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.

Did you know you can buy two drinks and get the same two drinks for free at ALTA by Relik through Zomato Gold? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

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:

 

Tsokolate Ah and more at Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Dessert cafes abound in the metro, but how many of them do you see touting our very own tsokolate – the Pinoy version of hot chocolate?

Would you believe I first heard of this delicacy back in high school while studying Noli Me Tangere? Jose Rizal’s literary masterpiece features a scene wherein the characters assign social status to the thickness of the hot chocolate served.

During a social gathering, Padre Salvi (one of the more nefarious characters in the novel), serves tsokolate eh (from espresso, meaning thick, due to the richness of the hot chocolate served) for Spanish visitors and dignitaries, while tsokolate ah (from aguado, meaning watered down) was served to the locals, which is probably why this is sometimes referred to as the native hot chocolate.

(Aside: being a racist and a snob are the least of Padre Salvi’s character flaws.)

The latter variant is available at Tsoko.Nut Batirol, a small cafe located in Quezon City’s Tomas Morato Area. The batirol in the cafe’s name refers to the implement used in mixing the hot chocolate to make sure that the tablea (chocolate tablets) are dissolved and well-incorporated into the drink.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

The cafe has an Old World feel to it, with furniture and interiors that harken back to ancestral homes in the provinces. It also makes use of its own signature mug for its hot beverages which adds to its quaint appeal.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Together with my office buddies, I went here for some dessert which included:

Tsokolate Ah Batirol (Php88 regular | Php98 large). The aforementioned native hot chocolate is no longer a comment on one’s station. Instead, this is an indulgent treat for any chocolate lover. Made in the traditional way: using chocolate tablea, milk and ground peanuts, this drink will take you back in time.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Mini Chocolate Cake (Php110). A rich and chocolatey confection of moist cake and thick chocolate icing.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Mango Torte (Php99). A frozen cheesecake topped with artfully arranged mango slices on on a crust of graham cracker crumbs. It’s so pretty, we almost didn’t want to eat it. Well, almost. 🤪

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

I’d love to spend a more leisurely afternoon here, just enjoying my sweets and my cup of native hot choco. I wonder when that would be…

This Tsoko.Nut Batirol branch is located near the corner of Scout Reyes Street and Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3979939.

Other branches are located at:

  • Food Court, Third Floor, Eastwood Cybermall, Libis, Quezon City
  • Upper Ground Floor, Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Boulevard, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Telus Building, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Third Floor, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Northgate Cyberzone, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa

Tsoko.Nut Batirol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Sweet temptation at Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

The metro seems to be in the midst of a mango mania with mango desserts and drinks (at last!) taking center stage.

And why shouldn’t they?

The unofficial national fruit is known for its succulent and juicy sweetness, and our homegrown mangoes are among the best globally.

It’s therefore no surprise, that after lunch at Il Terrazzo with my friends, I veered away from my original quest to get myself a cup of healthy lemon juice from a nearby stall and instead ran down to the Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes stall.

For one thing, Papa Piolo (or at least, a tarpaulin-mounted likeness of him) was there beckoning me with his limpid eyes and his sweet smile, promising me the health benefits of mangoes, which are a source of:

  • Vitamin C to boost the immune system
  • Vitamin A to improve vision
  • Healthy probiotic fiber
  • Potassium and Magnesium

Also, these mango offerings are also quite affordable. My chosen dessert, a Mango Supreme, is 16 ounces of soft-serve mango ice cream, topped with chopped mango and mango syrup, all for only Php65!

Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

Needless to say, I gave in to this sweet temptation. And giving in to temptation has never been so rewarding!

Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes, Tomas Morato

This Miguelito’s Hyped Mangoes stall is located at Il Terrazzo – 305 Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Scout Madriñan St., South Triangle, Quezon City.

Other branches are located in:

  • Mandaluyong: Starmall EDSA-Shaw Boulevard, SM Hupermarket Bagong Silang,
  • Taguig: Market! Market!, SM Hypermarket FTI
  • Marikina: Ayala Malls Marikina
  • Makati: Alphaland Southgate Mall, SM Hypermarket Makati
  • Manila: University Mall, Harrison Plaza, SM City San Lazaro, Manila Ocean Park
  • Quezon City: Fisher Mall, SM Hypermarket Quirino Highway, Robinsons Novaliches
  • Paranaque: SM City Bicutan, SM City Sucat

Miguelito's Hyped Mangoes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Dessert drinks at Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

After eating our fill of Szechuan seafood earlier, what else could my foodie friends and I be looking for?

Dessert, of course!

And what better dessert for that particular day than one that features our favorite fruits?

So off we went to the recently opened Hui Lau Shan branch in SM North EDSA’s The Block, where we set about getting out dessert drinks.

Hui Lau Shan is actually a Hong Kong-based brand which incorporates Philippine carabao mangoes from Guimaras in most its drinks and desserts.

And who can blame Hui Lau Shan for this? Our homegrown mangoes really are unbeatable when it comes to sweetness and succulent texture.

One can say that these Philippine-grown fruits has helped catapult Hui Lau Shan to fame in the 1990s, being the key ingredient in the brand’s breakthrough Mango Sago which became a hit in Hong Kong.

Today, Hui Lau Shan has brought this delicacy back home with six stores already in operation in Metro Manila.

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

And at this particular store in SM North EDSA, my foodie friends and I indulged our thirst and craving for sweets with these signature dessert drinks that feature mango and coconut:

Mango & Coconut Juice with Mango Jelly (Php120 for 18oz | Php130 for 22oz)

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

Mango & Coconut Juice with Red Bean (Php110 for 18oz | Php120 for 22oz)

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

Mango & Coconut Juice with Sago (Php110 for 18oz | Php120 for 22oz)

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

In these beverages, the coconut milk serves to further highlight the flavor of the mangoes. The sinkers such as the mango jelly, red bean and sago all add texture and a different dimension of taste to the drinks.

Hui Lau Shan also recently introduced its Cheesy Milk series: three fruit flavors – mango, avocado and watermelon – topped with a generous layer of the store’s original cheesy milk, each at Php140.

I already tasted the Mango Cheesy Milk at Hui Lau Shan’s Greenhills store, and the Avocado Cheesy Milk is (sadly!) unavailable at this store, so that left the Watermelon Cheesy Milk.

Hui Lau Shan, SM North EDSA

I found this drink refreshing but it still doesn’t beat the sweetness of the mango variant.

Still, I’m glad I was able to sate my craving for sweets with my foodie buddies at Hui Lau Shan. On my next visit, I hope I finally get to taste the Avocado Cheesy Milk!

Thanks to Kian of Kainventures for sharing his GCs with me during this adventure!

This Hui Lau Shan branch is located at Ground Floor, The Block, SM City North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City.

Other branches are located at:

  • Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City
  • Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan
  • UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City
  • SM City Fairview, Novaliches, Quezon City

Hui Lau Shan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert places in the metro:

Mango Cheesy Milk at Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

When it opened its first branches in the metro a few months ago, Hui Lau Shan made waves as the go-to place for mango-based treats.

And why wouldn’t it?

Especially for dessert lovers, Hui Lau Shan’s imaginative creations featuring the Philippines’ unofficial national fruit are just the ticket to soothe their sweet tooth.

But why would a Hong Kong brand such a be so associated with our homegrown mangoes? Well, Hui Lau Shan shot to fame in its home country with its Mango Sago which made use of mangoes from Guimaras.

Now, with four branches already established in the metro and a new one opening soon, Hui Lau Shan has introduced another yummy innovation which rides on the cheesy drinks trend.

I’ve recently sampled one of these concoctions when I accompanied my fellow foodie friend Nina to Hui Lau Shan’s newly-opened Greenhills branch.

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

There, amidst the happy yellow decor and the upbeat crowd enjoying or waiting for their drinks and sweet snacks, I had my first taste of the Mango with Cheesy Milk (Php140).

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

Served with a smile in Hui Lau Shan’s signature sippy cup, the resto’s own recipe of cream, cheese and milk add a rich and creamy dimension to the mango-based beverage. It was a tasty and refreshing treat, one of the highlight of that sweltering-hot afternoon.

With such a yummy treat and more in its arsenal of flavors, Hui Lau Shan is sure to bring a Big Smile Everyday to dessert lovers.

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

In my future visits, I would love to try out another drink from the cheesy milk series that features my other favorite fruit: the Avocado with Cheesy Milk.

Many thanks to Nina of TakawTikim.net for sharing her GC!

Hui Lau Shan, Greenhills

This Hui Lau Shan branch is located at Second Floor, Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan.

Other branches are located at:

  • Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
  • Ground Floor, The Block, SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

Hui Lau Shan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert places in the metro:

Something new brewing at Caffe Freddo, BGC

For a coffee lover like me, that morning cuppa signals the start of a new day, and that mug in the afternoon is all I need to pick me up from the post-lunch slump.

I also look forward to trying out new brews and coffee concoctions. It’s actually amazing how coffee is versatile enough to be mixed and matched with new ingredients to come up with an exciting new beverage.

Last night, together with my fellow foodies, I trooped over to Caffe Freddo in Bonifacio High Street to find out what the cafe has been brewing as part of its Philippine Independence Day offering.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

The new Ube Freddo (Php150) localizes Caffe Freddo’s coffee experience by adding the very Pinoy flavor of ube (purple yam) to the Freddo, the cafe’s signature iced coffee drink which contains a double shot of espresso and sweetened frothed milk. The resulting purple concoction makes for a pretty and Instagrammable drink. It joins the cafe’s roster of imaginative Freddo flavors which already include Mocha, Chai, Matcha and Coco starting June 12.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Along with the Ube Freddo, we also got a taste of the cafe’s carefully curated Modern European brunch menu which included:

Appetizers

Crunchy Calamari (Php240). Crispy battered squid rings served with basil and lime mayo.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Spring Rolls (Php260). Shrimp and corn-filled spring rolls served with coriander tomato dip.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Dried Figs Burrata Flat Bread (Php380). The dried figs add a sweet element that complements the savory flavors from burrata cheese, caramelized onions and the arugula in this flatbread.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Panzanella Salad (Php290). Fresh flavors abound in this mixture of kale, watermelon, cherry tomatoes and croutons tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Mains.

Nasi Goreng (Php330). Chicken satay served with Indonesian spiced shrimp, vegetable fried rice and fried egg.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Beef Tagliatelle (Php350). Pasta tossed in beefy tomato ragu and basil.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Aglio Olio (Php350). Spaghetti tossed in virgin olive oil, garlic and spiced bacon.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Soy Grilled Salmon (Php480). Salmon topped with wabiko cream and served with wasabi mashed potato.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Fried Chicken Confit (Php320). Crispy fried chicken served with cole slaw.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Croque Madame (Php320). Smoked ham over a brioche toast and a layer of gruyere cheese, topped with a fried egg and mornay sauce.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Desserts.

Mango Granita (Php220). Succulent cubes of mango mixed in strips of fresh coconut, crumbled macaroons and coconut milk.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta (Php220). Light and tangy panna cotta served with blueberries in a pinot syrup.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Sans Rival (Php220). The classic Pinoy cake made of decadent layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped nuts.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Choco Paradise (Php190).This rich chocolatey confection is perfect for those craving for chocolate after a meal.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

With its slew of dishes, coffee offerings and cozy atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Caffe Freddo has become a prime foodie destination.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Thanks to Pat of ThePatKidInside for extending the invitation!

About Caffe Freddo

Caffe Freddo prides itself in offering a very unique selection of coffee, not found anywhere else in the metro. The coffee selection is all specially brewed from premium coffee beans of Bluestone Lane from New York City. Strategically located in the busy commercial business district of Bonifacio High Street, Caffe Freddo has refreshingly inviting interiors, with its off-white distressed brick walls, ample seating good for 50 people, and columns with hand-painted coffee plants in vibrant hues of green and red. Caffe Freddo is cozy enough for group meet-ups and family dining.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo is located at The Spa Building, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 7am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 7am to 12 midnight.  For inquiries, call +63 9988479410.

Caffe Freddo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoDisclosure: Together with my fellow 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 blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

 

 

Birthday Lunch at Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

I’m blessed to have coworkers who like to celebrate milestones with a good meal.

An officemate’s birthday falls within a few weeks of mine so two of our former bosses decided to treat us out to a joint birthday lunch.

And for that, Lola Cafe is our best bet, considering its proximity to our workplace, its Instagrammable modern interiors and its menu of imaginatively prepared homey dishes.

Similar to other restaurants in the Tomas Morato area, Lola Cafe was built from a renovated house. It boasts of a sizeable parking area (a big plus in this vicinity), a high-ceilinged bar area, and a dining area that combines the old architectural layout with a modern black and white aesthetic and a refreshing view of the lush green space outside.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe serves Filipino food that makes use local ingredients in imaginative ways such as:

Crispy Tinapa (Php220 for solo). Tinapa, bits of ripe mango, kesong puti tossed in romaine lettuce and arugula with slightly sweet and citrusy honey dalandan dressing.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Baked Tahong Express (Php220).  Baked mussels generously topped with mozzarella, garlic, Bicol Express sauce and green chilis.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Tartufo (Php295 for solo).  Spaghetti noodles tossed in a cream sauce with truffle oil and portobello mushroom.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Shrimp Aligue (Php295 for solo). Spaghetti noodles tossed with plump shrimp in a rich  and decadent cream sauce of crab fat and kesong puti.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Fried Chicken (Php310 for solo). Juicy pieces of chicken thighs in garlic butter sauce.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Prawns in Aligue (Php420 for solo). Succulent poached prawns in a spicy sauce of crab fat, chili garlic and lemon butter.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Mango Pavlova (Php160). Crunchy cashew meringue and bits of mango layered with chantilly cream.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kesong Puti Cheesecake (Php220). A rich cheesecake made of kesong puti topped with bukayo (sweetened coconut strips) and salted latik (caramelized coconut cream).

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

These delicious dishes, Lola Cafe’s attentive staff and the awesome company helped to make that birthday lunch truly memorable.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Since Lola Cafe is a Zomato Gold partner establishment, and all four of us unlocked or Zomato Gold privilege, our group got some of our food orders for free!

Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 (Buy 1 Get 1) deals on food or 2+2 (Buy 2 Get 2) deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Lola Cafe is located at 99 Scout Lozano Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 10pm, Fridays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 11pm, and Sundays from 10.30am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5012620 or +63 917 8176045.

Another branch recently opened at the Fifth Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants: