Haven for coffee and comfort food lovers: Little Owl Cafe, New Manila

Hidden away in New Manila is a haven for lovers of coffee and comfort food.

Renovated from one of the previously worn-down houses along Broadway Avenue, Little Owl Cafe is nestled among lush greenery. Started as a coffee shop but now a full service cafe, it serves food that features a fusion of Italian and Asian cuisines that professionals working in the area or families residing nearby can enjoy.

I was recently invited to a Blogger’s Dinner at this restaurant where I was able to sample some of its delectable offerings:

Omelette Chorizo Rice (Php270). Part of the resto’s All-Day Breakfast Menu, it consists of homemade longganisa rice, delicately wrapped in a thin omelette and topped with onion gravy and aioli.

Sisig Tacos (Php210). Three pieces of soft-shell tacos topped with crispy sisig and a savory liver aioli sauce. A great start to the meal!

Glazed Cauliflower (Php210). Cauliflower covered in a sweet and spicy soy glaze then deep-fried to crispiness. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

Truffle Mushroom Pasta (Php350). Al dente noodles tossed in a rich homemade mushroom sauce made with three different kinds of mushrooms – shiitake, enoki and shimeji – topped with fried enoki and drizzled with truffle oil.

Shrimp & Aligue Pasta (Php330). Pasta noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce incorporating shrimp aligue and served with plump grilled shrimps.

Beef Tapa & Cheese Sandwich (Php295). A Pinoy take on the Philly Cheesesteak which showcases savory slivers of beef tapa, it is accompanied by a hefty serving of crisp shoestring fries.

Chicken & Waffle (Php270). Chicken thighs covered in batter then fried to a crisp then served with sriracha coleslaw over cheddar waffles.

Lechon Kawali Bibimbap (Php320). The classic sweet-spicy Korean fried rice served with sauteed mushrooms and spinach accompanied by deep fried pork belly and fried egg. A great combination of Pinoy and Korean flavors!

Chicken Satay (Php280). A bowl of Indonesian- inspired fried rice served with grilled chicken thigh and its trademark peanut sauce.

Beef Rendang (Php420). Tenderchuck slow-cooked in aromatic spices and coconut cream. A little too spicy for me but a sure winner for those who like their food with lots of kick!

Kimchi Salmon Sinigang (Php420). Salmon belly and loin seared then served in a spicy and sour soup.

Iced Mocha (Php170). A rich yet refreshing blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, it is among the Toby’s Estate beverages served in this restaurant.

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Pink Owl (Php180). A fruity cocktail of vodka, lychee, watermelon and mint. A suitable drink to chase away the workday stress.

Little Owl Cafe’s food offerings provide its diners with an adventurous break from the everyday meals but with enough familiar flavors to make them appealing to those with more conservative tastebuds.

Its premises are well-appointed, tastefully furnished and prettily lit, great backgrounds for foodie shots and group photos.

Since this resto is conveniently located a short distance from my workplace, I definitely can drop by again for dinner with friends after office hours.

Little Owl Cafe is located at 65 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For inquiries, call + 63 917 8181468 or +63 2 5012036.

Little Owl also accepts bookings for special events such as weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, press conferences and more, with function rooms that can be reserved for a minimum consumable amount.

Little Owl Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Happy Korean Lunch at Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Ever since the extended family discovered the wonders of Korean cuisine that Tagaytay has to offer several years ago, a sojourn here is hardly complete without a meal at a Korean restaurant.

One such eatery is Neul Bolm Korean Restaurant which has moved to a new location since our last visit.  (Incidentally, it is tagged on Zomato as “Permanently Closed” but as confirmed by the wait staff and this review, it is still very much in operation.)

The new location is just as spacious as their previous one with a cleaner and more modern aesthetic.  It has long wooden tables with built-in grills for the Korean barbecue; two tables side-by-side was able to comfortably accommodate our party of ten.

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

We ordered Ssambap, meats to be grilled right on our tabletop and served with green leafy vegetables, a few slices of garlic, sesame oil and some ssamjang or red bean paste sauce. These include:

Cha Dul Begi (Php500), thinly spiced beef and Samgyubsal (Php400), grilled pork belly.

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Jeyuk Bukum (Php400), spicy stir-fried pork with vegetables

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

These were accompanied by generous and refillable servings of banchan, side dishes such as sliced fish cakes, rolled omelettes, kimchi and more.  Many of these have some acid or vinegar elements which help cut through the richness of the grilled meats.

We also ordered Kimchi Jeon (Php280), a kimchi and seafood pancake with egg; Budea Jjigye (Php970 for a Large serving), a soup of kimchi, ham, sausage, pork and veggies; Bulgogi Junggol (Php650), tender slices of savory-sweet marinated beef served in sauce; Dolsot Bibimbab (Php280), rice and vegetables mixed with a spicy paste and served in a heated clay pot; and Steamed Egg.

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

Neul Bolm, Tagaytay

After the meal, the kids were also able to enjoy several assortments of Korean ice cream which are also offered by the restaurant

Neul Bolm Korean Restaurant is located along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway near Sky Ranch.  For queries and reservations, call +63 46 413 1536.

Neul Bolm Korean Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This post contains affiliate links.

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.

Loud Dinner at K-Pub BBQ, Trinoma

Now I can say that I’ve seen everything when it comes to Korean BBQ.

As our despedida blow-out for one of our office barkada who will be moving on to greener and less stressful pastures, we decided to have dinner at K-Pub BBQ in Trinoma. We figured that the group will bond over our shared love of Korean food and of chismis.

Well, the Korean food we had plenty. Our group availed of the Beat the Clock Eat & Run meal package wherein we can get unlimited refills for an hour at Php599 per head. The set includes:

  • Chadol Baki (Beef Sukiyaki)
  • Tong Samgeopsal (Whole Pork Belly)
  • Yengnyem Samgeopsal (Marinated Pork Belly in Sweet Spicy Sauce)
  • Dwaeji Galbi (Marinated Pork Chop)
  • Dak Galbi (Marinated Chicken in Sweet Spicy Sauce)
  • Fried Spring Roll
  • Japchae

The set also comes with side dishes such as steamed egg, kimchi pajeon, steamed rice, kimchi fried rice, soup, lettuce and house salad, as well as Melona ice cream bars for dessert.

I am not a fan of these timed Korean BBQ. Instead of leisurely enjoying your food and time with your friends, there’s the sense of trying to stuff your face before the hour for refills run out.

With its hefty price tag, the value proposition of this arrangement is also dependent upon the efficiency of the wait staff for refills. That efficiency is already compromised by the number of diners and the loud background noise.

And oh, that noise! (Yeah, I’m having a #TitasOfManila moment.)

For one thing, being a Korean resto and having K-pop decor, somehow, playing mainstream pop is off-strat. Furthermore, there’s a stage with an an open mic segment during which diners can sing if they so choose. (Well, one among us did choose, hehehe!)

Still, the noise precluded most of the chismis to the point that as soon as we finished the refill hour, we hung out at the cafe next door to recover and chat.

Note to self, and to you, dear readers: this place is not one for languid dining. But a great one for boisterous fun. Unfortunately, not for a tita like me.

K-Pub BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Learn more about Korean cuisine by checking out these 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.

Now available at Gangnam Wings, Megamall: Samgyeopsal Sets!

My love for Korean food is well-documented in this blog and in my social media accounts.  This love has only been further stoked when, urged by my husband and daughter who are both K-drama fanatics, I started watching Goblin.  Everytime I see Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook and Kim Go-Eun either wolfing down or sedately eating samgyeopsals or ramyuns, I would find myself near to salivating.

I was happy to discover this Korean chicken-and-beer joint located at SM Megamall during a recent Zomato Foodie Meetup.

Named after the upscale district in Seoul made famous by Psy’s earworm of a song, the place had a lively and informal vibe, with playfully designed interiors (check out those rubber chickens!) and K-pop music videos playing in the background (yes, including songs from Goblin OST). Gangnam Wings is well-suited to the after-office crowd who will be craving for their chimaeks (chicken and beer) after a day’s work.

This resto is well-known for its authentic Korean fried chicken: crispy skin and tender juicy meat enhanced by distinct sauce coatings. Even its dishes have that playful vibe with its most popular orders named (not surprisingly) after famous Korean dramas: Goblin Wings (Php280 for half dozen pieces), which is a combo of three sauces – the Original Crispy, Garlic Soya, and the Sweet and Spicy – Php280; and Descendants of the Chicken (Php548 for ten pieces), which consist of any 2 combinations of sauces from Korean Buffalo, Korean Barbecue, Honey Garlic, Soya Yogurt and Spicy Asian.  These sauces indeed have distinct flavors but, surprisingly, I liked them all, even the Korean Buffalo which was quite spicy.

I would recommend pairing the chicken with Beef Bulgogi Fries (Php298).  These consist of thick fried potato wedges topped with beef bulgogi bits, aromatic herbs and a special mayonnaise.

A surprising piece de resistance is the Ginseng Chicken (sorry, I didn’t get the price :-)).  A whole spring chicken is boiled, together with herbs and seasonings, for an hour with rice inside, such that the rice cooks while inside the chicken.  The closest it comes to texture and flavor is the arroz caldo but with significantly less rice and a lot more falling-off-the-bone chicken.

For dessert, we had Rockmelon Bingsu (Php280), shaved ice with melon balls served in the melon shell and topped with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream.  I can imagine myself eating this with my kids to ward off the summer heat in the near future.

I also sampled two of its Sojuritas (soju cocktails): the Watermelon Soju (Php688)and the Yakult Soju (Php248).  Both were refreshing drinks with a little kick but I had to stop myself at two shots apiece as I still had to drive myself home.  (By the way, I much preferred the tangy sweetness of the Yakult Soju, but then again, I was never a big fan of watermelon anyway.)

However, the real star of the show is the affordable Samgyeopsal Lunch Set which are now available for lunch and dinner.  From 11am to 2pm, diners have the choice between Unlimited Pork at Php349/head, or Unlimited Pork and Beef at Php399/head.  From 5pm to 8pm, on the other hand, Unlimited Pork is priced at Php449/head, while Unlimited Pork and Beef is priced at Php499/head.  These sets come with unlimited meat, rice, ice green lettuce, side dishes (such as kimchi, mini potato balls, sweet fishcakes, vinegar radish, bean sprouts and onions, all prepared fresh in the kitchen) and iced tea.

Currently, all of these Korean barbecue sets will be composed of unmarinated meats but marinated variants are being considered for future offerings.

A concern that was raised was the absence of exhaust pipes to suck out the smoke from the cooking meats on the dining tables.  Surely, the lunch crowd will not appreciate smelling like inihaw when they get back to their offices after their meal break.  Owner Rinky Tuano assured us that this concern has been considered and will be addressed by air conditioning and the exhaust in the kitchen.

Gangnam Wings is located at the Megastrip Unit 1-114 Upper Ground Floor, outside Building A, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.  Other branches will open soon in San Fernando, Pampanga, Sta Rosa, Laguna and in Antipolo, Rizal.

Gangnam Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other Zomato foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

At the request of Gangnam Wings, this post was updated to reflect the new pricing of the Samgyeopsal Sets.

One of my favorite Korean haunts: Jang Ga Nae

My favorite Korean dishes are Bibimbap and Samgyeupsal. Both of these are served in my favorite Korean restaurant Jang Ga Nae.

Formerly known as Minato, Jang Ga Nae is located at Plaza Ortigas along Jose Escriva Drive in Ortigas Center, Pasig, right behind the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). You can tell that it serves tasty and authentic Korean food because a lot of Korean nationals eat here. In fact, it was a Korean friend who introduced me to Jang Ga Nae.

I recently treated my family to dinner here and as usual, we were fully satisfied by our orders as well as by the amount of side dishes served.

It consists of hot steaming rice, julienned vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini and carrots, sliced mishrooms and bits of beef topped with a fried egg. I usually put just half of the spicy red paste provided before I mix all the ingredients together. I prefer my bibimbap served in a hot stone pot (Dolsot Bibimbap) so that as the meal goes on, the rice at the bottom of the pot is cooked into a nice crispy golden brown.

Samgyeupsal, on the other hand, consists of roasted pork belly slices (usually dipped first into sesame oil seasoned with salt and pepper) placed in lettuce leaves together with thin garlic and chili slices. I also like to put some of my bibimbap inside the lettuce leaves before I roll them up to eat.

The resto does not serve Korean ice cream but within the same strip mall is a Korean grocery store that sells the treats along with other Korean food essentials. Recently, Jang Ga Nae opened a cafe right next door that serves bingsu, coffee and cakes. Try it out – Jang Da Bang Cafe.

I find Korean food very tasty and nutritious and I have somewhat developed a taste for its spicy offerings. Jang Ga Nae will continue to be my first choice for Korean food in Pasig City.

Jang Ga Nae is located at 8137 Plaza Ortigas, Jose Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig. It has another branch at 237 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque.

Jang Ga Nae 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.