Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Well, here’s some good news for milk tea lovers: Australian milk tea brand Gotcha Fresh Tea has set up shop in the country.

In a small cafe outside Virra Mall in Greenhills, milk tea lovers can drink their fill of Gotcha’s offerings which include signature milk teas, premium milk teas, healthy fresh milk, black sugar, maple sugar, cheese foam teas, collagen teas, coldbrew and yogurt teas.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taking pride in its slogan “We farm our own tea,” Gotcha handcrafts and brews its drinks made from a single tea plantation in Mount Alishan Taiwan in its bid to guarantee product consistency and quality.

It also champions earth-friendliness with its reusable cups, a worthy advocacy in my book.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

During the shop’s Grand Opening, I was treated to one of Gotcha’s drinks, the Oreo Cheese Macchiato (Php145) in which the tea flavor is tempered by the creamy milk, with added mild saltiness from the cheese topping as well as sweetness and texture from the crushed Oreo cookies.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

As far as dessert drinks to go, this was ok but not particularly exceptional.

My friends, on the other hand, were able to try out other flavors such as:

Strawberry Yogurt (Php130).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Peach Collagen Tea (Php140).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taro Milk (Php135).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

There was great variety when it came to drink options but given its cafe setup, offering food items would be a good move.

Thanks to Kian of Kian Ventures for extending the invitation for this event!

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Gotcha Fresh Tea is located at Ground Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan.

Gotcha Fresh Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended this resto’s grand opening where drinks were served to enable us to sample the fare and to facilitate honest reviews. Said drinks were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

A fresh take on milk teas at Brown Cafe, BGC

It sure looks like the milk tea craze is here to stay, if the sheer number of stores opening in the metro offering copious varieties of the drink is any indication.

And then another milk tea brand joins the fray: Bangkok’s very own Brown Cafe has opened a take-out counter in Serendra, BGC to give the locals fresh and exciting choices for our milk tea.

Its menu simply teems with crave-worthy drinks: from original milk tea, fresh milk lattes, cheese macchiatos and more, choices abound for milk tea lovers ans connoisseurs. Each cup is made from freshly brewed tea leaves and its wondrous array of bubbles – which includes flavors such as original, collagen, brown sugar, peach, strawberry, mango, lychee, rainbow low cal and exclusive-to-the-Philippines ube – are all made inhouse.

Among Brown Cafe’s claims to fame are its Rainbow Low Cal Bubble Teas, made with fruit-infused teas accompanied by its colorful Rainbow low-calorie bubble sinkers.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Anchan Strawberry Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler) features a combination strawberry with the edible blossom anchan, more commonly known as the butterfly pea in a creamy latte.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Melon Niu Niu Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler), on the other hand, is a taste of summer with a sweet melon flavor that flavors the creamy milk.

Brown Cafe, BGC

So if you find yourself in BGC and want to try something new to quench your thirst, pop by Brown Cafe’s take out counter and treat yourself to one of its milk teas.

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

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

Disclosure: I visited Brown Cafe during its mini blogger get-together where drinks were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Holiday kakigori flavors at Shari Shari, BGC

Given that we’re in a tropical country, we shouldn’t have to wonder why ice-based desserts have so much appeal.

Even now, having entered the supposedly “brrrr” month of December, we can still find the metro’s heat and humidity quite oppressive.

Yes, icy desserts are definitely the way to go, and luckily, all kinds of these frozen treats are readily available in the metro.

The kakigori, for example, is fairly new to Pinoy foodies. This shaved ice dessert originated from Japan and has been around since the 11th century when blocks of ice saved during the stockpiled during the winter months are shaved to a snow-like consistency and served with sweet syrup to the aristocrats during the summer months.

Today, icy treats are a lot more accessible to us year-round, thanks to technology (yey for refrigeration!).

And with specialty shops like Shari Shari, we Pinoys get to have a taste of authentic kakigori.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

This dessert shop was founded in Hong Kong but soon found its way to the Philippines. It opened its first shop in Serendra, BGC where it serves bowls of its signature shaved ice desserts. Using special ice custom-made from different kinds of water, shaved with a special machine imported from Japan and flavored with syrups made fresh everyday has allowed Shari Shari to offer kakigori with the look, taste and texture consistent with those in Japan.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

And you would be amazed at the sheer variety of flavors possible with the kakigori: from fruity versions like strawberry, melon, mango and banana; classic dessert flavors like chocolate; to more exotic variants like Coffee Tiramisu, Earl Grey Milk Tea and Matcha Cream. There’s something for almost every sweet craving at Shari Shari.

Plus, be sure to check out Shari Shari special holiday flavors available beginning December 1:

Pistachio Raspberry topped with whipped cream and a candy Santa. This combines the nutty taste of pistachios with the sweet and fruity tartness of raspberries.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Choco Hazelnut topped with whipped cream and a chocolate gingerbread man. Dessert lovers would really go for its combination of nutty and cocoa flavors.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Every spoonful is a burst of icy sweetness in my mouth, a great way to relax and cool down, warm weather or not!

And what a sweet and cool (or icy!) way to get in the holiday spirit!

Shari Shari Kakigori House is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Shari Shari Kakigori House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I visited Shari Shari during its mini blogger get-together where the holiday kakigoris were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

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

Dreamin’ of my avocado at Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

What a lovely time to be alive!

We inhabit a period of time when we can enjoy the previously highly seasonal avocado.

Now practically ubiquitous, the avocado has made its way to salads and sandwiches. For me, however, nothing beats avocado for dessert.

Luckily, we now have Avocadoria.PH which hypes up avocado desserts, and how!

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Take its Avocado Dream (Php90), for example. It’s made of creamy avocado ice cream stuffed into an eco-friendly avocado shell and topped with a humungous ball of pastillas truffle which serves as the avocado seed. This dessert is both visually arresting and tasty.

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Plus, avocado is quite healthy, too! Check out how it can be good for you:

  • Contains vitamins K, C, E and Folate
  • Is rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats
  • Contains more potassium than banana
  • Supports liver function and eye health
  • Is high in dietary fiber

No wonder then that the avocado is my favorite fruit and desserts made from it are among my faves as well!

And wouldn’t you know it: there’s an Avocadoria.PH kiosk in V-mall where I was loitering about so I got to enjoy this dessert quick and easy!

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Why don’t you give it a try?

This Avocadoria kiosk is located at the Second Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan.

Other kiosks may be found at:

  • Quezon City: Eastwood Citywalk 2, Robinsons Galleria, Ali Mall Cubao, Farmer’s Plaza, Robinsons Magnolia, UP Town Center, Fisher Mall Del Monte, SKY Garden SM North EDSA, Waltermart North EDSA, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf Balintawak, SM City Fairview, Robinsons Novaliches, Ayala Fairview Terraces, Ayala Vertis North
  • Manila: Robinsons Place Manila, SM City San Lazaro
  • Pasig: Ayala Malls Feliz, Ayala Malls the 30th
  • Makati: Ayala Malls Circuit, Philamlife Tower Salcedo, San Lorenzo Place Condominium
  • Marikina: SM Marikina, Ayala Malls Marikina,
  • Mandaluyong: EDSA Central Pavilion, Forum Robinsons
  • Taguig: Market! Market!, Food District Signatures on the 5th
  • Paranaque: SM City Bicutan, Victory Food Market Baclaran, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, SM City BF
  • Caloocan: SM Center Sangandaan
  • Malabon: Fisher Mall Malabon
  • Valenzuela: SM City Valenzuela
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall, Vista Mall
  • Alabang: Alabang Town Center, Starmall Alabang, Ayala Malls Southpark

Avocadoria.ph Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Bench Cafe opens newest branch in Trinoma

The clothing brand Bench has been around for as long as I can remember. One of the “proudly Filipino” enterprise success stories, it has been a major player in local fashion and has even expanded its sphere of influence to that of a lifestyle brand with its personal care producrs, skin care services and hair salons.

It even ventured into the food business, notably with the opening of the first branch of its eponymous restaurant Bench Cafe last year.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fast forward to today and Bench Cafe has already opened its fifth branch at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. Such speedy growth is proof that its concept of combining traditional and modern takes on Filipino food works and has found its place in Metro Manila’s highly competitive food scene.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

The cafe held a special preview for bloggers the day before its Grand Opening. Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH, I got a taste of how Bench Cafe’s Chef Carlo Miguel melds local flavors together and updates classic Pinoy favorites such as:

Binagoongan Ceasar (Php149). Romaine lettuce with dilis and croutons tossed in a creamy dressing made with bagoong (shrimp paste) and queso de bola.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Tinapa Cones (Php129). Homemade lumpia wrappers formed into crispy cones and filled with tinapa (smoked fish) mousse and salsa.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Gising Gising (Php195). A spicy dish of chopped beans cooked in coconut milk and chilis.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Sisig Skillet (Php249). Pork cheeks and belly cooked in two ways and served topped with calamansi foam.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fried Chicken (Php480). Whole spring chicken fried to a golden brown with crispy flavorful skin and juicy meat served with a honey patis sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Dancing Fish (Php400). Crispy butterfly tilapia doused in escabeche sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Pancit Guisado (Php239). Stir-fried noodles with shrimp, meat and chopped vegetables.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Silogs (from sinangag or “garlic rice” and itlog “egg”) are breakfast staples for many Filipinos. Bench Cafe serves these with garlic rice, fried egg and homemade atsara. The silog variation we’ve tasted here is the Tendon Silog (Php199) made with melt-in-your-mouth beef tendon in pares sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bongalmusal (Php349). If you’re ever at a loss on what to have for brekkie, this hyped-up silog meal serves up everything you could want! Spam, US beef tapa, tocino, daing (dried fish) and corned beef. Best of all, this dish is good for two so do share it with someone special.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe also introduced Bench-Tos which are glamourized takes on the fare available at a Pinoy turo-turo. This small roadside eatery is where diners point out the food they want and a serving is placed on their plates. Bench Cafe updates this concept by merging it with the Japanese bento – the chosen viand is served on a tray along with vegetables, homemade salsa and atsara as well as steamed Ifugao rice. Variations of this offering that we tasted include the Bagnet Kare Kare (Php339) which has a rich peanutty sauce that has no need for bagoong to have flavor, and the Inasal Liempo (Php299) which is Bench Cafe’s take on the Visayan grilled pork belly.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

To cap out meal, Bench Cafe serves up its own takes on dessert classics with the smooth and creamy leche flan it dubbed Flan B (Php185) topped with macapuno and Classic Turon ala Mode (Php49).

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench also applied its own twists on the popular dessert called Halo-Halo, which consists of sweetened fruits and other fixings topped with shaved ice and served with milk. Its variations include White (Php85 for 12oz | Php129 for 16oz) made with coconut shaved ice with garbanzos, caramelized banana, leche flan, nata de coco and coconut ice cream; Mango Otap (Php90 for 12oz | Php109 for 16oz), mango shaved ice with crushed otap, mango puree, cream and fresh mango cubes; Ube (Php95 for 12oz | Php149 for 16oz), ube halaya and palm beans added to the White Halo Halo; and Mais con Hielo (Php60 for 12oz | Php100 for 16oz), corn- flavored shaved ice with milk and kernels of sweetcorn.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

I had a great time discovering fresh ways to enjoy the food that I grew up with at Bench Cafe.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Many thanks to the management and staff of Bench Cafe for having us and to EJ of #ILoveToEatPH for extending the invitation.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

This Bench Cafe branch is located at Ground Floor, MRT Wing, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pagasa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Bench Flagship Store, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Level 2, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
  • Ground Floor, Padre Faura Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila

Bench Café 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 Filipino restaurants:

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

The Philippines and Mexico have a lot in common: both colonized by Spain in the 1500s and linked across the seas by the Galleon Trade, linkages in the two countries’ culture and practices are bound to occur.

One such linkage is found in food.

Filipino and Mexican cuisines are both heavily influenced by Spanish culinary traditions but are still grounded on local tastes and ingredients.

It would take only a little leap, then, to add Filipino twists to Mexican food and come up with exotic viands made familiar and palatable to the Pinoy palate. And so we have Fil-Mex cuisine such as the food that can be enjoyed at the recently opened restaurant in Tomas Morato called El Chupapi.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

A hole-in-the-wall taqueria along Scout Albano Street, El Chupapi offers a place where workers from nearby offices and local residents can enjoy a quick and easy lunch or some after-hours pica-pica with their favorite cerveza (which usually happens to be San Miguel Beer, and you can’t get any more Pinoy than that, hahaha!).

Step inside and you’ll be welcomed by vibrant colors that characterize Mexican culture, most notably the mural of Santa Muerte that occupy an entire wall.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

I’ve experienced both kinds of dining opportunities at El Chupapi: first, when I joined my team mates in a post-work Anti-Burnout get-together; and second, when I grabbed a quick lunch here together with my office buddies.

Among the Fil-Mex dishes I have sampled here are:

Fries Overload (Php180). A mixture of ground beef and melted cheese poured over freshly made French fries. This is great for sharing and mindless munching (like I often do)!

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Tacos Locos (Php149 for 2 pieces). My friends and I took advantage of an ongoing Booky Buy One Get One deal for these meaty and cheese hard-shell tacos so we got four tacos for the price of two.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Salmon and Cream Cheese Aioli Soft Tacos (Php175). Two pieces of pan-seared salmon fillets on top of shredded cabbage and onions, doused with garlic mayo to be rolled inside a lightly toasted tortilla.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Chicken Wings (Php195 for 6 pieces | Php360 for 12 pieces). Tender and juicy chicken wings flavored with your choice among four sauces: Mango Habanero, Garlic Parmesan, Salted Egg and Mexican Barbecue. Thanks to a lucky decision to have lunch here on a Wingsday Wednesday, my friends and I got twelve pieces of El Chupapi’s wings (6 pieces Garlic Parmesa and 6 pieces Mexican Barbecue) for just Php195. These go so well with steamed rice.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Dessert Quesas (Php180 each). Sweet takes on the classic quesadilla – Blueberry Cream Cheese and Himalayan Salted Caramel (which was quite salty) – topped with a hefty dollop of vanilla ice cream. Both serve as great bookends to a satisfying Fil-Mex meal.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

My friends and I are quite satisfied with our El Chupapi experiences in terms of the quality of food and pricing. I also appreciate its Buy One Get One offers that help more people enjoy its offerings without being to heavy on the wallet.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

So, how about popping by in Tomas Morato and giving this Fil-Mex resto a try?

El Chupapi is located at No. 7 Scout Albano Street, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 11pm.

El Chupapi Fil-Mex Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants serving Latin American cuisine:

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Malls Feliz

I’ve been a been a believer in the health benefits of fresh lemonade for quite some time now.

However, I also used to think that it’s a one-dimensional drink: just lemon juice plus water and sugar… the end. It may be healthy but it’s, well, meh.

My eyes were opened to the drink’s myriad of possibilities when I was introduced to Jack’s Fresh Lemonade earlier this year.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

During a foodie meetup at its kiosk in UP Town Center, my fellow foodie friends and I discovered many ways to enjoy lemonade. In fact, Jack’s Fresh Lemonade has thirty lemonade variants to choose from! Whether mixed with teas, herbs or fruits or made into a dessert, Jack’s Lemonade proved to be quite a versatile drink.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Aside from its homecooked sugar syrup, what sets Jack’s Lemonade apart from other lemonade iterations is the use of plum salt or kiamoy. It’s a salty dried plum in powdered form which adds another dimension of taste to the lemonade drinks. It’s readily available at the counter and can be sprinkled on any Jack’s Lemonade drink for free.

Recently, I attended another Jack’s Fresh Lemonade foodie meetup, this time at Food Choices in Ayala Malls Feliz.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

There, along with my fellow foodies, I again had a taste of Jack’s Lemonade’s refreshingly tasty and zesty variants which included:

Basil Rich Tamarind (Php95 for regular | Php115 for large or hot). This lemonade incorporates a healthy blend of fresh tamarind puree and basil seeds.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Strawberry Mint (Php95 for regular | Php115 for large or hot). This lemonade combines the fruity sweetness of pureed strawberries and the cool freshness of mint leaves.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Lemon Cheesecake (Php95 for regular | Php115 for large or hot). If you ever wondered if lemonade can be turned into a dessert, well this drink is for you! This drink combines lemonade with powdered milk, condensed milk and grated cheddar cheese and a generous sprinkling of plum salt.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Strawberry Cheesecake with Poppers and Yogurt (Php150). One of the store’s newest drinks, it adds fresh strawberry puree and yogurt to the Lemon Cheesecake drink.

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

So if you want to experience lemonade in a variety of fresh ways, all you have to do is drop by your nearest Jack’s Fresh Lemonade kiosk!

Many thanks to Abby of Jack’s Fresh Lemonade for the drinks and to Apol of SaanSaPH for extending the invitation!

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Jack’s Lemonade, Ayala Feliz

Wanna know how fresh lemonade is good for you? Well, this beverage helps in controlling blood pressure; detoxifying and cleansing the body; facilitating digestion, throat care, heart health and skin care; relieving heartburn; whitening teeth and treating arthritis and rheumatism.

This Jack’s Fresh Lemonade kiosk is located at Food Choices, Fourth Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Barangay Dela Paz, Pasig City.

Other kiosks in Metro Manila are located at:

  • Fifth Floor, Bridgeway, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
  • Lower Ground Level, Shangri-la Plaza, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Market! Market! Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Cinema Area, Third Floor, Phase 2, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
  • Upper Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall, Barangay Bagong Pagasa, Quezon City
  • Third Floor, Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Makati City

Jack's Lemonade Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended a foodie meetup held here. The drinks mentioned here were served to enable us to sample the fare and to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my previous blog posts on other lemonade kiosks: