PEr FYI

April 21, 2019

Manam Comfort Filipino, Manila…If you haven’t been here yet, you need to

With the popularity of the many wonderful Chinese, Japanese and Thai eateries spreading throughout the world, I can’t help but feel that the food of the Philippines isn’t given the love it deserves. It’s time that changed.

The menu at Manam is expansive and affordable whether you’re in the mood for a warming bowl of Lomi or a plate of tender Chicken Adobo and everything is delicious, thanks to their excellent chefs  – so order lots and try a bit of everything – just the way it’s supposed to be. The House crispy sisig – pork jowls and cheek, chopped and served on a sizzling plate brings me to my knees as does the heart-palpitatingly good Sinigang na Baboy sa Sampaloc – pork shoulder simmered in house-made sour tamarind broth. Also insanely good are the Sinigang na Beef short ribs & Watermelon – Namnam favourite and an original family recipe and Gising gising – sigarilyas, kangkong, coconut cream, chilis, pork, bagoong saute. and Turon of mango & kesong puti with ice cream. (I think this is a good time to note that writing out this paragraph has made me incredibly hungry, and has also ruined this week’s efforts at the gym)

A few trips to Manam and you’ll be able to separate your sisig from your sinigang in next-to-no-time. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 7, 2019

Mangan, Manila…there is little to delight here

While there are many words I can use to describe Mangan, I’m going only to say this: Mangan is a bad restaurant. There is little to delight here.

The mediocre kare-kare buntot ng Baka tastes like something left over from the night before, which may just have had its moment 12 hours ago. I tried to eat it. I really did. It was as memorable as Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance.

An unappetizing and underwhelming dish. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 24, 2019

Café Mary Grace, Manila…it isn’t all that earth-quaking

What started out as delighting her children with personally decorated birthday cakes, Mary Grace is now a chain of cafes and kiosks all over Manila.

I had the fairly remarkable looking Mango bene – frozen layers of meringue with custard cream, and fresh mangoes in between. It was sweet-but-not-too-sweet in that dangerous way. There are moments when richness overwhelms but I was disappointed not to find what I came for.

For the record, everything they serve is gorgeous! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 2, 2019

Max’s restaurant, Manila…a zero-star rating

The restaurant’s shtick is the fried chicken, with a unique blend of secret spices, talagang sarap to the bones! It is meant to be the golden fried to perfection.

Mr Max, have you eaten at your restaurant? Did you eat the half spring chicken? Did it live up to your expectations? Hey, did you try that Adobo ribs, the one that looks like nuclear waste? How did it, one of the hardest dishes in the Philippines to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? When you wrote on your website saying, “household name in the Philippines, an institution, and a proud Filipino tradition”, were you just messing with our heads?

Wonder no more. It is not good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 10, 2019

Abe, Manila…a bit meh

It’s fair to say Filipino cuisine is not on the map internationally. The food is a medley between Malay, Chinese, South American and Spanish. In short it’s a mixture of cuisines from any country who has invaded or attempted to colonise the islands.

For everything under one roof, Abe serves up a hearty (sometimes hefty) array of traditional Pinoy fare from biringhe to knockout knuckles – Ang Hang take on the traditional fried crispy pata to sugpo sa gata – prawn simmered in coconut milk and spices. I ate these things on your behalf. I know. I am selfless.

But I’ve had more inspiring food – character, taste – from a bag of nuts. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 5, 2017

Sarsa Kitchen & Bar, Manila…crispy buko pie is the best of the best

To most, Filipino cuisine is surprising unfamiliar as it lacks a mainstream following. While Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants can be found in any respectable-sized city it’s just not the case with Filipino food. One challenge is, it’s very hard to describe.

The food at Sarsa is a generous blend of savoury richness and fresh flavours.  The riot of Filipino dishes, both classic and new-school are stir fried French beans (+ ginamos, SARSA XO sauce, tinapa flakes and crispy dilis), grilled blue marlin (+ crab sauce and squid ink) and sizzling kansi (+batwan gravy). The standout course is the crispy buko pie a la mode (+ pandan sauce and ice cream) which is the perfect ending to a meal at Sarsa. Buko pie is a traditional Filipino pastry made with young coconut meat.

There’s something about the simplicity of this Sarsa version of buko pie that makes it so appealing. It’s the best of the best. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 13, 2014

Museum Café/Kabila Filipino Bistro, Manila…One of the most relaxed and enjoyable places to eat casually in Makati

Museum Café, aka M is a restaurant with a Pinoy fusion menu opposite the entrance to the Ayala Museum that looks on to the Greenbelt complex’s lush gardens. An alternate Modern Asian menu is also available to make your deciding what to eat a notch more challenging. You can choose to be seated on either the right (Museum Café) or the left side of the room (Kabila). You can also cross-order from either menu. The  Kabila Filipino cuisine here is high up there for me – head and shoulders above Fely J’s in terms of flair and selection.

But what sets this place apart is the quality of the dishes.  The presentation of the food is captivating.  The aroma, inviting.  The taste, fresh and innovative…. What else can you ask for? From the comments of everyone on the table, everything was delicious!!!

One of the most relaxed and enjoyable places to eat casually in Makati, the traditional dishes are tastefully reinterpreted into a variety of intriguing new dishes, albeit with familiar flavor combinations. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 28, 2013

Fely J’s Kitchen, Manila…good but nothing stood out as great.

Filed under: Food & Beverage, Philippines, restaurant — PEr @ 10:25 pm

Fely J’s Kitchen’s fare is solid, but there was nothing that stood out as great. You may satisfy your tummy, but you probably won’t be wowed

Everything on the menu seemed too scrumptious to pass up, so we went for maximum coverage. We came with an appetite and ordered a crap load of food…Sugpo sa karnias (mildly curried prawns with tomato and karnias), Crispy patang bawang (traditional favourite pork leg deep fried and served with a special dipping sauce), Ginataang gulay at hipon (shrimps and vegetables sauteed with ginger and spices then finished with coconut cream), Leche flan (caramel custard old manila style). The best of the lot was easily Claude’s dream (macapuno ice cream with coconut meat an pandan jelly ) It was very cooling and refreshing.

Fely J’s Kitchen is a pretty decent restaurant.  While the food was good, it still wasn’t amazing or anything special at all. This is the true truth as i say it as it is…

 

 

October 28, 2012

Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay City…2 hours drive for an average massage.

Situated in Tagaytay City, Nurture Spa Village is a 2-hour drive from Manila. It was named as one  of the 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia by CNN Go (June 2010), and one of the Top Seven Spas of the Philippines by Asia Spa Magazine (May-June 2010 issue).

The ambience and environment – in their strategic location in the midst of well-tended gardens and the province’s natural tropical forest – is definitely a haven of rest.

Before a treatment, there’s a foot wash “ritual” using a corn scrub and floral-scented water. My therapist was professional and warm and was explaining each step of the treatment to me. After some time, I find that a tad annoying as I would prefer to have peace and quiet. Before the massage, you will be asked to fill a short customer information sheet and treatment sheet about which areas you feel sore and want more focus on. I don’t think the therapist ever read them.

I enjoyed the environment and the cooler temperature at Nurture Spa Village, but I would not drive 2 hours (each way) for an average massage. This is the true truthas I say it as it is…

August 18, 2012

Lorenzo’s way, Manila…so-so fare

I like homemade Filipino food, but not sure about this restaurant. The ambiance is very Filipino and traditional. The staff were very friendly and attentive.

Sadly, the food was just average. The crispy pata (served with gising-gising and garlic rice) which is a popular Filippino pork dish was lacking flavour.  Bulalo is a Filipino stew made from beef shanks and marrow bones. The meat was not tender and juicy as I am used to. If a Filipino place can’t make bulalo, they don’t deserve to be called just that.

I had high expectations of this place before but I was disappointed. First impressions are big with me and they failed in this area, in my eyes. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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