Thursday, January 29, 2015

Backlog Post: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Celebrating a reunion? Celebrate it with ramen!

Our liking to Japanese food took us to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka for a reunion lunch with a fellow gastronomer last October 2014. We ordered Set E that included with a small sized ramen bowl, fried salmon and prawn, and a number of side dishes.

Their signature dish is Shio Ramen, pork and seafood broth seasoned only with salt. We were pleasantly surprised with the tasty and creamy broth since at first we thought that the salt flavour might be too plain. The soup’s hotness was just right as it did not burn our tongues when we consumed it immediately after serving. Tender pork slices and mushrooms added texture to the ramen goodness. And just a note, that intriguing red topping is neither a tomato nor a chili. It is a pickled plum that packed a sour punch. Two of us shared the small sized serving of ramen. It was a bit bitin for two. Good thing we still had more food that came with the set.

We had an easy time dividing the furai since the set had 2 pieces of salmon tempura and 2 pieces of prawn. The thickly sliced piece of salmon tempura was crunchy and it did not have that malansa taste. Even better, when we took a bite of the prawn tempura, it was a full bite of the prawn. This one has the meat as its real star of dish and not the breading.

Another item in the set worth noting is the matcha mini cupcake. It did have that leafy-like matcha goodness. For people who would like a tamer version of dessert, this would be good. We do hope it would have bigger servings. Pickled vegetables, salad with sesame dressing, and tea also came with the set.

As an additional order, we tried the salmon fried rice. It indeed tasted like salmon, complete with the fish after taste. Good thing slices of ginger were served on the side to cleanse our palette. It was a good variation of fried rice and would be an okay choice if you want flavored rice but I’d rather order another bowl of ramen next time.

*This is a backlog post. Actual food expedition was made more than a month prior to publishing of this post.

Branch visited located at: 2nd flr, Mall of Asia – Entertainment Mall Veranda, Pasay City

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Backlog Post: Kettle

With all the buzz about the new foodie destination in Edsa Shangri-la East Wing, we made sure to make a visit. Last August 2014, we decided to have lunch at Kettle and taste their famed Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Being cheese lovers, we ordered Baked Brie for starters. The cheese went well with the puff pastry. It had a chewy consistency and a light creamy flavor unlike other sharp cheeses. The side salad was a good addition.

Ah, the star of the show. At above Php500, it may seem a bit expensive for fried chicken – but this is no usual fried chicken. Two chicken thighs marinated in buttermilk for more than 24 hours equals really tender tasty chicken. Unlike some fastfood fried chicken, this one is not overpowered by salty msg-like flavors. And the chicken skin is very crispy. Pour in the gravy, the honey, or both, and you’ll have an even tastier meal. Those corn muffins are more filling than they look. It tasted really good and it is siksik. Indeed one of the best corn bread/muffins in town.
*This is a backlog post. Actual food expedition was made more than a month prior to publishing of this post.
Branch visited located at: 5th flr, Edsa Shangri-la East Wing, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tim Ho Wan

After our lunch at 8 Cuts Burger Blends and a little roaming around, we proceeded to a Michelin Star restaurant that opened its first store in the country a few months ago, Tim Ho Wan, for my fellow gastronomer’s birthday merienda.

We had to know what the long lines were about. It was just around a 20 minute wait and the two of us were seated. Our waiting time was relatively shorter compared to what I read which was 40 minutes to an hour of waiting.

We of course ordered the famous Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. I haven’t tasted other pork buns before (aside from the common siopao) so I must say the pork buns in Tim Ho Wan is great for my first pork bun.

The bun had a soft crunch outside and a flaky compound all around similar to what one might find in desserts. It was a little sweet, but was not overpowering. The bun inside was soft. It was not that thick and just right to taste the bbq pork filling.

The filling was more orange in color than I expected. Tender pork and sweet salty bbq sauce composed the filling.

We shared an order of fried beancurd rolls with shrimp. Freshly fried crispy beancurd served as wrapper for the whole shrimps. It was seasoned well and one may opt not to dip it in sauce.

Branch visited located at: SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Ortigas Center

Sunday, January 11, 2015

8 Cuts Burger Blends

Their name came from the 8 cuts of beef from where their burger patties are made. You have the option to choose one of their “burger tributes” (ready made burger combinations) or make your own combination of burger, bread, toppings, and sauces.

Celebrating a fellow gastronomer’s birthday lunch, we chose a burger tribute, The Piggy, which was a beef bomb blend patty, with strips of bacon and bacon jam (can’t have enough bacon, yeah?), on a sesame bun and upgraded the patty to 1/3 pound instead of the standard 1/4. We availed the shake box upgrade where you add 225 pesos to get a 12oz great shake and skinny fries. We chose the Nuteloos milkshake, a combination of Nutella and Speculoos Cookie Butter.

The Piggy burger and fries arrived at the same time. We halved and shared our burger. Good thing there were two bacon strips so I just sliced between the two. I was thinking of whether I’d use the fork and knife to eat. But I just grabbed the burger with my hands and took a bite. Afterall, eating a burger that way feels more satisfying. You get to feel the “burger-ness” of the experience.

Real juicy beef, just the right doneness, the beef bomb blend patty had both. The bacon was crispy that we were able to take a bite unlike other bacon that is a bit rubbery. A pleasant bacon-y addition was the bacon jam – bits of bacon with a consistency of jam.

Crispy skinny fries have just the right seasoning of salt and pepper. We kind of wish we also upgraded the fries to the one with the subatomic bacon and cheese toppings. You know, for more bacon …

If nutella is a favorite, imagine it with speculoos cookie butter. Imagine it in a milkshake. Top it with whipped cream and cornflakes. Add a piece of graham. Now take a sip and taste that cookie butter goodness with that familiar hazelnut spread. That was our Nuteloos shake. It was not very thick but it served as a sweet ending to our meal. If you are a fan of those spreads, better try this.

If you are a fan of burgers, better try 8 cuts. We need to go back and taste the other patty blends.

Branch visited located at: 3rd flr, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Ortigas Center

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mesa Filipino Moderne

For our weekend New Year lunch, we decided to use our online discount voucher for a set meal good for four persons at Mesa Filipino Moderne. This includes Baked Scallops, Green Mango Salad, Sinigang na Hipon sa Guava, Laing 2 ways, Adobo flakes Rice, Boneless Crispy pata, and a “special dessert”.

Let me tell you about my favorite dishes in the set meal.

I thought their 12 Baked Scallops had cheese toppings like how baked oysters are commonly prepared. But after I tasted one, it turned out to be something else – and I loved it! The toppings seem to be made of toasted garlic and oil (butter maybe?). The scallops were easy to chew and the toppings added crunch and flavor. I’d go order this again even without the voucher discount.

Tender meat, crispy skin, and flavorful fatty goodness. That is what this Boneless Cripsy Pata is about. Definitely one of the best I have tasted.

Unlike usual sinigang which is characterized by strong sourness, their Sinigang na Hipon sa Guava was refreshing with a fruity sourness. The soup was tinted quite pinkish orange reminiscent of the color of guava flesh. Plump shrimps were also of the color orange. There was also pineapple in the soup accentuating the fruitiness.

Here are the other dishes included in the set:

Laing 2 ways


Green mango salad

Adobo flakes rice

Turns out the “special dessert” is mango panna cotta, one of my favourite desserts. It was sweet and milky.

Overall, New Year lunch well spent at Mesa. It introduced us to a great Filipino restaurant. We were also able to save because of the online discount voucher.

Branch visited located at: 2nd flr, SM Megamall Atrium, Ortigas Center