Comfort food elevated at ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Weekend brunches have grown popular lately, with many establishments offering hearty comfort dishes that can be leisurely enjoyed by diners.

At ALTA by Relik at Santolan Town Plaza, families can enjoy the flavorful comfort food amidst vibrant and colorful surroundings.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

The restaurant is an offshoot of the popular BGC restaurant Relik. Restaurant owner Gen Mortel and Chef Jam Laboriente collaborated on a Filipino-Spanish menu to provide an elevated dining experience to San Juan’s foodies.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Last weekend I had brunch together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH at ALTA by Relik where we had a taste of its comfort food elevated with fresh twists such as:

Relik’s Nachos (Php350). Homemade tortilla chips topped with meat sauce, crisp lettuce, tomato and cucumber relish, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Chilean Mussels Croquettes (Php495). Chilean mussels topped with thick bechamel sauce and bread crumbs and served a with a lemon judge.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Pulled Pork Quesadilla (Php235). Tender pulled pork, cheddar, mozzarella, corn kernels, lettuce and source cream encased in homemade flour tortillas.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Watermelon and Kesong Puti Salad (Php265). Mixed greens, arugula, watermelon cubes, bits of kesong puti and candied walnuts tossed with balsamic reduction.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Longanisa Flatbread with Salted Egg Cream (Php375). Crisp flatbread topped with sweet pork longganisa, tomato salsa and salted egg dressing.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Seafood Chowder (Php295). Shrimp, squid and herbs incorporated in a flavorful cream soup and garnished with croutons and parsley.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Bagnet Sinigang (Php395). The classic sinigang dish deconstructed into pieces of bagnet and vegetables served with a broth made of fresh sampaloc dialed up to its asim-est level.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Lamb Pares (Php355). Slow-cooked shoulders of grass-fed New Zealand lambs in garlic soy sauce served with garlic rice.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Sizzling Bulalo Steak (Php489). Tender beef shank with its decadent bone marrow served sizzling in a garlic bulalo gravy together with fried potatoes, green beans and garlic bits.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Seafood Paella (Php995). Rich saffron-infused medium-grain rice with white shrimp, squid, Chilean mussels and roasted bell peppers served in a special paellera pan that helps it develop a nice toasty crust at the bottom. (Fun fact: that flavorful toasty crust is called socarrat in Catalan. Paella connoisseurs consider this the key to paella’s fabulous flavor).

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Mango Tapioca Trifle (Php215). Fresh sliced mangoes, caramel,sauce and tapioca pearls top a layer of lady fingers.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Milo Dinosaur Cheesecake (Php195). A chocolatey frozen cheesecake flavored with Milo and garnished with sprinkled with Milo powder.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

So if you feel like enjoying an elevated brunch experience or dine on an excellent selection of Filipino-Spanish fusion dishes, drop by at Santolan Town Plaza to experience ALTA by Relik!

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

Many thanks to Gen, Jam and the staff of ALTA by Relik for the warm welcome and the fabulous food!

ALTA by Relik is located at Santolan Town Plaza, Col. Bonny Serrano Avenue, Little Baguio, San Juan City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 8am to 12 midnight and Fridays to Saturdays from 8am to 2am. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 3172582.

Here are more reasons to head to ALTA by Relik:

  • DJ Nights every Thursday night at 8pm.
  • Live music every Friday and Saturday at 8pm.
  • All-You-Can-Eat buffet breakfast every Sunday from 8am to 11.30am.

ALTA by Relik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with my fellow foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here. 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 blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

 

Say hello to a great summer with Ombu Kusina’s Flavored Ice Halo-Halo

Summers are for great times with great food, and spent with great friends.

Together with my fellow foodies, I experienced what certainly seems to be the start of a great summer.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

In a recent Foodie Event hosted by Ombu Kusina, it launched its newest and coolest offerings: three new scrumptious halo-halo flavors!

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

The halo-halo is a favorite Pinoy dessert made of crushed ice, evaporated milk and other sweet ingredients such as nata de coco, beans and coconut strips, served layered on top of each other, but then mixed together so that each spoonful is a mixture of sweet ingredients and the crushed ice. Ombu does its own take on this classic icy treat, with three flavors, available only during the summer, at only Php160 each. These include:

Milk Tea. The milk tea craze has surely hit the country and how! Now this exotic drink which originated from Taiwan flavors the Pinoy halo-halo through the use of brewed Earl Grey black tea.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Mango. Fresh ripe mango are pureed, mixed with milk then frozen to create mango-flavored crushed ice, served with the usual halo-halo ingredients and toppped with succulent mango cubes.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Tres Leches. As the name implies, the crushed ice is flavored with three kinds of milk and topped with creamy leche flan. This is my favorite among the new halo-halo variants.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu’s Chef Griffin Oraiz explained that what sets Ombu’s halo-halo treats apart from similar offerings from other restaurants is the use of flavored ice: the flavors are infused into the ice, resulting to a more intense taste and creamier mouthfeel.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu also showcased some its signature dishes which are well-suited for the summer, such as:

Suzi Wong Sandwich (Php270). A three-layered sandwich made of ham, cheese and pickles between four slices of butter-toasted crusted bread and served with house-made deep-fried purple camote chips.

Ombu, Tomas Morato

Tinapa Croquettes (Php240). Tinapa (smoked milkfish) is combined with a creamy bechamel sauce and sauteed onions, then coated with breadcrumbs, deep-fried to a crisp golden brown and served with a house-blend special garlic mayo dip.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Three-Cheese Pizza (Php420). Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses are combined with the local kesong puti, a home-grown cheese made of carabao’s milk, on top of a crisp oven-baked pizza crust.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Tokwa’t Baboy (Php260). Tokwa (tofu) are cut into cubes, fried and served with hearty pork chunks in a house-blended spicy soy vinegar sauce. This is actually a great complement and a traditional companion to the next dish which is the…

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Arroz Caldo (Php130). The traditional Pinoy version of rice porridge with chicken pieces, it is highlighted by the use of cured, soft-boiled “ramen-style” eggs that adds a different dimension of flavor to the Pinoy merienda staple.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

These dishes and the seasonal halo-halo flavors all adhere to Ombu Kusina’s modern take on Filipino cuisine: infusing classic Pinoy dishes with new and exciting cooking styles and influences. These help to make Pinoy cuisine fresher and more relevant to a growing number of foodies, who are looking for their next food adventure.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

And if that isn’t reason enough for you to hie on over to Ombu for a taste of its innovative and flavorful dishes, how about this: use my code – VIPBeingJellybeans – when you dine in and get 10% off your food bill!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Ombu Kusina is located at the Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia corner Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 6.30am to 10.30am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 441179.

Read my review of a previous visit to Ombu Kusina here.

Ombu Kusina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. 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:

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:

Classic Filipino dishes with a twist at Locavore, Kapitolyo

I’ve been hearing a lot about Locavore Kitchen & Drinks in Kapitolyo for the past few years since it opened but having moved offices from Ortigas to Quezon City, I just haven’t had too many opportunities to explore the Kapitolyo food scene anymore.

Luckily, the fam was invited to a lunch treat by the in-laws at this resto which also served as our welcome break from hibernating at home due to the non-stop rain.

The recipient of the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Filipino Restaurant in 2017, Locavore champions local cuisine by revitalizing classic dishes with a new twist, no doubt influenced by the French cooking background of chef and co-owner Mikel Zaguirre. Its name Locavore sums up the resto’s culinary philosophy: a person who eats and appreciates food that’s locally grown, raised and produced.

The place has a decidedly young and hip vibe to it, with a nice blend of wood and industrial-inspired interiors, designed by one the resto’s partners, Eric Matic.

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

While waiting for the rest of our party, we munched on Salted Egg Gabi Chips (Php350) and Kinilaw na Tanigue (Php320).  The gabi chips was a definite hit with me and my daughter #ExhibitA, both of us being fans of salted egg chips per se. Eating those kinds of chips made of a vegetable we don’t normally associate with snack food is actually an appetizing novelty.  Also, the chips are accompanied by kimchi, chopped white onion and kesong puti, a local cheese made from carabao’s milk, the combination of which that produced an explosion of flavors with each bite. As for the kinilaw (the Pinoy version of ceviche), I liked the texture of the raw fish that has been cured in cane vinegar and aromatics.  Hubby didn’t find it spicy enough for his taste, but I liked it just fine. 🙂

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore Kapitolyo

Once our party was complete, we feasted on main dishes that exemplify the concept of classic Filipino dishes given unique cosmopolitan twists.  For example, the Boneless Lechon Belly (Php650) is a Cebu-style roasted pork belly that had a tender, mildly flavored meat with a crisp and crunchy skin.  The Mac’s Boneless Fried Chicken (Php270), has a thick yet crisp batter enveloping the juicy chicken (since this dish was intended for the little boys in our group, the wait staff served it separately from the spicy glaze).  The Sugpo con Mayonesa (Php980) was a decadent dish of huge tiger prawns served with a rich sauce of aligue (crab fat), garlic, butter and Japanese mayo.  The Ginataang Kalabasa (Php420) features the Pinoy version of the pumpkin cooked in gata (coconut milk) and accompanied by French beans, shrimp and sizeable pork chop slices; it’s definitely an upgraded version of the vegetable dish that Pinoy moms would force us kids to eat for our health.  Not being a fan of curry nor spicy food, I didn’t sample the Green Curry Bicol Express (Php480) anymore.

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Of course, the piece de resistance of the meal is the Sizzling Sinigang (Php550), the classic Filipino soup dish transformed into a sizzling viand.  The sour sampaloc (tamarind) broth became a rich savory gravy that retained sinigang‘s characteristic sourness.  Together with the sauteed French beans and garlic confit, it complemented the beef short-ribs slow-cooked to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

All of these dishes were wonderfully set off by the various options of brown steamed rice, garlic white rice and steamed white rice that we ordered to accompany the viands.

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore, Kapitolyo

To cap the meal, we were treated to a tall tower of the house special Leche Flan (Php190), the Pinoy version of Creme Caramel, a rich and creamy custard served with a creamy caramel sauce on the side.

Locavore, Kapitolyo

We experienced a minor panic when my son got some hives due to allergy to the shrimp and tiger prawns (which was unfortunate because shrimp is among his favorite food). Good thing sister-in-law came to the rescue with some antihistamine she happened to have handy.

Despite that, I’m happy to say that Locavore more than lived up to my expectations when it comes to food flavor and presentation, and I look forward to exploring more of its offerings.

This Locavore branch is located at 10 Brixton Street, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig City (Tel: +63 917 684 2014).  Other branches are located at:

  • Unit 5-7AB Forbeswood Parklane, Taguig City (Tel: +63 917 574 2017)
  • A1-A2 Three Central, Salcedo, Makati City (Tel: +63 917 178 2018)
  • Level 1 S Maison, Mall of Asia, Pasay City (Tel: +63 917 847 2747)

Locavore Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

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