My classic faves at Pazzo Rollio, SM Hypermart Pasig

There are lots of Italian food joints all over the metro but every once in a while, there’s one that stands out because its concept stayed fresh despite having been around for years.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

I first tasted Pazzo Rollio’s offerings almost four years ago and, to this day, they remain among my favorites because they retain the taste I love while still seeming new and unusual.

Wanna know what I mean? Read on.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Together with my friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH, I visited Pazzo Rollio’s branch in SM Pasig to reacquaint myself with its signature dishes, which include:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip (Php185). A wonderful start to the meal! A thick mixture of spinach and artichoke with a layer of mozarella on top, and served with bread and fried wonton chips.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pasta Puttanesca (Php220 solo | Php360 family). Spaghetti noodles with a house/made sauce of anchovies, tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Fellinis (Php195 solo | Php310 family). Angelhair pasta and shrimp in housemade pesto sauce.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Bleu Cheese (Php245 solo | Php385 family). Chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy and cheesy gorgonzola sauce.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Bistecca (Php320). Flavorful and tender beef tenderloin pieces top pasta with a pommery mustard sauce.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Buffalo Wings (Php119 for 6 pieces | Php219 for 12 pieces). Yummy chicken pieces in Original and Garlic Parmesan flavor.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

The name “Pazzo Rollio” translates to “crazy rolls” in Italian. And Pazzo Rollio’s rolled pizzas are definitely crazy good. These are central to the resto’s concept: paper-thin pizza dough slathered with cheese sauce and toppings, it is baked in a hot oven and served with arugula and alfalfa sprouts, ready for rolling. While rolled pizzas are available elsewhere, Pazzo Rollio’s are among the less expensive and more varied in flavor that I know of.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Big Bang Supreme (Php250 solo | Php450 family). Topped with bacon, ham, pepperoni, caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Special (Php280 solo | Php480 regular). Topped with bacon, ham, salami, crumbled meatballs, mushrooms and bell pepper.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

House Blend Iced Tea (Php50 glass | Php150 pitcher). A refreshing beverage that goes well with Pazzo Rollio’s dishes.

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

All these just go to show that there’s definitely more to Italian food than meets the eye!

Many thanks to Miss Vinci, Ana and Jem of Pazzo Rollio for having us!

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

Pazzo Rollio, SM Pasig

This Pazzo Rollio branch is located at SM Hypermart, Frontera Verde Drive, Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 10am to 11am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5707801.

Other branches are located at:

  • Third Floor, Robinsons Magnolia, New Manila, QC
  • Fourth Floor, SM City Manila, Ermita, Manila

Treat the gang out for a tasty and filling meal of Fellinis and Bleu Cheese pastas with a Big Bang Supreme rolled pizza for Php1,099!

You can also Create Your Own Rolled Pizza (Php280 solo | Php480 family) by choosing your preferred toppings for your pizza which include bacon, ham, salami, prosciutto, chicken, shrimp, sausage, crumbled meatball, anchovies, olives, caramelized onions, red onions, garlic, jalapenos, mushrooms, bell pepper, fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, pineapple, chili flakes, basil, parsley, gorgonzola, mozzarella, pesto sauce, barbecue sauce and truffle oil.

Pazzo Rollio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants offering Italian food:

Reimagining Filipino food at Moonshine PUB, Ortigas

Look back on your favorite homespun food, the ones that your mom or lola used to cook for the family during special occasions.

Now imagine them with a fresh twist, a little change that makes them keep the nostalgia that you harbor for them but, at the same time, gives them a new dimension that gets you so giddy with excitement for a taste of something new.

That is what Chef Jehrad Dolino achieved when he unveiled his latest creations of reimagined Filipino food for Moonshine PUB.

Moonshine PUB is a cozy public urban bar situated in the hip and happenin’ Sapphire Bloc in Ortigas Center. It has a relaxing atmosphere with muted lights, dark leather furniture and brick decor reminiscent of 1920s underground speakeasies.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

This is where Ortigas-based yuppies can go and unwind, enjoying the pub’s signature drinks which include these cocktails:

Calamansi Gin Smash (Php335). A refresing gin-based cocktail made with muddled sugar, cucumber and basil leaves and flavored with calamansi.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Smoked Old Fashioned (Php310). A whiskey-based cocktail made with muddled sugar and bitters accented by a lemon peel. It is smoked then covered for full effect.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Whiskey Sour (Php310). A whiskey-based cocktail made with lemon juice and sugar.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Chef Dolino’s new set of #FilipinoReimagined dishes take advantage of locally-sourced ingredients that are in season and allows Moonshine to continue to provide fresh takes on classic Pinoy cuisines. These include:

Chori Burger (Php395). Made from scratch by the chef and his team using vinegar and a lot of garlic and allowed to marinate in the chiller for two weeks, the chorizo patties give the burgers an exotic taste and feel. Each burger is served in a brioche bun with the house slaw and a sunny side up, plus some fries on the side.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Crispy Palabok with Crablets (Php350). Crispy glass noodles drenched in made-from-scratch palabok sauce made even heartier with the crablets and chicharon bulaklak.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Pizza Margarito (Php465). Chef Dolino’s twist on the Pizza Margherita, adding some house-made longganisa to the toasty pizza. This dish was inspired the chef and his wife’s trips to Italy.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Longganisa Shanghai (Php280). Also incorporating the house-made longganisa, this is the chef’s take on the classic Lumpiang Shanghai.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Laing with Chicharon (Php240). Inspired by the traditional family of one of the chef’s long-time cooks who hails from Bicol, this dish is not the blow-your-socks-off spicy kind of laing but, especially with the addition of crunchy chicharon, it is well-suited for a Manileno palate.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Spicy Sardine Pasta (Php320). The chef and his staff make the resto’s sardines from scratch using fresh, locally sourced fish. Added to some al dente pasta, these make for quite a filling dish.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Prawn Pakbet (Php380). Made with traditional bagoong, the vegetables here are prepared by blanching them in boiling water then shocking them in iced water, allowing them to retain their crispy texture and vibrant color. And seeing how the shrimp is mostly treated as an add-on in the usual pakbet dishes, he made it the star of the show with the addition of large grilled prawns in his version of the dish.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Salt and Pepper Prawns (Php700). Also inspired by his memories of meals at his lola’s seaside home, this seemingly simple dish pan-fried prawns accompanied by a refreshing cucumber salad presents a lot of pleasing complex flavors.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Angus Beef Adobo (Php540). Taking advantage of the resto’s abundance in tender and flavorful Angus beef, the chef applied classic adobo preparation for this dish with the addition of pan-fried potatoes for added texture like his grandma used to make, and some soft-boiled quail eggs for added richness, as inspired by his tita’s version of the dish.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Langka and Mango Biko (Php190). The classic kakanin (rice delicacy) is given the added twist of mango ang langka (jackfruit) bits, making this reminiscent of the Mango Sticky Rice dish from Thailand.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

These new creations highlight the variety and versatility of Filipino cuisine.

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

Now, if you’re one Moonshine’s loyal patrons and have already developed your favorites among the items in its menu, don’t fret. These new dishes are additions, not replacements. You can still indulge yourself with your old favorites.

This Moonshine branch is located at The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire corner Onyx corner Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 3am and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 4am. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 927 8000920.

Planning a trip to Moonshine soon? Drop by between 2pm to 8pm from Sundays to Thursdays for Happy Hour:

  • Get Php1,000 off on Black Label, Grey Goose and Hendricks
  • Buy 1 Take 1 on Superdry, Cerveza Negra, Brew Kettle and San Miguel Premium
  • Buy 1 Take 1 on wine (Php350 per glass)
  • Buy 1 and get 50% off on Signature Cocktails
  • San Mig Light and Pale Pilsen at Php50
  • Drop by from 6pm to 10pm every Saturday to Go Hard or Go Home:
  • Get Php1,000 off on Jack Daniel, Black Label, Grey Goose, Hendricks and Botanist
  • Buy 1 Take 1 on Jose Cuervo and Jagermeister

Did you know you can buy two drinks and get the same two drinks for free at Moonshine 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.

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

Disclosure: 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 reviews of other bars and watering holes in the Metro:

 

Amici launches a Taste of Italy in its new resto at One Bonifacio High Street, BGC

Amici has long been the home of great-tasting Italian food, ever since the restaurant got its start as a canteen of Don Bosco’s printing press ran by Salesian Italian missionary Father Gianluigi Colombo.

Today, the chain of restaurants that carry its name is recognized as the premier foodie destinations for authentic Italian dining experiences.

It’s therefore hardly surprising that the opening of Amici’s latest branch at One Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City was met with much excitement. This new outlet boasts of a spacious seating area inside the mall, and soon, a veranda where diners can eat their meal with an awesome view of the buildings surrounding the mall.

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

Add the introduction of new menu items crafted by Amici’s very own Chef Paolo during the event and you can bet foodies all over the metro will be wanting a taste.

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

This delightful repast consisted of:

Truffle Mushroom Dip (Php385). A medley of four types of mushrooms (truffle, porcini, shiitake and button) mixed together with caramelized onions in a rich creamy sauce. Served together with crisp pieces of pizza crust, the dip had us reaching for it again and again.

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

Chef’s Chicken Ceasar Salad (Php295 regular | Php560 grande). Here, Chef Paolo does his own twist on the classic Ceasar Salad by adding parmesan cheese crisps to the chicken, mixed greens and croutons tossed in Amici’s own-recipe Ceasar Salad dressing.

Amici, BGC

Shrimp Pesto & Pomodoro (Php365). Plump shrimp sauteed in garlic and tomato sauce with linguine and Amici’s house-recipe pesto sauce tossed in.

Amici, BGC

Salmon & Zucchini Pizza (Php525). Zucchini, flakes of smoked salmon, bacon bits and mozarella top an Alfredo sauce base on this crunchy oven-baked pizza.

Amici, BGC

Striploin Steak Salpicao (Php625). Tender strips of striploin steak simmered with garlic and mushrooms in Amici’s house salpicao sauce and served with rice pilaf.

Amici, BGC

Mango Magnifico (Php120/slice). Light chiffon cake in between layers of whipped cream studded with mango bits and cashew brittles, this is one of Amici’s classic desserts which served as a fitting end to our delightful meal.

Amici, BGC

Amici, BGC

With this tantalizing taste of Italy, I will definitely come back for more!

Thanks to Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com for extending the invitation and to the wonderful people of Amici for the warm welcome and the delicious meal!

This Amici branch is located at Level 3, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Other branches are located at;

  • Ground Floor, The Block, SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
  • Bellagio Square, Tomas Morato Avenue, Laging Handa, Quezon City
  • Ground Floor, UP Ayala Technohub, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
  • Ground Floor, 101 Missouri Square, Missouri corner Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
  • Third Floor, Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Don Bosco School, A. Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo, Makati City
  • Second Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

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

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here wherein food and drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other restaurants offering Italian food:

Wine pairing class explores tasty combinations of wine and pizza

In vino, veritas.

In wine, there is truth.

Well, the truth is, I didn’t have much appreciation for wines. Similar to most Filipinos who reached adulthood without any exposure to wine culture, I have decided that wine just isn’t for me. What few sips I’ve had of the stuff were, for some reason, not pleasurable for me.

However, after joining a Food and Wine Pairing class organized by Wine Story Academy, I realized that maybe, similar to many things in life, I just haven’t found the right wine for me. Also, by partnering wine with one of my favorite kinds of food – pizza, supplied by Pasto Cafe and Bar – I was able to explore how the right combination of food and wine brings out the best in each other.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

The class was held at the Wine Story outlet in EDSA Shangri-la Mall, an upscale retailer of fine and rare wines. Wine Story Academy’s Wine Education Manager Carla Santos guided our group through a set of five different wines to be tasted together with five different pizza flavors.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Basic Principles in Food and Wine Pairing

The conventional wisdom in food and wine pairing is to pair red wines with red meat and white wines with white meat. However, according to Carla, there are more factors to consider, not the least of which is your own preference.

To find the perfect food and wine pairing, we need to strike a balance among the following characteristics of the food served:

Weight. How heavy (or filling) does the food feel in your mouth? It is a good idea to pair a filling kind of food with a fuller-bodied kind of wine.

Intensity.  How strong does are the food’s flavors?  You would want to taste both the food and the wine’s flavors so take care that one does not overpower the other.

Flavor.  The ingredients and method of cooking, as well as dips and sauces incorporated to the dish also contribute to the flavor of the food which needs to be considered.

In choosing the perfect wine for the dishes, one must consider the following wine profiles:

Sweetness. It is the first sensation – it may not necessarily be a sugary kind of sweetness but more of a fruity kind – as the wine hits the tip of your tongue. All but the very driest of wines will have some sensation of sweetness.

Acidity.  This is what makes the wine crisp and refreshing.  You will feel it as it makes your mouth water.  A wine with too much acidity will be unpleasantly tart while one with too little will feel flabby or flat.

Tannin.  This is the mouth-drying  substance found in wine.  Too much tannin will make the wine taste hard and bitter while too little will make it seem soft and innocuous as fruit juice.

The Tasting

The evening’s featured wines, curated by Wine Story Academy, include:

Tenuta Sant’Anna Goccia Pinot Grigio 2017 (Veneto, Italy; Php1,000).  It smells of acacia flowers and exotic fruits.  The taste is marked by a total absence of tannin, resulting to a fresh and floral flavor.

Sand Point Chardonnay 2015 (California, USA; Php1,300). Possesses an aroma with peach and pear notes.  It is a soft wine with low acidity and fruity flavor.

Urban Riesling 2015 (Mosel, Germany; Php1,350). It has a clean, fresh and flinty bouquet and smells of tangerines.  It is off-dry, with a crisp and semi-sweet taste.

The Winery of Good Hope Bush Vine Pinotage 2018 (Stellenbosch, South Africa; Php1,050).  Its aroma is one of blackberry and plums accented by hints of oak and mocha.  It tastes ripe and juicy.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Cardinalices Rouge Grande Reserve 2015 (Rhone Valley, France; Php1,000).  It has a fruity aroma with some spicy notes and marked by a strong and complex flavor.

Pizzas paired with the featured wines were provided by Pasto’s EDSA Shangri-la Mall branch and presented interesting flavors that we mixed and matched with the wine.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Vegetariano. This pizza is marked by the earthy smokey flavor of assorted roasted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and garlic. I find that the light and fresh Pinot Grigio works well with this pizza.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Napolitana. Sliced button mushrooms and savory achovies make this a strongly flavored pizza. For me, the Pinotage’s acidity stands up well to its saltiness.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Di Carne. This is an all-meat extravaganza with Italian sausage, smoked ham and pepperoni. The Cardinalices’ bold and strong flavors complement the meats in this pizza.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Gamberi Fritti. A crispy battered shrimp tops the artichoke salsa and lemon aioli in this pizza, with spicy chili flakes. The low alcohol and the refreshing acidity of the Riesling manages the heat from this spicy pizza.

Prosciutto Cotto. Caramelized onions added some sweetness to the pizza along with the earthy smoked ham, asparagus and mozzarella. The soft and fruity Chardonnay complements the pizza’s flavors.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Wine tasting tips

This food and wine pairing class is an eye-opener for me. Not only did it show me the versatility and variety of wines but it also helped grow my appreciation for how they can enrich the dining experience. For those who are planning to go to a similar wine tasting affair, here are some things to remember:

  • No brushing of teeth or smoking right before class. Tobacco and mint will affect your sense of taste.
  • Avoid wearing heavy scents such as perfume, cologne or scented hair spray. These will affect your sense of smell.
  • Hold the wine glass by the stem. This keeps fingerprints off the bowl (so you can see and appreciate the liquid in all its splendor) and prevents your hand from heating the wine.
  • Prior to tasting, take a sniff to get an initial impression of the wine’s aroma, then swirl for a bit to bring out some more of its scent. This will contribute to your fuller appreciation of the wine’s flavor.

Many thanks to Mike Lord Raymundo of the Pasto Group and Bar Craft Concepts for extending the invitation!

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

For more details about the wines and pizzas featured in this wine class, visit their respective social media sites:

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

To help develop the Filipino palate for wine, the Wine Story Academy offers the following classes next month:

  • April 6: Intro to Bordeaux (Php3,000 per person)
  • April 13: Wine 101 (Php2,000 per person) and Sushi and Wine Pairing (Php2,500 per person)

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:

Good food and good vibes at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen, Ayala Vertis North

For an oft-stressed-out office worker, lunchtime is a sacred hour: an opportunity to leave one’s desk and devote time to good food and good vibes. What will make it even more enjoyable? The company of good friends!

That’s what happened last Tuesday when, together with a group of officemates, I traipsed off to Ayala Vertis North to treat ourselves to yummy Italian food at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen.

The resto got its start from a real kitchen in a family home in BF Homes Las Pinas. The couple Richard and Malou Tremblay decided to open their doors to guests in 2010. Though remaining family-run, the venture has since grown into Mama Lou’s Group which is comprised of two Italian concept restaurants: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen and Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria. Both eateries continue the tradition of providing guests the feeling of comfort and happiness of coming home to good food.

This Mama Lou’s branch is occupies a sprawling space with seating good for small and large groups. Our group opted to sit outside as we found the air-conditioning inside to be a bit too cold (Side note: I just know I will miss the cold weather of late January when the summer months come in).

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

While waiting for our food, we were given bread that we dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

For starters, we have Mozzarella Sticks (Php225), fat pieces of cheese breaded and fried to a crisp golden brown on the outside and a yummy gooey cheesy inside, well complemented by a side of rich tomatoey pomodoro sauce.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

An Oriental Salad (Php325) gave us a taste of freshness with crisp greens topped with slivers of ripe mango, apple slices, crabstick meat and drizzled with Mama Lou’s special sesame dressing.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A new dish, Lucio’s Truffle Pasta (Php350) was a decadently creamy delight with a rich hint of truffle oil while Spaghetti Seafood Olio (Php350) and Vongole Olio (Php295) gave us a healthy taste of the sea.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A 14-inch combination of Frutti di Mare and Pizza Margherita (Php550) served with arugula and alfalfa made our meal even more filling.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Malls Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

The Pan Fried Beef Scaloppine (Php395) was late in reaching our table so we weren’t able to enjoy the dish as much as we would have liked.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

That said, it was a great lunch experience with friends, one I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Plus, since three of us unlocked our Zomato Gold privilege at this resto, we got three of these dishes for free!

Want to score a similar discount? 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.

This Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen branch is located at Level 1, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4269196.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open daily from 11am to 11pm; Tel No.: +63 2 8006315)
  • Block 1, Lot 36 Tropical Avenue corner Tropical Palace, BF International, Las Pinas City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight; Tel No.: +63 2 5191977 or +63 917 5156262)
  • Second Floor, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City (open daily from 11am to 9pm; Tel No.: 63 2 7208519)
  • Upper Ground Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm; +63 2 7442425)
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm; Tel No.: +63 2 9585563)

Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants offering Italian food:

Hidden gem of Italian Cuisine: Cucina di Francesco, Libis

When you think about food places in the Libis area, chances are this Italian restaurant hidden away from the busier sections of the metro has escaped your notice.

Cucina di Francesco got its name from the name Francesco Forgione, the name that Saint Pio of Petrelcina, more affectionately known to devotees as Padre Pio, was born with.

Incidentally, the restaurant is located in the same compound as St. Pio Chapel, so I would imagine families fresh from Sunday mass coming in for lunch.

In this instance, however, I took my fam here on the way to our weekend staycation.

From outside, the restaurant presents a comfortable, homey and welcoming facade.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Inside, the place is bright and cheery, with large windows letting in lots of natural light and large hand-painted murals giving the premises an eclectic vibe. There are more seats to dine in on the second floor, while the third floor is mainly used for events.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

I booked our table the night before via Zomato. We were a few minutes late but I called the resto to apprise them of our arrival time so our table was waiting for us when we arrived.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

My daughter #ExhibitA, who’s trying to eat healthy, requested for a salad so we ordered a Ceasar Salad (Php180). The focaccia croutons, fresh microgreens and rough-chopped walnuts delectably add to the taste and texture of this classic dish.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Our little boy #ExhibitB, on the other hand, is a well-known pizza monster. We got him a Tre Formaggi (Php350) whose lethal combination of bleu cheese, emmenthal and mozzarella on top of creamy bechamel got my baby reaching for slice after slice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Hubby got himself a Pasta Puttanesca (Php195). The sauce made from olives, anchovids and capers in fresh tomato sauce makes this a tasty pasta dish. (Hubby liked it well enough but insists that his mom’s version tastes better.)

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

We split orders of Lasagna al Forno (Php260), a meaty baked lasagna with bechamel cheese sauce (which I found a bit dry) and Italian Beef Stew (Php485), a dish made of beef chunks, Italian sausage and vegetables braised in tomato wine sauce and served with parsley rice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

All in all, I wouldn’t mind another visit to Cucina di Francisco and checking out more of its Italian viands. The place certainly is charming and even has free WiFi! Plus, the wait staff are also friendly and accommodating.

It’s quite near my home and is easily accessible. Since it is a free-standing resto that shares a sizeable multi-level parking lot with the church, I wouldn’t have to stress myself in looking for a parking space as opposed to the likely scenario if I were to visit a mall-based eatery during mealtimes.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

It also employs persons with disability, such as those in the autism spectrum. This is an advocacy near and dear to my heart, being a parent to a child with special needs myself.

For those who are artistically inclined, Cucina di Francesco also serves as a venue for art and crafts workshops on weekends in partnership with Maartsy such as Plush Keychain Making and Acrylic Flower Jewelry Making in January 26 and Mandala Coffee Painting and Doodle Art with Lettering on January 27. For inquiries, call +63 2 9175861785.

Cucina di Francisco is located at RER Compound (St. Pio Chapel), 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City, open daily Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 8pm and Fridays to Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For reservations, call +63 2 5349935 or book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Cucina di Francesco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s some trivia for you: Did you know that puttanesca translates to “in the style of a whore” in Italian? While some food pundits would attribute the name to seedier origins, some food historians date the sauce back to the 1950s when Sandro Penti of Rancio Fellona were requested by hungry late-night patrons to “Facci una puttanata qualisiasi” or “Throw together whatever.” Which was what the good Penti did with what he had at the time: tomatoes, olives and capers. The rest is history. More on that here.

Check out my reviews of other Italian restaurants: