Fine Filipino Food with a View at Fika, Capitol Hills

A Swedish chef whipping up Filipino delicacies.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles at Fika, the restaurant located in the out-of-the-way Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Head chef and CEO Mats Loo hails from Sweden where the word “fika” means “having coffee and talks with friends.” Having long dreamed of having a restaurant name Fika, he made his dream a reality right up Capitol Hills in Quezon City.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Diners of Fika are treated, not just to fine Filipino food, but also to a stunning view of the city. Being located in the Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, near Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club and Celebrity Sports Club, it is surrounded by lush greenery with a view of Quezon City all the way to Antipolo.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Fika, Capitol Hills

Also housed in the same building is the top culinary school First Gourmet Academy. It trains aspiring chefs in various courses that will prepare them for jobs in both local establishments and those abroad. Its working kitchen is also where the fantastic dishes in Fika’s breakfast and all-day menus are prepared and cooked.

Fika, Capitol Hills

I recently joined a foodie meetup held at Fika where, together with fellow foodies, I was able to sample delectable dishes from Fika’s all-day menu. These include:

Chicken Inasal (Php255). A popular Ilonggo dish, it is grilled chicken marinated in a special sauce that gave it its distinct color.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Laing (Php135). Dried taro leaves, coconut milk and chili peppers make this a winner among lovers of spicy food.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pancit Luglog (Php195). Thick noodles sauteed in a rich savory sauced and topped with hard-boiled eggs and chicharon. A party favorite!

Fika, Capitol Hills

Pinakbet with Bagnet (Php265). A classic Ilocano dish, it’s made of stewed vegetables seasoned with bagoong and topped with crispy bagnet.

Fika, Capito Hills

Fika Fried Rice (Php135). A recipe that came from Chef Mats’ mom, it’s a great breakfast fried rice made with chopped Chinese sausages, scrambled eggs, pork bits and various chopped veggies.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Binagoongan Rice (Php135). A flavorful dish made of rice, pork bits and kangkong sauteed in bagoong paste then topped with salted egg and ensalada.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Bangus Steak (Php285). The fish version of Bistek Tagalog, it features boneless bangus marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and served with lightly sauteed white onion rings.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Dinakdakan (Php140). An Ilocano dish made of various pork parts such as cheeks, liver, ears and tongue.

Fika, Capitol Hills

Sisig (Php150). Chopped pork parts are deep fried and seasoned with calamansi, mayonnaise, soy sauce and chilis.

Fika, Capitol Hills

We washed down our meal with ice blended drinks such as Choco Frappe (Php165) and Green Tea Frappe (Php175).

Fika, Capitol Hills

And since any meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert, we indulged ourselves in some freshly baked cakes, all at Php110 each:

Tres Leches

Fika, Capitol Hills

Ube Queso

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocolate Cake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Chocnut Cheesecake

Fika, Capitol Hills

Clear winners for me are the Pinakbet with Bagnet, Fika Rice and – dare I say – all the cakes!

These Fika food sure are Fika good! Do check them out!

Fika is located at the Ground Floor, Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays at 6.45am to 10.30pm and Fridays to Saturdays at 6.45am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 917 7006588, +63 2 3553132 or +63 2 5142480.

Fika 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.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

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.

https://flic.kr/p/QyJGPJ

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.

#PampangaFoodCrawl: 7 Must-try Dishes

San Fernando, Pampanga is only about two hours ride from Manila.  It is usually a place my family and I pass by on the way to our hometown of Bataan.  While I may have visited the city once or twice over the past years (and usually on business), I have never thought of it as a foodie destination.  (I admit now that this notion is a bit odd, considering that Kapampangans are known for their culinary skills.)

Fortunately, I recently took part in the Giant Lantern Festival Bloggers Tour organized by the city’s Tourism Promotion and Caravan Sub-Committee, YALLA Book of Coupons and the Giant Lantern Festival Foundation, Inc.  Together with fellow bloggers, I toured San Fernando’s heritage sites and learned about the city’s thriving Christmas lantern industry and annual competition.  Plus, our group was treated to an EPIC seven-stop food crawl of the city’s top restaurants.

I can hardly keep myself from talking about all the great foodie finds discovered during the tour, so I wrote a curated list of the “absolute must-trys” that represent the various cuisines available in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Check them out and try to include these restos in your itinerary on your next visit to the area.

Baked Goods: The Original Cheesebread at L.A. Bake Shop

L.A. Bakeshop prides itself on being the “Home of the Original Cheesebread.” And, oh, its artisan cheesebread is really worth boasting about!  When served while still warm from the oven, it emits a sweet cheese-y smell that has you salivating.  Bite into it and the soft fluffy sweet bread gives in to the explosion of cheese flavor in your mouth. Enjoy it for breakfast together with L.A. Bakeshop’s Spanish Bread and Tsokolateng Batirol for a truly indulgent start to your day.

LA Bakeshop

Price:
Cheesebread: Php180 (box of 30 pcs)
Spanish Bread: Php210 (box of 30 pcs)
Mixed: Php195 (15 pcs cheesebread, 15 pcs Spanish bread)

L.A. Bakeshop is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 7am to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4360153 or +63 916 2623098.

Italian: Shrimp Bisque Fusili at Parmisano’s

An exciting take on the Pancit Luglog, this dish features al dente fusilli pasta tossed in a creamy shrimp sauce, topped with onion leeks, plump shrimp, soft-boiled egg and bits of savory chicharon.  What a fun way to enjoy a local classic!

Parmisano’s

Price: Php286

Parmisano’s is located at KM 78, San Agustin, City of San Fernando, Pampanga (across Vista Mall), open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12nn to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4027639.

American: Grilled Beef Steak at Meats and Match

For the true-blue carnevore like me, there is nothing like the taste of freshly grilled steak. Sourced from local farms, cooked to medium doneness and served on a sizzling plate together with mashed potatoes and buttered corn and carrots, the meat is tender, juicy and oozing with flavor.  I love it when its accompanying gravy has caramelized a bit below the steak, adding a more intense flavor to every bite.

Meats & Match

Price: Php194

Meats and Match is located along McArthur Highway, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.  For inquiries, call +63  998 9888917.

American: Double Smoky Mushroom & Cheese Burger at Roberto’s

Two juicy flame-grilled meat patties topped with a flavorful mushroom sauce and accompanied by crisp greens inside a warm burger bun. Crispy battered onion rings and tartar dip are served on the side.

Price: Php450

Roberto’s is located in Dolores (beside the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital), City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries, call +63 998 9888914.

Seafood: Bag of Fresh Catch at Orange Bucket

Steamed or boiled crabs, shrimps and mussels in a savory-spicy Cajun-style sauce. It’s best eaten by hand and you can expect to be messy so take advantage of the disposable gloves and bib provided by the resto (it’s a lot more fun that way anyway).

Price: minimum order of 300g
Crab: Php540
Shrimp: Php450
Mussel: Php270
Clam: Php60

The Orange Bucket is located at the Erazone Square, Kalahi Business Road, Bgy San Isidro, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquiries, call +63 045 4022611, +63 906 2468000 or +63 998 8597750.

Filipino: Sizzling Sisig at 4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw

Since Pampanga is the birthplace of the sisig, a Pampanga food crawl would hardly be complete without it. This dish is made in the traditional way: boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks, seasoned with vinegar, and served on a hot plate with roughly chopped onions. I found this version dryer than other sisig I’ve tasted (which usually incorporate mayonnaise), but it did not detract from the taste.

Price: Php175

4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquries, call +63 045 9633283.

Dessert: Chiffonelle at Cafe Noelle 

Made from the recipe crafted by the chef’s family matriarch, this dessert treat is composed of classic chiffon cake with a decadent yema custard filling and butter icing. It’s simple and light on the tastebuds but absolutely wonderful.

Price: Php140/slice; Php 980/whole cake

Cafe Noelle is located at the Greenfields Square along MacArthur Hi-way, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

The #PampangaFoodCrawl helped to open my eyes to the many gustatory delights available in the city of San Fernando and I look forward to my future trips up north so I can explore more of the city’s dining possibilities.

Planning a trip up north? Check out these restos and be sure to head out and experience more of what makes the city of San Fernando, Pampanga unique.  Check out my previous blog posts on the city:

Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tour and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences provided and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.

City of Dreams Manila opens a VR Zone and Food Park

City of Dreams Manila is changing the landscape of entertainment and dining as it unveils The Garage.The new attraction is a VR Zone and food park that enables guests to delve into the immersive experience of virtual reality entertainment and delight in a wide range of casual dining choices from the carefully curated selection of food and beverage trucks and trailers set in a comfortable, air-conditioned space.

Bandai Namco Amusement from Japan, one of the world’s leading video digital entertainment development companies, provides the virtual reality experience at the VR Zone.

“The Garage is City of Dreams Manila’s latest attraction featuring unique entertainment activities in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement. With their creativity and cutting-edge technology, we are honored and delighted to partner with them, and together blaze a trail in delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences that go beyond gaming and recreation in the Philippines,” Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila’s Chief Operating Officer said.

The virtual reality experience provided by a leader in video digital entertainment development is complemented by quality food and drink choices offered by 10 of the hippest and contemporary food and beverage partners including the resort’s own talented staff. This concept, curated all in one place, makes The Garage a first of its kind in the country — “setting us apart from the rest,” adds Benning.

“Bandai Namco Amusement is honored to partner with luxury integrated resort City of Dreams Manila and bring to this exciting destination our first VR Zone entertainment facility in Southeast Asia. We hope to bring outside of Japan an immersive, multi-sensory and fun activities to Filipinos and foreign guests with our unique VR activities at The Garage,” Kunihisa Yagisita, Bandai Namco’s General Manager stated.

Set in a 2,714-square meter cool and comfortable space located at the upper ground floor, The Garage stands out with its modern industrial interiors catering to a 563-seating capacity. Designed by award-winning Paris-based creative design agency, Malherbe Design in collaboration with Westar Architectural Interior Design, a group known for its strong sensitivity to contemporary design aesthetics, The Garage is further given life and vibrancy with graffiti works of two prominent names in the street art scene: Kookoo Ramos and DeeJae Paeste.

View this post on Instagram

#graffiti that graces one of the walls of the newly opened #VRZone and #FoodPark @thegarageatcod. It helps set the mood for enjoyment among gamers and foodies. Wanna chance to check out the VR games available for free! Like and tag a friend in the comments under the giveaway posts here and at @sandundermyfeet, @herlculis, @hungryherl and @foodventuresbyfrapao. Be sure to follow all our accounts to qualify! #TheGarageAtCOD #VRZoneCOD #GamesGastroGalore #cityofdreamsmanila #virtualreality #bandai #bandainamco #VRPark #virtualrealitypark #virtualrealitygames #gaming #gamers #mariokart #skirodeo #philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #wheninmanila #wimadventures #virtualrealityworld #virtualrealitygames #virtualrealityexperience #virtualrealitygaming #virtualrealityarcade

A post shared by Jellybeans in the City (@beingjellybeans) on

Game of a lifetime

The Garage’s VR Zone features a new generation entertainment facility that offers an exhilarating and startling experience with top-of-class VR technology.

One of the exciting activities at the VR Zone is the famed Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, which was developed by Bandai Namco Amusement under license from Nintendo. The three-minute Mario Kart Arcade GP VR enables one to choose to play as one of the characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi; step right into the action-packed world of Mario Kart universe; and race until the finish line through a course filled with traps such as giant Piranha Plants and Thwomps or large stone creatures that attempt to crush the players. This highly sought-after game can be played by up to four persons and is open to enthusiasts 13 years old and above.

For those seeking a different kind of thrill, the Hospital Escape Terror, which can be played by up to four participants, is described as a ‘horrifying experience unlike ever before’. This immersive horror room game is open to thrill-seekers ages 13 years old and above. Hospital Escape Terror’s players have the goal to escape and survive altogether the dark, cursed, and abandoned hospital within nine minutes while being restrained on a wheel chair.

The two-minute Ski Rodeo on the other hand, is a steep downhill ski simulator that lets a player ski a vast snowy mountain course with sharp slopes and steep drops at an immense speed with the goal to finish at the fastest time possible or within the allotted time. This heart-dropping game, which can be played in pairs, is open to individuals with a height of 140 cm and up.

Tickets are available on site. Single player ticket price is available at P450 nett; while packages are available for those playing in groups or pairs: P800 nett for two persons playing Ski Rodeo; P1, 200 per person for three activities; and P1, 600 nett for a group of four persons playing Hospital Escape Terror or Mario Kart GP VR.

Gastronomic Galore

Going hand in hand with the one-of-a-kind entertainment experience, The Garage’s VR Zone is offering a selection of 10 food and beverage trucks and trailers: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Katsu Sora, Pink’s Hotdog, Little Flour, El Chupacabra, Pizza Grigliata, Farmacy, Chocol8, The Roaster and Juiced. The casual dining experience is also enhanced with the sustainability drive of City of Dreams Manila: only eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable plates, utensils and take-out bags are used at The Garage.

Hailing from Japan, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s well-loved ramen is characterized by its mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup which is carefully prepared by taking the time to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. This exceptional soup with thin-noodle ramen, and perfectly topped with mouthwatering slices of Char-siu pork and pickled plums is meant to be savored to the last spoonful.

Another food truck specializing in Japanese cuisine is Katsu Sora. A household name in the metro for good tonkatsu or Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet, Katsu Sora’s  secret to their naturally tender, marbled, and flavorful tonkatsu is the use of only premium pork meat. The restaurant is known for serving dishes that use four kinds of world-class pork that are of the highest quality: Iberico, Kurobuta, Shimofuri, and Sakura. Their Iberico and Kurobuta Tonkatsu sets are served with their famed Juugokokumai rice, a premium rice blend that includes white rice, corn, barley, millet, sesame seeds, and black beans.

Los Angeles’ most popular hot dog stand, Pink’s Hot Dogs has been hailed by multiple publications as the number one hot dog in America. A staple in Hollywood since 1939, their lip-smacking hot dogs especially the iconic “The Hollywood Legend,” which is a medley of Pink’s eponymous hotdogs with chili, cheddar cheese, mustard, and chopped onions, are sought after by everyone. This legend continues in Manila since opening their first store in 2016, and is offered together with other American favorites such as burgers, fries, nachos, and more.

Little Flour Café by the highly successful Wildflour Café + Bakery, is known for its well-loved and locally-inspired Filipino rice bowls, delicacies and grilled items.

El Chupacabra is a casual street taco bar serving a delectable array of Mexican-influenced dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as uniquely tweaked versions of popular local plates. Apart from Mexican-style street tacos, El Chupacabra is also known for burritos, enchiladas, and grilled chicken sticks.

Pizza Grigliata serves nothing but hot, freshly-made artisanal pizza to deliver a different kind of pizza experience that stands out from the rest. Uniquely prepared, Pizza Grigliata’s pizzas are handmade from scratch everyday using thin crust dough topped with the freshest ingredients which are torched and grilled.

Farmacy takes us back to the time of classic turn-of-the-century ice cream parlors. Satisfying the sweet tooth of guests, Farmacy is known for serving fresh homemade ice cream “the right way,” and for serving an extensive array of comforting treats such as milkshakes, sodas, coffee, and pastries.

Alongside the well-curated food and beverage outlets at The Garage are City of Dreams Manila’s own exceptional outlets: Chocol8, Juiced and The Roaster.

Chocol8 features handcrafted chocolates in a number of shapes and forms, and are enhanced with special ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and spices.

For those into healthy concoctions, Juiced offers a variety of freshly squeezed smoothies, slushies, and juices daily; while The Roaster is the go-to outlet for an array of gourmet coffee creations made from freshly roasted Philippine beans. In keeping with the resort’s sustainability campaign, the beans are sourced from coffee growers and farmers in various communities supported by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.

The Detox, Smoothies, and Sluhes

The bar at The Garage offers a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to pair their choice of food from the trucks and trailers.

JASMINE RED SIGNATURE ICED TEA

The Garage is open daily from 10 AM to 2 AM. For more information, call (+63 2) 800-8080 or email guestservices@cod-manila.com or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.

Details provided by The Garage in a recent press release.

Delectable Degustation at Ilustrado, Intramuros

Degustation is the careful and deliberate tasting of various food with an eye towards appreciation of the science and artistry that goes into their preparation as well as their effect to the senses.

To mark its 29th anniversary, Ilustrado Restaurant introduces an 8-course degustation menu which will be available to its patrons throughout the month of October.

The menu was conceptualized by Ilustrado Restaurant’s Chef de Patron Bernice Pimentel, inspired by, of all things, a classic Pinoy song.

“My almost three year old nephew is in a “bahay kubo” sing-song stage and I can say that the vegetables in the song followed me everywhere making its way into our degustation menu.” shares Chef Bernice.

The influence of “bahay kubo” is apparent in the menu’s deliberate use of homegrown ingredients and incorporating them into continental dishes.

In fact, Chef Bernice’s plan for the restaurant’s own farm to table concept is already in the works. Among these initiatives are a partnership with Luntian Farms and growing the edible flowers that serve as garnishes for her dishes right at home.

Together with fellow foodies and food bloggers, I was able to sample this innovative degustation menu, which is priced at Php1,250 (plus 10% service charge). The menu included items that may also be availed of ala carte, such as:

Kangkong Pesto Brioche served with Boursin Cheese. The freshly baked brioche is amazingly light and fluffy, wonderfully accented by the herby cream cheese.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Kesong Puti Croquettes at Lato (Php175+). These are croquettes made with local white cheese, sea grapes (or locally called lato, which gives a burst of flavor from the sea with each bite), baby mesclun and Salsa Verde Aoili.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Oyster Laing Rockefeller (Php195+). Seafood dish made of Aklan oyster topped by the classic Bicolano laing made of coconut, chili and dried taro, with added parmigiano reggiano, lemon juice and panko. These add a rich creaminess and a spicy kick to the oyster.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Sayote Egg Drop Soup (Php125+). Chayote soup with a quail egg dropped in for added richness that warms the tummy, served with crunchy crostini.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Burong Mangga Sorbet. Pureed green mango churned and cooled into a sorbet to cleanse the palate in preparation for the main dishes.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

BBQ Pulled Pork Tostadas (Php215+). Tender slow-cooked pork marinated in Pinoy-style barbecue sauce, served with refried mungo beans, papaya slaw on top of fried tortillas.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Sea Bass Sinantol (Php350+). Buttery Chilean sea bass fillet pan-seared then oven-broiled and served with fried rice sauteed in the Bicolano dish sinantol, as well as arugula.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Egg Pie Brulee (Php175+). Bruleed egg tart with dots of rose creme chantilly, slices of fresh strawberry, green grapes, and ripe mango. Accompanied by edible flowers, this dessert provides a sweet ending to the meal.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado, Intramuros

The degustation menu modernizes and localizes the continental viands it includes. It brings somewhat-forgotten local produce such as lato, sayote and santol back to the forefront of modern Philippine cuisine. The portions are well-calculated such that diners are able to appreciate each dish in its entirety but are not overwhelmed by flavor or quantity.

In keeping with a degustation’s aim to satisfy as many of the senses as possible, the menu features visually appealing and colorful food presentation, appetizing herby, fruity and earthy smells, and interesting interplays of various textures and flavors with each dish served.

This wonderful menu is best enjoyed inside Ilustrado Restaurant’s well-appointed premises. The converted Spanish era seminary, its aged wood furniture and antique bric-a-bracs all give the resto an old world appeal.

But do hurry: this delectable degustation menu will only be available within October.

Ilustrado is located at 5440 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila, open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 6pm to 9pm.  For queries and reservations, call +63 2 5273674 or +63 939 9206822, or email catering@ilustradorestaurant.com.ph.  For more details and updates, check out Ilustrado Restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Ilustrado Restaurant 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.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Have an Instant Party at Alex III, Tomas Morato

With the approaching holidays comes the much-awaited season of parties and get-togethers.  Pinoys, in particular, love to celebrate with food, lots and lots of it.  I recall my mom and titas slaving away in the kitchen, preparing their signature dishes for our family gatherings.

While I’m passionate about food, I’m not too keen on stressing myself out in the kitchen. Fortunately, thanks to a Foodie Meet-up held at Alex III’s Tomas Morato branch, I, together with my fellow foodies, discovered that I can treat my loved ones out to a feast of classic Filipino favorites, thanks to its Instant Party Menu.

Alex III’s Instant Party Menu consist of two sets of dishes.  Both priced at Php2995, these feature home-grown Filipino party food enough for a group of five.  These are all prepared and cooked with the same love and tradition that goes all the way back to Aling Asiang (or Mrs. Engracia Reyes), the matriarch of the family behind the Aristrocrat restaurant of which Alex III is an offshoot, being a business started by one of Aling Asiang’s grandsons.

Set One

Alex III, Tomas Morato

This set includes:

  • Choice of 1 viand among Chicken Barbecue, Pork Barbecue, Barbecued Pork Belly and Whole Fried Chicken
  • Special Pancit Canton
  • Fresh Lumpiang Ubod or Lumpiang Shanghai
  • Kare-Kare
  • Crispy Pata
  • Steamed Rice

Set Two

Alex III, Tomas Morato

This set includes:

  • Choice of 1 viand among Chicken Barbecue, Pork Barbecue, Barbecued Pork Belly and Whole Fried Chicken
  • Whole Fried Chicken
  • Whole Crispy Lapu-Lapu with Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Camaron Rebosado
  • Special Pancit Canton
  • Shanghai Rice

Each set is served with garlic peanuts, a sushi sampler, your choice of soup (of which we sampled the Hototay and Sinigang na Salmon), bottomless iced tea and your choice of dessert (of which we sampled the Leche Flan and the Pandan Jellied Tapioca).

Alex III, Tomas Morato

Both sets present diners with a combination of flavors that are dearly familiar, being dishes that were served during family reunions and fiestas when we were growing up.  They also serve as a way for working moms like me to reconnect our present-day celebrations with the warmth and traditions of our childhood: that despite the hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles, we have a way to get together with our loved ones to exchange old memories and make new ones, while enjoying good food and good company.

With Alex III’s Instant Party Menu, the tradition of fun family celebrations with good food is made even better.

This branch of Alex III is located at Tomas Morato Avenue Corner Scout Bayoran, South Triangle, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 11pm.  For reservations and queries, call +63 2 3711414 or +63 2 3711415.  Its spacious, tastefully appointed and well-lit interiors make it a great venue for large family gatherings or office parties.

Alex III, Tomas Morato

Alex III, Tomas Morato

Alex III, Tomas Morato

 

Other branches are located at:

  • 201 Wilson Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City (open daily from 11am to 11pm | Tel Nos: +63 2 7240882 or +63 2 7264444)
  • 29 Matalino Street, Diliman, Quezon City (open daily from 11am to 10pm | Tel Nos: +63 2 9261266 or +63 2 9268942)
  • 53 Pontiac Corner Chevelle Street, Fairview, Quezon City (open daily from 11am to 10pm | Tel Nos: +63 2 3766286 or +63 2 3765179)

By the way, did you know that for your parties at home, you can have your favorite dishes from Alex III delivered right to your doorstep? Minimum order for delivery is Php500.  For more details, contact the Alex III branch nearest you.

Alex III Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I attended the Bloggers’ Day held at 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.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Filipino food you can take comfort in at 13 Ubay Street, Banawe

It was a wet and rainy evening when I made a long hop over from my workplace to Quezon City’s Banawe area to attend a Zomato Foodie Meetup at 13 Ubay Street Comfort Dining.

As I made way through Banawe’s narrow streets in the rain, I grew apprehensive thinking on where to park when I got there. Fortunately, the restaurant’s ground floor mostly serves as it parking space, giving diners somewhere convenient and secure to park their cars. According to the restaurant’s owner, Chef Zaza Sarmiento, parking space was one of her non-negotiables when it came to her resto’s layout: a boon, I’m sure, to many motorists who just want to feast on her brand of Filipino food.

13 Ubay Street, Banawe

Upon entering, diners are treated to a feast for the eyes with a tasteful display of various eclectic artwork which were taken from the chef’s own family collection and travels. From the array of masks reminiscent of Bacolod’s Masskara Festival and the huge colorful mural at the staircase to the photos depicting local life on the walls (taken by her grandfather), the restaurant’s interiors are unique and indicative of the personal and family memories close to the owner’s heart.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

The dining area, which takes over most of the restaurant’s second floor, is quite spacious, able to accommodate an entire family reunion or an office Christmas party.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Together with other Zomato foodies, I partook of another feast: this time of dishes that Chef Zaza deemed as among her favorites yet are underrated. These were classic Filipino flavors and recipes that she gave her personal touch to and made from scratch, in line with her vision to bring families and friends together over good food.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

We started with some Spanakopita (Php170). These are triangular deep-friend pockets filled homemade laing, tinapa and kesong puti (white cheese made from carabao milk), and served with a dipping sauce of braised tomatoes.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Among the chef’s number ones is the Sinigang sa Lechon Kawali (Php410). This dish made of deep-fried pork belly boiled in tamarind-sour broth with red raddish, kangkong (water spinach), sitaw (string beans) and okra has a sweet aftertaste that sets it apart from other versions of sinigang.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Its version of Beef Pares (Php390) on the other hand, brings slices of beef brisket stewed until tender in the restaurant’s pares sauce. It is best enjoyed with the restaurant’s homemade chili garlic sauce.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Vegetarians have something healthy yet hearty to enjoy as well: the Mushroom and Tofu Salpicao (Php180) brings a mix of button and shimeji mushrooms sauteed with deep-fried tofu cubes in a garlicky sauce.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Our meal was capped with a delectable scoop of homemade Langka Ice Cream (Php70). Jackfruit is a staple in many Filipino desserts but is seldom an ice cream flavor so this serving is a rare treat.

13 Ubay St. QC

13 Ubay St. QC

Plus, if you like your Filipino food with with some refreshing craft beers and ciders, you’re in for a treat: 13 Ubay Street is also the home of Elias Wicked Ales and Spirits.

13 Ubay St. QC

There’s much to like at 13 Ubay Street, all centered around the resto’s desire to give comfort to its diners.

As can be gleaned from its name, this restaurant is located at No 13 Ubay Street, Santa Mesa Heights, Banawe, Quezon City.  For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 2 5796484 or +63 917 8762692.  It is open daily at 11am to 2pm and at 5pm to 11pm.

If you want to taste these homegrown dishes with a twist but don’t want to leave the comforts of your home, you will be glad to know that the resto also delivers via Honestbee.  Register using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.

Trivia: Did you know that 13 Ubay Street also served as one of the locations of the teleserye “Pangako Sa ‘Yo”?

13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining 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.

13 Ubay St. QC

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants: