A vastly improved dining experience at Teriyaki Boy, SM East Ortigas

My first and second dining experiences in the SM East Ortigas branch of Teriyaki Boy with my family were less than stellar as detailed in my previous post.  I was therefore quite pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation from the management to dine again at the same branch for free.

Together with Hubby and the kids, I set out to give this branch another chance.

Well, what can I say? The service and kitchen team set out to wow our group and they did!

As instructed, I looked for the manager-on-duty, Acee, when we arrived.  The service crew immediately ushered us to our seats and handed us the menu until Acee came out to greet us.

She clarified a lot of my misgivings during my earlier visits in this branch.  For one thing, our first visit here was during the first week of the branch’s opening and the group was still ironing out some kinks in the system while dealing with the first rush of people.  Another was on how we can better enjoy the steaks we cross-ordered from Teriyaki Boy’s sister-restaurant Sizzlin’ Steak (more on that in this post).

From Teriyaki Boy’s menu, we ordered most of what we got during our first visit such as:

  • Tempura Tuna Tartare (Php165) – This spicy mix of tuna sashimi, Japanese mayo and tempura flakes is a great appetizer as the slight spicy kick of the wasabi-seasoned sashimi is counterbalanced by the creamy mayo and the texture of the tempura flakes.
  • Gyoza (Php155 for 5 pieces) – Another of my daughter’s favorite appetizers, these steamed and seared pork dumplings were juicy and flavorful on the inside and has a slight crisp on the outside.
  • Dynamite Roll (Php185 for 8 pieces)– I found this sushi roll composed of fresh tuna, chili oil, Japanese mayo and Japanese chili pepper togarashi too spicy for my taste but Hubby loves it and orders practically all the time.
  • Tonkatsu (Php280) – This breaded and deep-fried pork is actually my son’s favorite dish.  We just ordered a Gohan (Php65), or steamed Japanese rice, to go with this viand. We are happy to note that this time, the breading does not fall apart from the meat unlike in our previous visit.
  • Katsu Ju (Php345)– Pork tonkatsu that has also been simmered in sweet soy sauce, diced onions and sliced leeks, and served with a beaten egg on top of steamed Japanese rice, and whose blend of flavors and textures appealed to my daughter.
  • Teriyaki Boy Cotton Cheesecake (Php115)– This cross between a rich cheesecake and an airy souffle is one of Japan’s most popular desserts.  Next time, though, I’ll request to have the chocolate syrup on the side rather than drizzled on the cake.

This much more enjoyable time at Teriyaki Boy was also brought about by the attention and assistance of servers Rhea and JR who immediately fulfilled, and even anticipated, our requests.

The week after this visit, Hubby and I dined at Sizzlin’ Steak and we cross-ordered Endamame (Php90) for our appetizer, two orders of Tonkatsu and Yakimeshi Rice (Php75).

I’m glad I was able to have the opportunity to change my mind about this resto.

By the way, with the Max’s Group’s All You Can Wednesdays Promo, you can eat all the Ebi Tempura you want at Teriyaki Boy from 2pm to closing time at only Php349, available all the Wednesdays in June.  More details are available in this blog post.

Teriyaki Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch at Lydia’s Lechon, Roces Avenue

From a small stall in Baclaran selling lechon (roasted pig) slices to to churchgoers to now being practically synonymous with its specialty and having over 25 stores in and around the metro, Lydia’s Lechon has certainly come a long way.

Started in 1965 by the couple Benigno and Lydia de Roca, Lydia’s Lechon has branched out beyond lechon delivery to restaurants, foodcourts, consumer goods and more.

Still, the company’s claim to fame lies in its lechon: this is what my officemates and I traversed the hot summer day all the way to the Lydia’s Lechon branch along Roces Avenue for.

The restaurant, similar to other Filipino restos, has a casual vibe, clean premises and eye-catching decor (check out the large paintings that adorn the staircase; these depict a Pinoy fiesta which, of course, includes the lechon).  There’s enough parking space outside the store for five to six cars, as well as an area where the lechon are roasted.

Our group of four ordered:

  • A half kilo of Lechon (Php450)– the meat was tender and flavorful with melt-in-your-mouth fat and crispy shiny skin (with a nice crackle to it).  It is, of course, accompanied by the resto’s own lechon sauce
  • Pinakbet (Php175) – which I, surprisingly, liked! The flavors and textures of the vegetables, pork bits and bagoong (shrimp paste) were well-balanced and went well with our steamed rice.
  • Chopsuey (Php195) – I preferred this vegetable dish less than the pinakbet.  While the vegetables still have a nice crisp texture despite being cooked, the flavor of this dish is too mild. Anyway, truth be told, our group just ordered this and the pinakbet to assuage our conscience given that our main dish is so decadent.
  • Lydia’s House Blend Iced Tea (Php65/glass)– We actually got a pitcher of this iced tea but I didn’t get the price.  We wanted something sweet and refreshing to balance the richness of the lechon.

https://instagram.com/p/BjoZU0jHEdT/

It was a very satisfying and energizing lunch, what with the calories we consumed and all.  🙂

On my next visit to Lydia’s Lechon, I would definitely try some of its other dishes to accompany the lechon such as the Fresh Lumpia (Php85) and Lydia’s Paella Rice (Php55).  I would also love to sample its sweet offerings such as the Mango Sago (Php60), Suman at Mangga (Php135) and Ube Banana Turon (Php65).

This Lydia’s Lechon branch is located at 49-Don A. Roces Avenue, Corner Scout Reyes
Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 376-5173 or + 63 2 376-1818).

Other Metro Manila branches are located in:

  • Quezon City: Timog, Commonwealth, SM North and SM Fairview
  • Pasig: Ugong and Meralco
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall
  • Makati: Cash & Carry, Landmark
  • Paranaque: SM Sucat,
  • Manila: Baclaran, 999 Mall, SM Manila, SM San Lazaro, 168 Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Manila Doctors Hospital
  • Marikina: Marcos Highway
  • Taytay: SM Taytay

Lydia's Lechon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my review of another lechon joint nearby.

The Max’s Group brings All You Can Wednesdays this June

Take your fill of all your favorite food this June with the Max’s Group’s All You Can Wednesdays promo.

The largest casual dining restaurant group in the Philippines, the Max’s Group will have eight of its well-known brands offer their best-selling products which you can eat all you want for only Php349 per brand, such as:

Click on the links above for more details.

This promo is available across 600 stores nationwide.

For tips on how to survive and make the most out of an eat-all-you-can scenario, check out my blog post here.

Check out my reviews of previous dining experiences at Max Group restaurants:

Taste of Spain at Casa Marcos, Tomas Morato

Spain has a rich and colorful history, a fact which comes out of its equally rich and colorful cuisine.

One of the most popular cuisines in the world due to its spread during the age colonization, Spanish food is particularly close to Pinoy hearts as it influenced our own local cuisine.

Casa Marcos started in 1945, established by a Spanish national, Marcos de Guisasola, opened a Spanish restaurant in Manila which he named after himself. Driven by his love of cooking and entertaining friends, he brought his country’s signature dishes as well as the decidedly Spanish flair and passion for life to his new home.

Today, Casa Marcos is located at the second floor of the Il Terrazo Mall along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It has a pub kind of atmosphere and was quite deserted when a friend and I went there for lunch but we were told that the restaurant’s peak hours are at night due to its offerings of tapas and craft beer.

We were also served some dinner rolls with butter while we waited for our main meal.

The purpose of our visit was to sample the resto’s Paella Valenciana (Php470 for a small serving which is good for 2 to 3 people: Php845 for a large serving which is good for 5 ton6 people), a hearty rice dish with chorizo, seafood, and chicken pieces, seasoned with paprika and served in a heated flat pan (called soccarat in Spain). We also ordered a Lengua Sevillana (Php345), ox tongue cooked until tender and served with a mushroom gravy sauce.

Both dishes have rich and earthy flavors, well worth the walk to the resto (and the hefty price tag).

Some of the paella also got toasted in the pan, adding some crunchy texture to each bite. The portion was quite large (despite us opting for the small serving) and we ended up splitting the remainder and having them wrapped for takeout.

In my future forays here, I plan to sample the Callos (Php450) and the Paella Negra (Php470 for a small serving/Php845 for a large serving).

For reservations at Casa Marcos, call + 63 2 4418134 or + 63 906 2213615.

Casa Marcos X Baguio Craft Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Click here to check out my review of another Spanish restaurant.

Birthday treat at All4U, SM East Ortigas

All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue joints have sprouted up all over the metro, spurred no doubt by the proliferation of K-pop and other Korean what’s-its in Filipino pop culture.

At SM East Ortigas, another of these joints opened its doors to cater to those craving for unlimited Korean-style grilled meats: All4U Unlimited Grill & Shabu Shabu.

When I ate at All4U’s Century City Mall branch, I didn’t appreciate it so much. To be clear, this is not wholly the fault of the restaurant: I had lunch earlier that day in another all-you-can-eat Korean joint and samgyeopsal was probably coming out of my ears.

This newly opened branch near my place allowed me to rediscover the resto and its offerings while sating my Korean barbecue cravings.

At only Php599 (on promo rate from Php699), one can enjoy all the shrimp, chicken breast, pork belly and beef brisket that you can grill on your table and eat. This also comes with bottomless iced tea, refillable rice, side dishes and sauces, refillable soup that you cook using the shabu shabu also on your table, as well as a packet of ramyun (Korean ramen) per table and a bar of Melona ice cream per customer for dessert.

Our group always ends up ordering multiple refills of the pork belly and beef brisket slices which I like wrappping inside the Korean ice lettuce together with garlic slices while doused with ssamjang sauce. I’m not partial to grilled shrimp and the grilled chicken breasts often end up too dry.

When we dined here during my birthday, I got half off the regular rate of Php699 plus the service staff served me a small chocolate cake while singing the Happy Birthday song. 🙂

To make the most out of this all you can eat restaurant, check out my buffet survival guide.

This All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu branch is located at 2nd Floor, SM City East Ortigas, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Pasig City (Tel: + 63 977 6005945).

Other branches are located in:

  • Makati: 4th Floor, Century City Mall, Poblacion, Makati (Tel: + 63 2 8092881)
  • Ermita: 3rd Floor, SM City Manil, Ermita, Manila (Tel: + 63 917 2781758)
  • Novaliches: UG Ayala Fairview Terraces, Maligaya Road cor Quirino Highway, Novaliches, QC
  • Muntinlupa: GF Water Garden, Festival Mall, Filinvest, Muntinlupa (Tel: + 63 916 4263221)
  • Tagaytay: Al Fresco Area, LGF Fora Mall, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay

All4u Unlimited Grill & Shabu Shabu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Korean food at home?  Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

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. Use 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.

Quick Bite at Banh Mi Kitchen, Tomas Morato

Banh mi is a kind of sandwich which consists of a Vietnamese version of a crunchy baguette filled with savory meats and fresh vegetables. It is the product of the influences of Vietnam’s Indochinese neighbors and French colonizers, introduced in the mid-19th century and became a staple in the early 20th century.

Banh Mi Kitchen’s The Classic sandwich may be considered the starter variant among the shop’s various offerings. The crusty banh mi bread is filled with slices of Vietnamese ham, roast pork, pate, cucumber, pickled radishes and carrots, flavored with mayonnaise and hoisin sauce.

Together with the Banh Mi Kitchen’s own milk tea at only Php199 results in a fusion of flavors that made for light yet filling meal with decidedly Asian flavor.

This banh mi adventure occured during a recent lunchtime visit to M Place along Mother Ignacia Street, South Triangle, QC.

Banh Mi Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Homey Comfort Food at Mom & Tina’s, Greenhills

One of the mantras I always try to follow is to never shop hungry. For one thing, experiencing hunger pangs might distract me from getting the best deal and I might end up just settling. On the other hand, hunger makes me a bit grumpy and I might snap at a hapless salesperson.

In a recent foray with Hubby at Greenhills Shopping Center (where I did not snap at anyone, hapless or otherwise), I chanced upon this Mom & Tina’s branch near the newly renovated Unimart.

I’ve enjoyed dining at this chain’s branches in Tomas Morato and Ugong (even took out cakes for celebrations at home) so I had no qualms suggesting to Hubby that we take our lunch here.

Similar to other Mom & Tina’s outlets, this branch has a bright, cheery yet cozy atmosphere, accented by rustic and homey bric-a-bracs and light-colored furniture.

We ordered a substantial amount of food (proof of how hungry we were):

  • US Roast Beef (Php435) – slices of roast beef served with rich gravy served with mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and rice.
  • Beef Stroganoff (Php270) – al dente fettuccini pasta tossed in cream sauce with thin beef slices.
  • Barbecued Pork Steak (Php335) – marinated and grilled pork belly served with Java rice and achara

The roast beef slices are a bit too well-done for my taste (they tend to seem dry) but the meats are tender and well-complemented by the mashed potato and veggies. The pork steak is also tender and well-seasoned; its blend of sweet and savory flavors blend well with the Java Rice (I prefer not to include the achara, it’s quite overpowering). The beef stroganoff is also hearty and filling. The portions of these dishes are quite large and we ended up getting part of our orders wrapped for take home (which was greatly appreciated by my son who ate it for merienda).

And simply because there should always be room for dessert, and because I truly deserve it, I got myself a Carrot Cupcake (Php70) to cap the meal. (No, Hubby is not into cupcakes; so… more for me!)

This lunch experience reminded me of the appeal of Mom & Tina’s and I look forward to trying more of its offerings.

This Mom & Tina’s branch is located at 2/F O-Square Building, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Ave., San Juan City.   For reservations, call + 63 921 5737710.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ugong: FRDC Building, 106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., (C-5), Pasig City (Tel: + 63 2 9140833 or +63 2 5711541)
  • Makati: G/F Unit 14 Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa St. cor. Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City (Tel: +63 2 8404299 or + 63 2 8943598)
  • Tomas Morato: 58 Sgt. Esguerra Ave., South Triangle, Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 3323080 or +63 2 3323579)

Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato