Great flavors at Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant

I’m not much of a drinker. Actually, I’m not a drinker. Period.

You would think a non-tippler would have found little to appreciate in Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant, but there I was with my officemates during lunchtime, marveling at the resto’s Instagrammable minimalist organic-themed aesthetic and its unusual and yet comforting food offerings.

This hole-in-the-wall establishment may seem small but its warmly lit and quite cozy. It’s unique style manifested in the old Latin saying prominently displayed in one of its walls – “In vino veritas; in cervesio felisitas” or “In wine there is truth; in beer there is happiness,” definitely a mantra among its patrons who have high regard for their spirits.

Our group of four were the only ones there. Our lone wait staff – RJ – was attentive, prompt in assisting requests and knowledgeable about the resto’s food choices.

I ordered a Salted Egg Pasta (Php250), spaghetti noodles with a creamy salted egg sauce and topped with bacon bits. It was a hit among our group but I would suggest splitting this order with someone; the sauce is quite rich and strongly flavored, and the dish is heavy on the tummy.

I was also able to try out my companions’ orders:

  • The Grilled Meat Chop (Php290), one of Vitto’s All Day Brunch meals, consisted of two hefty pork chops, well-seasoned to bring out their smoky taste, and well complemented by garlic rice and sautéed veggies. I will order this on my next visit.
  • The Potato Croquettes with Blue Cheese Mayo (Php190), on the other hand, had the problem of having a bland-tasting mashed potato base, we needed to further season it with salt.
  • Lastly, the Citrus Fish Fillet (Php220) consisted of two fillets of baked cream dory marinated in lemon. Its light taste and mild texture were well complemented by its rich butter sauce. It went well with the garlic rice my officemate requested as a replacement to its usual side of mashed potato.

While its wine list wouldn’t really appeal to me, Vitto’s food menu is definitely something I wouldn’t mind exploring.

Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant is located at 114 Scout Lozano Street, Laging Handa, QC.

Vitto's Wine Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other wine bars:

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Work-related hang-out at UCC Park Cafe, Glorietta Complex

Whenever I’m Ayala Center and I pass by this free standing resto amidst the park greenery, I always thought of it would be a great place to hang out in after a bout of shopping.

So far, I haven’t been able to just chill here as during both instances I’ve been are work-related.

Still, I have been able to try its sandwich offerings:

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php280). Three different kinds of cheese (cheddar, gruyere and mozarella) on buttered toast.
  • Cliffhanger Sandwich (Php250). Chicken, bacon, scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese inside fried custard-coated bread.

I didn’t care much for the side of marinara sauce that came with the sandwiches but I found the sandwiches themselves rich and filling.

The Cafe Americano (Php120) gave me a good pick-me-up. The muscovado sugar gave it a different kind of sweetness.

Thanks to my generous workmates, I was able to sample its other dishes:

  • Pasta Carbonara (Php260). Spaghetti noodles in a white sauce with sauteed bacon and onions, topped with a poached egg and parmesan cheese. I found this pasta a little too wet for my taste.
  • Garlic Seafood Pasta (Php450). Spaghetti noodles with shrimp, cuttlefish, mushrooms and scallops sauteed in garlic and olive oil. This seems to be a light and more preferable alternative to heavily sauced pasta dishes.
  • Crispy Wings (Php320). Fried marinated chicken wings served with garlic dip and fries. A bit forgettable but at least I got some more meat to go with my sandwich at the time.

I wouldn’t mind coming back to try out some of its more unusual food items such as its Cheese and Spinach (Php280) appetizer and Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese (Php320).

This UCC branch is located at Glorietta 3 Park, Ayala Center, Makati.

UCC Park Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Churro, dessert option at Savour Manila

After sampling some Asian street food at Savour Manila food park’s Hawker Street, my daughter and I decided to take our dessert at Cafe Churro.

With just Php100, we were able to enjoy a sugar cinnamon churro (Php40) with a chocolate dip and an Ice Cream ‘n Churro (Php60), a cup of vanilla ice cream with two halves of an original recipe churro sticking out of it with caramel topping.

The churros are slightly crunchy on the outside and a bit chewy on the inside.  We found that we prefer the original recipe churro a bit more than the Sugar Cinnamon one.

I, for one, look forward to trying out the dark chocolate coated churros topped with cashew nuts.

This Cafe Churro is located at Savour Manila, 238 Tomas Morato Ave., Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, near Guilly’s.

Café Churro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Savouring Asian street food at Hawker Street, Savour Manila

I took an opportunity to take my daughter on an impromptu foodie adventure (and on a weekday at that!) at Savour Manila.

My daughter recently started her internship/work immersion in a company in Quezon City. Since it is a short distance from my office, I usually drop her off and pick her up from her workplace.

On this particular afternoon, we found ourselves with a couple of hours to while away and we decided to meet up at my office then go out to eat.

She was all set for some Japanese food but as we were walking along Tomas Morato, the Savour Manila food park caught our eye.

For our first time here, we decided on Hawker Street, the stall that offers Asian street food.  We shared a bowl of laksa (Php200), my daughter’s first encounter with this Peranakan soup dish, and two sticks of bacon yakitori wraps (Php100).

We requested for the laksa to be mildly spicy, given that we both have low tolerance for spicy food. While the broth has a nice balance spiciness from the curry and creaminess from the coconut milk, the noodles used are pasta noodles instead of the more authentic vermicelli or laksa noodles.

The bacon wrapped asparagus spears and enoki mushrooms served as our meaty viand.  We really couldn’t say anything much about the bacon wraps except that bacon makes everything better.

We even shared a giant glass of iced tea from the store two stalls down.

Afterwards, we had our dessert at Cafe Churro.

We found our first foray at the food park to be a great experience, a break from our usual food haunts.

Hawker Street is located at Savour Manila, 238 Tomas Morato Ave., Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City.

Hawker Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Choices at Ramen Nagi, Robinsons Galleria

Newsflash: I’m still in my ramen phase and the poor fam has no choice but to bear with me and my food choices.

That said, I don’t think they were too disappointed when we recently had our Saturdate lunch at Ramen Nagi at Robinsons Galleria.

Located at The Veranda, Level 2 of Robinsons Galleria, this ramen shop provides a unique experience to the ramen lover: the ability to customize your ramen experience.

You are given the choice of broth flavors: Butao King (its signature tonkotsu pork broth at Php390), Black King (broth infused with squid ink at Php410), Red King (the spiciest broth at Php 410) and Green King (broth infused with Nagi at P410).

From there, you can specify the following:

  • Richness of the taste
  • Inclusion of Ramen Nagi’s special sauce
  • Garlic taste
  • Pork Shoulder or Belly
  • Level of Spiciness, and
  • Firmness of the noodles

If you’re a ramen newbie like me, go for the chef’s recommendation (because he or she should know what tastes good, right?), but go easy on the spiciness, especially if you’re not much into heat.

I would also recommend adding a Tamago (Php60), a flavored egg that provides more richness to the ramen.

My daughter and I got ourselves bowls of Butao King, while the husband got himself a bowl of Red King. The little boy, on the other hand (being the only one who is not into ramen), had to content himself with an order of Chicken Karaage (Japanese fried chicken at Php250), which, sadly, he didn’t enjoy as much as the rest of us enjoyed our ramen bowls.

We also ordered a side of Gyoza (Php220) and a sheet of Nori (Php60) to nibble on while waiting for our order.

The service staff were attentive and helpful, prompt to answer our queries and assist our requests.

By the way, this year, birthday celebrants get free Butao King Ramen during their birth month. Remember, though, that you can only avail of this promo once (even though the originally announced mechanics indicated otherwise – a friend discovered this the hard, and apparently embarassing, way).

You can also check out my review of Ramen Nagi at SM North EDSA.

Ramen Nagi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Family’s Intro to Fat Fook at Robinsons Galleria

When you’re planning where to eat for the family’s Saturdate, and you consider the varied tastes and preferences of your family members, sometimes you just need to put your foot down, dictate where you want to eat and hope it pays off.

And sometimes, it does.

The fam’s lunch took place at the newly opened Fat Fook at Robinsons Galleria. It’s one of two existing branches in the Metro Manila, with the other one located in SM City North EDSA.

This branch is situated in the recently renovated wing of Robinsons Galleria, where a lot of new and trendy restos are expected to open.

The place is quite spacious, warmly lit and can accommodate 40 or so people.  Similar to its SM North branch, it features porcelain bowls as part of its decor: this time, the bowls cover one wall, adding a quirky yet elegant Asian element to the resto’s interior.

Fat Fook offers authentic Taiwanese food. The dishes we sampled include:

  • Tofu with Century Egg and Pork Floss (Php198). The soft-chilled tofu was creamy and mild, and together with the century egg, the pork floss and the sweet-salty sauce, it brings a nice contrast of flavors and textures.
  • Taiwan Style Fried Rice (Php258). Served in a small pan, the rice is fried with a salty brown sauce and accompanied by bits of green onion and lots of savory-sweet chorizo pieces.  It provides an interesting complement to the other dishes we ordered.
  • Taiwan Beef Noodles (Php258).  Tender braised beef slices accompanied by hand-pulled noodles in a sour-and-slightly-spicy broth.
  • Fat Fook Chicken Chop (Php238). Juicy and tender chicken breasts coated with batter and breading, a quick hit with my baby boy!
  • Garlic Pork Spare Ribs (Php298). A safe bet, given that the fam has tasted this before in Chinese restos.

With all our orders, the bill amounted to just a little over Php1,500, so our Fat Fook sojourn is definitely among the more affordable of our food adventures.

I found this experience a good way to introduce the kids to new cuisines and food influences, which helps them develop a more adventurous yet discerning palate.  For myself, I welcome any opportunity to go off the beaten path when it comes to food choices.

Given its affordability and fresh tastes offered, Fat Fook is among the restaurants I won’t mind returning to.

Check out my review of Fat Fook’s other branch at SM North EDSA.

Fat Fook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This post contains affiliate links.

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Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking. This book by Taiwanese chef and food blogger, Tsung-Yun Wan, will inspire home cooks to make these authentic Taiwanese dishes part of their own cooking repertoire.

Taiwanese Cookbook: Food from The Streets of Taiwan. Author Carla Hale gives easy tips and recipes that will help readers prepare authentic Taiwanese dishes for their family and friends.

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Sign up using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Tempura Bowls at Hiro, SM East Ortigas

Hankering for some Japanese food but on a tight budget?

There’s a newly opened resto at SM East Ortigas serving various types of tempura bowls and more for as low as Php99.

Tempura is characterized by seafood or sliced vegetables coated with batter and deep-fried. Surprisingly, this dish apparently originated in Portugal (when the Portuguese introduced batter frying to Japan.

This cozy resto has a light and fun atmosphere with yellow decor, pine furniture and anime characters holding the tempura bowls depicted on the walls. Some of the food offerings are whimsically named as well. Among those my family and I have sampled include:

  • HiRO Tempura Bowl (Php99) – 1 prawn, 1 kani and vegetable tempura
  • Empress Bowl (Php129) – 1 prawn, 1 squid, 1 kani abd vegetable tempura
  • Sansa Seafood and Vegetable Bowl (Php179) – 2 prawns, 1 squid, 1 kani and vegetable tempura
  • Chicken Teriyaki Don (Php149)

Each tempura bowl comes with rice and a cup of miso soup. I also opted to Go Ninja, which gives me cabbage salad and a HiRo blend iced tea for an additional Php50.I found their prawn tempura a bit small (I’m tempted to call it shrimp tempura instead because of its size) but flavor is close to the offerings of pricier restos. (Note: Hubby disagrees with me, saying he can cook a better tempura). The kani seems a bit gummy, though, while the tempura sauce is thicker and less ginger-y than what I’m used to but still ok. The chicken teriyaki is tender and flavorful; my son wolfed it down as soon as it was served.HiRo Tempura Rice Bowls is still in its soft opening stage so there were some misses that can improve given time:

  • The first time I ate here, I wasn’t given an order number so the wait staff didn’t know where to serve my order.
  • They don’t have an automated POS yet so expect some lag as the cashier manually writes down your order and receipt (but you should always ask for a receipt, ok?)

Personally, I appreciate how this resto makes tempura and other Japanese dishes more affordable and accessible to more customers. It’s also a good way to introduce kids to Japanese cuisine without breaking the bank.I will return, especially when I want a quick and affordable tempura meal.HiRo Tempura Bowls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato