Organic lunch treat at Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

I decided to treat a dear friend from the office to lunch at Kandle Cafe for her birthday.

Why?

Because a) it’s been years since I last ate there; b) I remember the place to be very Instagrammable and my friend and I are both IGers; and c) it’s reasonably near our office which means we can get back from our lunch break on time.

Kandle Cafe initially made a name for itself with its coffee brews and blends, given that the owners, siblings Khryss, Don King, Leslie and Eli Ong (from a play on whose names came the resto’s moniker – KANDLE), were all passionate about coffee culture.

The place is also marked by a design aesthetic that combines warm and homey interiors with nature’s beauty outside.

Along the pathway leading to the dining area, for example, abound plants and water feature installations. The steady sound of trickling water and the sight of verdant growths did have a calming effect on my work-frazzled nerves. Wood and metal furniture add a modern touch to the al fresco setting.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Inside, the sprawling space is lit with warm lighting, showcasing the fun and quirky collection of bric-a-bracs and whimsical accents.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

This place is designed to be memorable, and to be a setting for great memories.

For our memorable birthday lunch, we ordered:

Chilean Mussel Pasta (Php380). Chilean mussels sauteed in a garlic and white wine sauce served on top of al dente tagliatelle and topped with grated parmesan.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pork Tonkatsu (Php350). Tender pork loin stuffed with cheese, breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown, served with house-made teriyaki sauce, sesame cabbage salad and blue rice (yep, the color comes from the edible flower they serve it with).

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

For dessert, we indulged in a moist and heavenly Carrot Bar (Php100), a Lava Cookie (Php55) and a Maple Cookie with Bacon (Php80).

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

While the food items were definitely a sight to behold, there were hits and misses upon eating them. I think that the pork tonkatsu may be better accompanied by the sweet and peppery tonkatsu sauce rather than a teriyaki sauce which does not bring out as much of the pork’s flavor as I would like. The lava cookie, on the other hand, was lacking the rich chocolatey taste and gooey texture that I’ve come to expect.

That said, we loved the interplay of textures and flavors in the Chilean Mussel Pasta and the moist and richly sweet Carrot Bar.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

The servers were also attentive and knowledgeable about their offerings, citing features or ingredients that make their dishes unique as they are serving them.

I definitely wouldn’t mind returning here for a nice and relaxed coffee break so I could try out the resto’s celebrated brews and more of its pastries.

Kandle Cafe is located at 113 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy South Triangle, Quezon City, Sundays to Thursdays, 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12mn. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 3724504. Or you can book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Kandle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Laid-back lunch at White Camp, Tomas Morato

Lunchtime is that magical hour (or hour-and-a-half) where you can rest your brain from your office worries. For me and many of my work buddies, the lunch hour is sacred: it is a respite from work and an opportunity to explore the possibilities for gastronomic delights that surround the workplace.

Last Thursday, when I found myself without my usual lunch buddies, I was lucky enough to chance upon another officemate who was willing to forego the pleasures of the office foodcourt and accompany me to White Camp Coffee.

A newly opened cafe located at the corner of Mother Ignacia Avenue and Sgt. Esguerra Street in Quezon City, White Camp promises to be “a bright space for infinite cofee and dining adventures.”

The resto’s interiors are bright and cheery, a palette of white with spots of colors which are all easy on the eyes. Comfy tables, chairs and counters are conducive to hanging out and enjoying one’s coffee concoction.

For lunch that day, I ordered a Truffled Eggs on Toast brunch set (Php189) which consist of a smaller portion of the resto’s fluffy scrambled eggs with a hint of truffle oil on toast, accompanied by crunchy wonton chips and a free drink which I upgraded to a Latte (by adding Php30). Perfect timing as it turns out because brunch sets are only available weekdays from 10am to 2pm.

My companion, on the other hand, got a Bacon Bagnet Rice Meal (Php289). Sinful strips of bacon deep-fried for a satisfying crunch were served alongside fluffy garlic fried rice.

The portions were substantial considering my companion shared some of his bacon bagnet with me and I ended up having half of my toast wrapped up to go.

All in all, it was a satisfying meal for me, made all the better by having a new lunch companion.

Update: I went back to White Camp together with my usual lunch buddies. I ordered a Kani Sandwich Brunch Set (also Php189) and I just upgraded the drink to a Flat White (+ Php30).

White Camp Coffee and Kitchen is located at 62 Sgt. Esguerra Corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City (Tel: +63 9178987793)

White Camp Coffee & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All-day Brunch at AM:PM Brunch. Bar. Cafe. in Tomas Morato

A new resto just opened along Sgt. Esguerra Street – AM:PM Brunch Bar. Bar. Cafe.

Brunch, a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch, is a meal usually eaten late in the morning to early afternoon, sometimes with some alcoholic beverages.

AM:PM’s menu includes of All Day Brunch items, main dishes, pizza, sandwiches, as well as coffee- and non-coffee-based beverages. It also offers beers, and liquors by the shot or by the bottle. It recently started offering budget meals ranging from Php120 to Php145.

I went here a couple of times with some coworkers for lunch and I was able to sample some of its offerings:

  • Homemade Bacon Slab (Php260), served with garlic rice, fried egg and iced tea. While a filling meal, I was a bit disappointed with its portioning. I was expecting a huge slab of bacon but what I got was more like bacon strips. It could also use some more salt.
  • Crispy Chicken Skin (Php90), not a wise choice after eating bacon, but, you know, #YOLO. 🙂
  • T-bone Steak (Php400), served with fried egg and mashed potato. The portion was quite sizeable. I split my order into two: I ate one half over lunch and the other half later at dinner and still felt full. I’m not too crazy about the mashed potato’s balsamic dressing, though.

I’m still open to eating here for lunch but I might be opting for the budget meals.

AM:PM Brunch. Bar. Cafe. is located at The Ignacia Place, Sgt. Esguerra St. cor Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City.

AM:PM Brunch, Bar & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to give your family’s breakfast/brunch a new twist? Check out these recipe books from 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.

Fresh, huge and great burgers at Zark’s

There are days when you just want to forget about greens and calorie counting (which to me is everyday) and sink your teeth into some sinful, hearty and greasy burgers.  These are times when a visit to this burger joint comes in.

Zark’s Burgers was named after its owner, Zark Espina Varona, a burger fan himself who put up his first store near De La Salle University along Taft Avenue in 2009 (all the better to cater to those hungry students, I guess), with the mission of offering burgers that are “FRESH. HUGE. GREAT.”  The chain has since grown to 29 stores with branches in Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod.

When my hubby and I craved for sinful burgers, we visited the branch in SM East Ortigas and treated ourselves to:

  • Chicken Fingers and Fries (Php159) for sharing
  • The Zark’s Classic Cheeseburger (Php109 + Php40 for fries and drink) for me.
  • The Zark’s Ultimate Burger (Php149 + Php40 for fried and drink) for hubby. It’s composed of a quarter-pounder burger with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, cheese sauce and, of course, bacon
  • Snickers Ala Mode (Php149) for sharing.  It’s a Snickers bar dipped in batter, deep-fried and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup

In a later visit, I even tried out the heart-healthy (not! But YOLO – Uh-oh!) Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Burger (Php279), a burger completely wrapped in bacon strips, then deep-fried, giving it a crispy crust that gives way to a juicy burger as you bite into it. I didn’t even need the Mamba sauce that came with it.

This Zark’s Burgers branch is located at 2nd Floor, SM City East Ortigas, along Ortigas Avenue Extension in Pasig City.

More info at:

Zark's Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In good Burger Company

Along Scout Reyes in Quezon City, quite near my workplace, is a burger joint known for scrumptious burgers and finger foods. Burger Company is also known for board and card games you can play while waiting for your food or buy to add to your collection.

My favorites here include the Mushroom and Gorgonzola Burger as well as the resto’s famous crispy Bacon Dippers.

Recently, it introduced new additions to its menu:

  • The Gamer’s Platter, which includes its famous Bacon Dippers, Cheese Bombs, Chicken Firecrackers and Buffalo Wings. Perfect for hungry gamers!
  • Burgerrito, a savory and zesty combination of an all-beef burger patty enclosed in a flour tortilla together with nacho hash, picante sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream and chopped lettuce.
  • Curry-inspired dishes such as the Hambagu Kare and the Menchi Katsu Kare, served with a sweet-ish curry sauce over steaming hot rice.

With this expanded and varied menu, Burger Company has a lot more to offer to hungry gamers and folks hankering for a hearty meal.

Burger Company is located at the corner of Scout Reyes and Mother Ignacia Avenue, Paligsahan, Quezon City. For reservations and inquiries, call 02-9492269.

Update: The Burger Company Facebook Page recently announced that it will close its doors on December 15.  Beginning December 1 until its closing day, it will grant 20% discount on burgers and drinks to diners.

23561699_748009018743356_1208308143792591842_n

Burger Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato