised as the buffet only gives the restaurant a bad name.

Crustasia is located the second level, Alabang Town Center, 772-2968; the sixth level, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, 910-4096, TriNoma, 901-3607; and Rockwell Powerplant Mall, 728-5463.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jatujak at the Food Court

While I haven’t featured a lot of Thai restaurants in this blog, let it be known that I’m a lover of Thai food.

Unfortunately, Thai food is not as popular as American or Japanese cuisine here in the country.

Times are changing though and I will not be surprised if Thai food soon goes mainstream with Tom Yum Thai setting up shop at Mall of Asia’s food court.

Tom Yum Thai is managed by Jatujak, a relatively established Thai restaurant found in SM malls.

Tom Yum Thai has a limited menu offering the essentials of Thai cuisine at affordable price points.

I had lunch at Tom Yum Thai on two separate occasions with contrasting results.

Bagoong Rice (80php)
Everything fell short with this bagoong rice. Rice was needing more bagoong and the few meat pieces were too sweet. This was one big fail and I wasn't satisfied.

Meal of Chicken Curry, Bagoong Rice with Papaya Salad (90php)
Good thing I gave Tom Yum Thai another chance as my second meal was much better. While the bagoong rice is still bland, the red chicken curry has the right consistency and spice level albeit a bit oily. The star of the show though is the papaya salad which has the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spice. Unbelievably good that I am willing to brave the crowds of Mall of Asia just for the salad.

For a quick fix of cheap Thai food at a more comfortable location, head to Tom Yum Thai.

Tom Yum Thai is located at SM Mall of Asia's food court.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wai Ying is Comfort Food

What do you do when you’re feeling blue?

Some shop.

Others indulge in a relaxing massage.

I, on the other hand, eat at Wai Ying  where the familiar flavors of the food never fail to comfort me.

Wai Ying is a popular joint in Chinatown that serves good dimsum at affordable price points.

Just leave your expectations of sophistication at the door, as ambiance is nonexistent in Wai Ying.
Mop for Everyone to See

A trip to Wai Ying is never complete without me ordering:

Pork Siomai (60php)
One of the better versions of siomai in Chinatown. Flavorful with real pork goodness.

Taosi Spareribs (55php)
I first discovered the wonders of Wai Ying’s spareribs more than a decade ago and I've never grown tired of it. Perfect balance of meat and fat with the light sauce allowing the meat to shine. A must try!

Hakaw (65php)
Fresh and plump. Shrimps are also huge. 

White Chicken Rice (110php)
Make sure not to get the breast part as those tend to be dry. Decent version of steamed chicken with the spring onions adding flavor to the dish.

Buchi (55php)
Best way to end a meal at Wai Ying. Sweet and crispy. Best eaten piping hot.

I also never fail to bring home some food from Wai Ying for my brothers to eat:
Fried Wanton (120php)
One can do no wrong with fried food. Addictingly good.

Asado Siopao (55php)
I'm not a fan of siopao but Wai Ying's siopao has earned raves from my brothers. 

I'll end this post by sharing the menu of Wai Ying in the hopes that it will encourage more people to visit Chinatown for a taste of Wai Ying as it's certainly worth the trip.

Wai Ying is located at 1237 to 1241 Benavidez St. Tondo, Manila. Contact 2543318 for more information. It also has a branch at the heart of Chinatown in Ongpin.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Carbs Overload at Cantinetta

Update: Cantinetta at the Podium has closed for business.

Another trip to the salon, another Podium restaurant to try.

Cantinetta caught our fancy this time.

Cantinetta is an Italian restaurant with the menu offering soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, risottos, and grilled specialties. Needless to say, we had a carbo overload during our visit. 

Complimentary Bread

With Spreads
Ordinary made extraordinary by Cantinetta’s delicious liver pate.

Bruschette Miste Bread with Three Kinds of Toppings (380php)
1. Beef = Hohum 2. Seafood = Good because of the strong garlic flavors 3. Vegetables = My favorite! Perfect combination of spinach and mushroom. Would not order this next time though because the complimentary bread basket is more than enough.

Tartufo Pasta Truffle Cream Sauce with Parma Ham (550php)
I like Mamou’s truffle pasta better. This is creamy but lacking real truffle flavor.

Margherita Pizza  Fresh Basil and Tomatoes Pizza(380php)  
Nothing special. Dry with not much sauce and cheese. The thin crust is at least crispy. Waste of carbs.

Bistecca Alla Cantinetta Tuscan Style Rib Eye Steak (1,900php)

with Truffle and Pepper Gravy
This is how I like my meat done. Perfectly cooked, flavorful, and with a generous amount of fat. So good that a purist like me didn’t need the gravy. I want more!

Word of Caution: There’s an annoying server at the Podium branch who "critiqued" the food we ordered. He gave unsolicited order suggestions and still pushed when we said we were perfectly happy with our choices. This got me all riled up and somehow ruined the dining experience. I hope I don't see him next time. 

Cantinetta is located at the G/F The Podium ADB Avenue Ortigas Center. Mandaluyong City. Cantinetta also has branches at Rockwell and Pasong Tamo.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Murtle and Me at CBD

Murtle joined me for lunch at Ayala Triangle Gardens during a hump day work day.

Restaurants fill up fast during the lunch hour and we ended up at Cheesesteaks, Burgers, and Drinks or CBD.  CBD opened a month ago and is operated by the same group that owns Tender Bobs.

Latest Ayala Triangle Addition


Lunch Crowd Lining Up

How Convenient

Murtle and I Shared:

Curly French Fries (60php)
Very crunchy though something's missing...

Chicken Buffalo Strips 10pcs. (285php)
We ordered the buffalo strips spicy and it thankfully came out perfect with the spice level just right. Especially good once dipped in the blue cheese sauce. A good alternative to regular chicken wings.

CBD Classic Burger (135php)
The sweet bun complements the strong beef flavors of the patty. Also perfectly cooked keeping the burger moist and juicy. Shoestring fries are addictive. Worth every penny!

CBD is good enough for a quick lunch fix during a work week.

Cheesesteaks, Burgers, and Drinks is located at Ayala Triangle Gardens Makati City. For more information, contact 8392882. 
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