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.

Unwinding at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room

Taking advantage of a credit card promo, my mother-in-law treated us to dinner at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday.

Manila Hotel is a historic 5-star hotel located along Manila Bay. Built in 1909, it is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines.

The Tap Room is Manila Hotel’s English pub-inspired bar. Its dim lighting, dark wood interiors, plush seating and soothing jazz music from live performers make it an appropriate place to unwind in with your favorite drink.

While waiting for our orders, we were served with salted peanuts and green peas to go with our drinks (mine was, of course, a double shot of Bailey’s).

Our food orders included:

  • Pizza Manila Hotel (Php550). A thin-crust pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, Laguna cheese and olives.
  • Slider (Php550). Two cheese-stuffed mini burgers with guacamole and barbecue sauce.
  • Chicken Shawarma Wrap (Php450). Roasted chicken wrapped in a toasted flour tortilla and served with tahina dip, garlic sauce, pickles and French fries.
  • Fried Fish and Chips (Php750). Battered fish fried to a crispy golden brown and served with large cut fries.
  • Deep-fried Calamares (Php450).
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings (Php450).
  • Sizzling Pork Sisig (Php450).

Being located in a 5-star hotel, the Tap Room’s service was top-notch.  The wait staff was elegantly dressed, very accommodating and helpful.  They even brought out a slice of chocolate mousse as a birthday treat for my sister-in-law.

The food was well-presented and well-flavored.  However, given the pricing, hanging out at the Tap Room for dining or drinks is not something I can do too often.

Tap Room - Manila Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Late Night Drinks at Alchemy

Hubby and I attended a Saturday afternoon event here which extended to late night drinks with his friends and officemates. The place has an open-air veranda upstairs conducive to drinks and chats.

Alchemy is the ancient practice of mixing elixirs and potions to either come up with gold or the key to eternal life. Here, the elixirs are mixed for the patrons to have a good time. It has an extensive liquor list which include local and imported beers, wines from France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina, as well as other potions such as vodkas, rums, whiskies, liquers, etc. Also mixed in are lively music from the DJ upstairs or the live band downstairs.

Since I’m not much of a drinker, Hubby got me 2 double shots of Bailey’s Irish Cream (Php180/shot) and sampled their thick cut French Fries (Php110) and Hummus (Php200).

We stayed here until almost midnight (clearly my limit given we’ve been there since afternoon and I already consider myself a tita) but I had a fun time Hubby and some new friends.

Alchemy Bistro Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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