The Jelly List: Fresh takes on Filipino food

The Philippine Independence Day is just around the corner and despite having a lot of restrictions on movements and dining out, there are still enough reasons to celebrate the flavors and ingenuity of Filipino cuisine.

Characterized by the interplay of sweet (tamis), sour (asim) and salty (alat) flavors, Pinoy food is rich in tradition and history, with many recipes passed down from one generation to the next.

Every once in a while, however, a kitchen maverick adds an unheard-of twist to an established Pinoy dish or adapts a foreign recipe by incorporating local ingredients or cooking styles which will result in an entirely new way to enjoy an old favorite.

In this edition of The Jelly List, let me share with you fresh takes on Filipino food from innovative restaurants. And since the community quarantine is still in effect in many areas in Metro Manila, I’ve chosen dishes from restaurants that are open for pickup or delivery.

Manam’s Caramelized Patis Wings (Php180)

Manam, Trinoma

Just when you thought that there couldn’t be another twist to fried chicken wings, Manam brings out this zesty appetizer flavored with patis (fish sauce). Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

To order, visit MomentFood.com.

More on Manam here.

Lola Cafe’s Prawns in Aligue (Php420)

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

We Pinoys sure do love our seafood! And while pasta is not native to our country, Lola Cafe has made this dish Filipino with the use of crab fat (aligue) and carabao cheese (kesong puti).

To order, call +63 917 8176045 or course your order through FoodPanda or LalaFood.

More on Lola Cafe here.

Locavore’s Sugpo con Mayonesa (Php980)

Locavore, Kapitolyo

Locavore may be best known for its Sizzling Sinigang but its Sugpo con Mayonesa surely deserves a second (or third!) look. Made with jumbo black tiger prawns set on a rich sauce of crab fat, garlic, butter and Japanese mayo, this is truly a decadent dish.

To order, call +63 917 6842014 (Pasig), +63 917 5742017 (Taguig), +63 917 1782018 (Makati), +63 917 8472747 (Pasay) and +63 917 5120159 (Quezon City), or visit Locavore.ph.

More on Locavore here.

Ombu Kusina’s Sisig Pizza (Php560).

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

The Kapampangan delicacy pork sisig may be mainstay in many Filipino restos but here’s an exciting way to enjoy it: on top of a thin-crust pizza and drizzled with garlic sauce.

To order, call +63 2 84411789 or +63 922 8149086, or course your order through FoodPanda.

More on Ombu Kusina here.

Moonshine Pub’s Pizza Margerito (Php465)

Moonshine Pub, Ortigas

A twist on the Italian classic Pizza Marherita, this is adapted to local taste with the inclusion of Moonshine Pub’s housemade longganisa.

To order, Viber +63 927 8000920 or send a message to Moonshine Pub on Facebook.

More on Moonshine Pub here.

ALTA by Relik’s Bagnet Sinigang (Php395).

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

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

To order, call +63 917 3172582.

More on ALTA by Relik here.

Kusina Moderne’s Sans Rival (Php225)

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

What’s a Filipino meal without dessert? With Kusina Moderne’s version of the San Rival consisting of meringue balls studded with chopped walnuts and filled with buttercream, any meal will end on a sweet note.

To order, call +63 920 8178956 or course your order through GrabFood or FoodPanda.

More on Kusina Moderne here.

So if you’re planning a celebration for our Araw ng Kalayaan, have a couple of these dishes delivered to your home and appreciate the ingenuity and vibrancy of Pinoy cuisine.

Thanks for reading this Jelly List! Now, how about some perks?

  • Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Check out my other adventures compiled into Jelly Lists:

A chicken-y twist to sisig from Manokoloco

Find yourself in a bind as what to have for the gang’s lunch while in quarantine?

Don’t stress yourself out! Go for something tasty that you won’t have to tire yourself out cooking.

How about that Pinoy staple ulam called sisig? That’s sure to have the vote of everyone in the gang!

Try it with a twist by ordering some Chicken Sisig from Manokoloco!

Instead of the usual pork cheeks, get crunchy bits of roasted chicken and chicken liver all mixed up with chilis and a bit of mayo. It’s lighter on the tummy and (hopefully, just a wee bit) healthier, too!

Manokoloco, Tomas Morato

Get enough for the whole gang by ordering the Nalocosisig (Php250), quite plenty for a barkada of three to four. Just make sure to have lots and lots of kanin ready!

Eating all by your lonesome? Here is where it gets interesting.

You can reheat it for dinner, make a pasta sauce out of it or add it as a topping to the tortilla chips you munch on while binge-watching your fave Netflix series.

Manokoloco, Tomas Morato

The possibilities are endless!

Thanks to Harvard of AlwaysHungry.PH for sharing from his ulam stash!

Manokoloko is located at 19 11th Jamboree Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City. For inquiries or to order for curbside pickup or delivery, call +63 916 5563487.

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

Check out my posts on other chicken places in the metro:

Family-style dining at 121 Restaurant, Allegro Center

Makati is a pretty bustlin’ place during weekdays but come the weekend, many of its happenin’ venues turn into relatively quiet spots where you and the fam can go for a meal.

Take 121 Restaurant at Allegro Center for example. After hours during weekdays, it may be a watering hole for Makati’s young urban professionals.

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

During one Saturday, however, it was the setting for a nice family-style lunch where my fellow foodies and I enjoyed 121’s take on down-home Pinoy dishes, such as:

121 Pork Sisig (Php289 solo | Php1,029 barkada). The staple of any Filipino dine-out experience, 121’s version is meaty and crunchy.

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Empanada (Php39 per piece | Php159 for 5-piece sampler). Available in vegan steak picado, ham and cheese, chicken pastel, pulled pork and beef picadillo flavors.

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Lumpiang Shanghai (Php219 solo | Php839 barkada). Remember those lumpias that are practically all wrapper? Well, these are overflowing with minced pork, surrounded by a thin layer of golden brown crispy lumpia wrapper.

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Pork Sinigang (Php279). The Pinoy’s go-to soup dish!

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Grilled Liempo (Php249) and Grilled Porkchop (Php249). We Pinoys sure are fans of inihaw! These are juicy, smoky pork belly and pork chop pieces that go so well with good ole’ steamed rice and 121’s very own secret sauce!

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Champorado Cheesecake (Php119). The Pinoy’s favorite breakfast cereal is now in cheesecake form! Need I say more?

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

These specialties are best enjoyed surrounded by your nears-and-dears during a boisterously happy lunch, just like we did!

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

121 Restaurant, Allegro

Many thanks to Daryl and Issa of 121 Restaurant for having us!

By the way, with Zomato Gold, you get a dish free when you dine at 121 Restaurant with a friend. 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 the code JELLYB to get 45% off the membership fee.

121 Restaurant, Allegro

This 121 Restaurant branch is located at Second Floor, Allegro Center, Pasong Tamo Extension, Magallanes, Makati City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 1am. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 88560529.

Other branches are located at:

  • 121 L. P. Adamson building, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Ground Floor, Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig
  • Third Floor, BGC Stopover Pavillion, Rizal Drive corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Eastwood Citywalk 1, Libis, Quezon City

121 Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a food tasting held in 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:

Delicious home-cooked meals from The Happy Kitchen

There is something magical that happens when family and friends sit down together over a home-cooked meal.

When people get together at the dinner table, an array of freshly cooked dishes spread before them, good conversation, good vibes and good times are not far behind.

However, with today’s hectic lifestyle and busy schedules, not everyone would have the time to constantly slave over the stove to come up with mouth-watering meals.

Enter The Happy Kitchen.

And by enter, I mean invite it to your home to bring you and your loved ones the flavors you love and grew up with.

The Happy Kitchen (or THK) is the brainchild of Risa Cirineo, a full-time food entrepreneur based in Cainta, Rizal.

She originally operated a canteen in her home to take advantage of a new business opportunity presented by a new school opening nearby, as well as an office canteen in a car dealership.

When she had to close down the office canteen, she jumped on a new and more practical business opportunity: selling party trays online.

In 2018, she started doing exactly that: selling party trays of comfort food such as Beef Caldereta, Kare-Kare and Sisig on Facebook to anywhere in Metro Manila.

The Happy Kitchen

Today, her product lines include include party trays, packed meals and “paluto” requests of comfort food and party favorites, some of which were sent over for me and my family to sample:

Beef Caldereta (Php650 good for 6 | Php1,100 good for 10). A mainstay in many family gatherings and fiestas, the caldereta is a showcase of Spanish influences on Filipino cuisine. Named after the caldera – the cauldron where the ingredients are stewed in – this dish combines simple ingredients such as marinated beef, rough-chopped vegetables and a bit of liver pate to bring about a comforting and hearty dish. In THK’s version, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender while the tomato sauce was rich in beefy flavor with a bit of cheese and just a hint of spice.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Special Pork Sisig (Php500 good for 6 | Php850 good for 10). This Kapampangan dish is actually one of my daughter’s favorite viands and would usually order it whenever we dine out. She took a liking to THK’s rendition of this classic dish as it was not overly oily and the crunch chicharon bits gave it added texture and flavor. This dish is great as an appetizer or as bar chow.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Php600 good for 6 | Php980 good for 10). Another party classic, this dish is made of chicken breasts thinned and wrapped around pieces of ham and cheese, then breaded and pan-fried to a golden brown. It’s great as a viand accompanied by rice or by itself as a finger food during cocktails, and is usually a hit with the kids because – duh! – cheese and chicken. 🙂

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Korean Chicken (Php520 good for 6 | Php880 good for 10). With all things Korean being a hit in the Philippines these days, it’s no wonder that THK began offering Korean-style braised chicken to its clientele. Risa built on her mom’s recipe – a family favorite for years – by adding gochujang to this dish made with tender chicken pieces in a flavorful sauce of aromatics and herbs. This fresh take on a chicken-based viand is a hit with my son.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

These dishes from The Happy Kitchen showcase the care and pride that Risa puts into her cooking. They feature meats that are tender to the bite, veggies with some crisp freshness and flavors that appeal to everyone in my family.

Many thanks to Risa for sending over these THK best-sellers!

Here’s how you can get these delectable dishes for your family dinner or clan gathering:

  • Visit The Happy Kitchen on Facebook to check out its menu of available dishes.
  • Text the following details to +63 922 3057613 or +63 917 5493643 at least three days in advance: your name, contact number, your orders and your preferred delivery date, time and address or your preferred date and time of pickup
  • Pay via bank deposit or online fund transfer to BPI or BDO: 50% downpayment at least three days before pickup or delivery and the remaining 50% one day prior to pick up or delivery

Aside from party trays, THK’s dishes are also available as packed meals good for meetings or as crew meals, with sets priced at Php110 for 1 viand + 1 rice, Php135 for 1 viand + 1 vegetable side dish + 1 rice, Php165 for 2 viands + 1 rice and Php195 for 2 viands, 1 vegetable side dish and 1 rice.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to enable an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Alibi, Tomas Morato

No need to wrack your brain for an excuse to have a night out with friends at the end of the work week at this newest bar in Tomas Morato.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Tucked discreetly in the basement of a converted house along Scout Delgado Street in the Tomas Morato area, Alibi is reason enough to chill out with your crew as you enjoy your favorite cocktail and bar chow.

But just in case you need to justify your night out for the Third Inquisition when you get home, you might want to mention how irresistible these are:

One: Tasty bar chow for a serious case of the munchies.

Chase away your hunger with these bar chows:

Tuna Sashimi and Salmon Sashimi (Php275 each).

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Salpicao (Php250). Cubes of hanger steak sauteed in roasted garlic and served with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Country-Style Fried Chicken (Php200), Juicy pieces of chicken tenders, breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown and served with gravy.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Baby Back Ribs (Php250). Succulent grilled pork ribs coated in barbecue sauce and served with a tangy coleslaw on the side.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi Fries (Php190). Deep-fried thick-cut fries served with cheese and katsu sauces and topped with bonito flakes.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Mini Sausage (Php150). Sausages cut in bite-size pieces.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Pork Sisig (Php250). The classic Pinoy appetizer made of minced pork pieces sauteed in calamansi, onions and chilis.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Oyster Sisig (Php290). Alibi’s fresh take on the staple dish using oysters in the place or pork. Wow! (More on Alibi’s oyster offerings later.)

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Two: Exciting cocktails to try.

Drink to a well-deserved weekend break with Alibi’s signature concoctions.

Lychee Mojito (Php145). Made with lychee, mint leaves and rum.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Tomato Quila (Php145). Made with tomatoes, pear juice and Jinro Grapefruit Soju.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Hello Kiwi (Php145). Made with kiwi, aloe vera, absinthe and soda.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Yakuroto Vodka (Php165). Made with cherry, peach vodka and Yakult.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Three: An oyster bar. ‘Nuff said!

Fresh Aklan oysters, whether plain, topped with Miso Bechamel or Pesto sauce, yours for Php50 apiece.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Who wouldn’t want to take a decadent taste of the sea with these glorious Philippine oysters?

So, go ahead. Take a long-awaited breather for the weekend. Hang out with your friends. You’ve already got your Alibi.

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi, Tomas Morato

Alibi is located at 115 Scout Delgado Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open Thursdays to Saturdays, from 7pm to 3am.

Alibi 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:

A taste of home in the South at Serye, Santana Grove

Whenever a group of diverse people need to sit down for lunch, chances are, they would agree to go for Filipino food.

And why not?

The familiar dishes and comforting flavors of Filipino food have an easy appeal to most of us.

That’s what happened when my officemates and I stopped over for lunch at Santana Grove on our way to our fieldwork in Paranaque. Most of us live quite far from this area so we were happy to find a chill place to eat before we go back to work.

After doing a quick scan of the options available, we agreed on Serye as our venue for out midday repast.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye’s owner Alvin Reyes Lim is part of the well-known Reyes family of restaurateurs who brought about time-honored establishments and brands such as Aristocrat, Alex III, Reyes Barbecue and Mama Sita’s. In fact, he pays tribute to his heritage through his restaurant’s name as it is an anagram of Reyes.

Serye also means progression, as denoted by his restaurant’s well-crafted menu of classic Filipino favorites, some of which feature strong Spanish influences.

Our lunch that day consisted of:

Hototai Soup (Php195). Light yet flavorful broth with pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables and wisps on wonton thickened with a fresh egg.

Serye, Santana Grove

Deep-fried Chipirone (Php320). Seasoned baby squids deep-fried to a golden brown.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye’s Sisig (Php295). Serye’s version of the Kapampangan classic with seasoned pork cheeks sauteed in onions and chili peppers, topped with a fresh egg.

Serye, Santana Grove

Pinakbet (Php220). Serye’s take on the Ilocano dish with choice veggies sauteed in homemade shrimp paste sauce.

Serye, Santana Grove

Binagoongan (Php515). Hearty pieces of crispy and meaty bagnet and steamed veggies on a bed of homemade shrimp paste sauce.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

What a lucky find: a delicious taste of home in the South.

Serye is located at Santana Grove, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Barangay San Antonio, Paranaque City, open daily from 11am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88269317 or +63 2 88254691.

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Manam Comfort Filipino, Trinoma

Comfort food are fare that provide the diner with a feeling of consolation or well-being and are oftentimes associated with the food enjoyed at home or during childhood.

While these evoke nostalgia and sentimentality, they also excite the taste buds and stir anticipation.

After a typical morning at the office, my officemates and I opted to get some comfort and good eats at the newly opened branch of Manam in Trinoma.

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

We were welcomed by Manam’s friendly and accommodating wait staff as well as its well-appointed yet cozy interiors.

Manam was formerly known as NamNam, and it boasts of a menu that offers both the classic renditions as well as fresh twists on Pinoy cuisine.

That day, we feasted on these dishes:

Adobong Kangkong (Php98). Kangkong (water spinach) shoots sauteed in garlic and soy-vinegar.

Manam, Trinoma

Gising Gising (Php125). Sigarilyas and kangkong sauteed with pork and chilis in coconut cream and bagoong (shrimp paste).

Manam, Trinoma

Pinakbet (Php130). Okra, string beans, eggplant, squash and tomatoes sauteed in with pork bits and shrimp in bagoong.

Manam, Trinoma

Mangga at Bagoong (Php140). Sliced green mango and shrimp paste, this combo is famous for that sour-salty dynamic.

Manam, Trinoma

Caramelized Patis Wings (Php170). A twist on fried chicken, patis (fish sauce) flavors the zesty wings.

Manam, Trinoma

Crunchy Salt and Pepper Squid (Php280). Lightly battered squid pieces tossed in a crunchy mixture of stir-fried garlic and chilis.

Manam, Trinoma

House Crispy Sisig (Php398). Ranked as the No. 1 Sisig in Manila for two consecutive years, this dish features chopped pork jowl and cheek served sizzling.

Manam, Trinoma

Sinigang na Beef Short Rib and Watermelon (Php775 for family size). The sour broth of the beef sinigang is given a slightly sweet twist with the addition of watermelon.

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

Bibingka de Leche (Php125). A layer of leche flan (caramel egg custard) tops a pancake-like rice cake.

Manam, Trinoma

Kape, Sago at Gulaman (Php105). The samalamig (Filipino version of slushy drink) given a twist with the addition of coffee flavors.

Manam, Trinoma

Puto Bumbong with Muscovado Butter (Php80). The classic purple rice cake traditionally steamed in bamboo tubes accompanied by grated cheese, grated coconut and a bar of muscovado-enriched butter.

Manam, Trinoma

What a delicious way to get some comfort on a work day!

Manam, Trinoma

This branch of Manam Comfort Filipino is located at Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall Garden Wing, Bagong Pag Asa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 79005750.

Other branches are located at:

  • Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati
  • Net Park, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • O Square, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan
  • South Wing, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay
  • Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Entertainment City, Paranaque
  • SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
  • SM City Fairview, Novaliches, Quezon City
  • Ayala Fairview Terraces, Novaliches, Quezon City

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Fam fave Bistro Charlemagne opens third branch in Ayala Malls Manila Bay

It is rare for my entire family to agree on food. Oftentimes, our tastes differ to such a degree that eating out has become a tedious process of elimination, narrowing down the list of options where everyone’s food preferences and cravings are assuaged.

But there’s one resto name that shortcuts all that because we know we will all agree on it: Bistro Charlemagne.

I introduced my immediate and extended fam to the joys of dining at Bistro Charlemagne in Ayala Malls Feliz and the in-laws at its branch in Solenad, Nuvali early last year. Since then, we have enjoyed its Asian fusion cuisine time and time again, making this resto our go-to place for intimate family celebrations or get-togethers.

And now, with the opening of its third branch in Ayala Malls Manila Bay, it just got easier and more enjoyable to meet up with family and friends in the South for great food and great times.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

You might be wondering what constitutes Bistro Charlemagne’s appeal to me and my family. Well, let me break it down for y’all…

1. Its elegant but homey premises.

I’ve noticed that although its branches are inside malls, they are usually situated near the outdoors (near gardens or balconies). Its floor-to-ceiling glass windoes allow a lot of natural light to enter the dining area, further enhanced by decorative light fixtures. The lighting also brings out the colors and textures of the resto’s darkwood tables and snakeskin-and-velvet plush chairs and couches.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

The well-appointed surroundings may be posh but not at all off-putting. There is a warm and homey atmosphere to the place that puts its guests at ease.

2. Its Asian fusion cuisine brings together the East and West, the familiar and the new.

Dining at Bistro Charlemagne always feels like an adventure. Its extensive menu is chock-full of exciting dishes to try as well as old favorites that I, personally, do not tire of.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Take, for example, the dishes that my foodie friends and I enjoyed when we visited its newest branch:

Bistro Sisig Fries (Php315). Thrice-cooked pork cheeks sauteed in creamy chicken liver sauce on top of freshly cooked fries.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Ox Sisig (Php355). Tender slow-cooked ox tongue mixed with Bistro Charlemagne’s special toyomansi-mayo sauce topped with chicharon bulaklak.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Shrimp Poppers (Php435). Lightly battered deep-fried shrimps tossed in a sweet chili mayo sauce and chili oil and served with a side salad.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Octopus Ala Pobre (Php395). One of Bistro Charlemagne’s seasonal dishes, this is made of slow-braised octopus in a garlic butter sauce and garlic confit.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Little Asia’s Crispy Chicken (Php355). This is the crispy fried chicken dish developed by the owner’s grandfather and passed down through three generations of restaurateurs.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Beef Tenderloin Rolls (Php415). Tender, thinly sliced beef wrapped around cheese and sauteed in teriyaki sauce.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Lengua in Mushroom White Sauce (Php415). Braised ox tongue with cream sauce and sauteed mushrooms.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Drunken Lengua in Mushroom Brown Sauce (Php415). Tender pan-seared ox tongue with mushrooms and asparagus in white wine sauce.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Cantonese Prawns (Php565). Sauteed prawns covered in melted cheese and cream sauce.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Creamy Seafood Baked Rice (Php415). Shrimp, squid, fish fillet and crabstick tossed in a rich cream sauce slathered over rice and topped with melted cheese.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Smores (Php265). Ghirardelli chocolate ganache topped with a thick layer of roasted marshmallows and served with graham crackers.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Reese’s Smores (Php265). Peanut butter chips ganache topped with a thick layer of roasted marshmallows and served with graham crackers.

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

3. Its imaginatively designed drinks

Quench your thirst or pair your viands with Bistro Charlemagne’s blended drinks, which include:

Blueberry Banana Shake (Php185).

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Four Seasons Shake (Php165).

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Choco Peanut Banana Shake (Php165).

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Vietnamese Coconut Drink (Php155).

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

4. Its affordable set meal options

Eating solo? You can dine on single servings of your favorite viands along with rice, soup and iced tea for as low as Php235.

5. Its party trays for your large gatherings

Planning your New Year celebrations with the clan? How about an office party after the holidays?

I’m happy to discover Bistro Charlemagne has party packages that can feed large groups.

My wish list for my dream Bistro Charlemagne party includes:

  • Tuna Tataki (Php1,575, good for 15 persons). Hubby’s favorite!
  • Little Asia’s Crispy Chicken (Php1,420, good for 12 persons).
  • Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Cheese (Php1,660, good for 15 persons).
  • Drunken Lengua in Mushroom Brown Sauce (Php2,075, good for 15 persons)
  • Salt and Pepper Squid (Php1,875, good for 15 persons)
  • Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php1,775, good for 15 persons)

So check out Bistro Charlemagne’s tasty dishes at its newest branch!

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Many thanks to Charlemagne Lim and his crew for the warm welcome and wonderful meal, and the Francis G for extending the invitation!

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

This Bistro Charlemagne branch is located at Lot 2, Third Floor, Cinemas Building, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Entertainment City Paranaque, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 79149082.

Other branches are located at:

  • Fifth Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz along Marcos Highway, Dela Paz, Pasig City
  • GFF-6, Building B, Ayala Malls Solenad 3, Nuvali, Don Jose, Santa Rosa, Laguna

Bistro Charlemagne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Liloan’s Pride, California Garden Square

Every once in a while, we all get a craving for food that’s hefty and fatty, the kind that will make a cardiologist’s heart skip a beat (ironically so).

And when that craving comes, there’s no better (or tastier) way to assuage it than to indulge in a juicy and succulent piece of lechon.

Well, if you can’t buy the whole roasted pig, why not indulge yourself in some lechon liempo?

Liloan’s Pride Liempo combines the use of traditional culinary methods and ingredients and modern cooking processes to produce a perfectly roasted pork belly. Each serving is meticulously marinated to infuse the meat with flavor and roasted exactingly to give the skin a satisfying crunch to the bite.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

I got another taste of this famous lechon together with my fellow foodies when I joined a foodie meetup at the Liloan’s Pride Liempo store at Calfornia Garden Square in Mandaluyong.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

There, our feast included:

Cebu Liempo (Php360). A huge slab or pork belly marinated and roasted Cebu lechon style. A spicy version is available for Php380 if you’re craving for additional heat.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Roasted Chicken (Php360). The chicken version of the Cebu liempo which makes for tender and juicy meat and flavorful skin.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liempo Manok Rice Meal (Php190). The best of both worlds, really: the lechon liempo and the roasted chicken plus a cup of steamed rice in one plate.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Classic Sisig (Php160). Pampanga’s famous dish made with pig cheeks flavored with calamansi, onions and chili peppers. For me, it could use a bit more crunch and saltiness (from crushed Cebu liempo skin maybe?).

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Garlic Bangus (Php220). A whole medium-sized bangus (milkfish) butterfly-filleted, marinated in garlic and vinegar then fried to a golden brown and topped with toasted garlic. It’s very fragrant from all the garlic but it could use more of the vinegar taste so keep some of the store’s sawsawan handy when you order this. A rice meal with a quarter of the garlic bangus is also available for Php99.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Pochero Meal (Php149). Pork belly slices stewed together with chickpeas, sliced bananas, potatoes, green beans and cabbage in rich tomato sauce. I find it ok but would prefer the beef version of pochero.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Beef Pares Meal (Php99). The power combo of beef asado, garlic rice and broth.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

So the next time that craving comes, you know what to do! Hie yourself over to Liloan’s Pride Liempo.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

Many thanks to Ms Ani Conanan and the staff of Liloan’s Pride Liempo for the meal and to Harvard of AlwaysHungryPH for extending the invitation.

Liloan’s Pride Liempo, California Garden Square

This Liloan’s Pride Liempo branch is located at San Juan California Garden Square, Domingo M. Guevarra Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Other branches may be found at

  • SM Hypermarket, Upper Ground Floor, Building B, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Connecticut Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan
  • Lower Ground Floor, SM Cubao, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Third Floor, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • The Block, SM City North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
  • SM Hypermarket, North Wing, SM Mall of Asia, MOA Complex, Pasay City
  • Food Court, Second Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa

Liloan's Pride Liempo 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:

San Juan’s newest food and nightlife destination – Varra Restobar

The workday is through and you’ve earned yourself a little bit of a respite, wouldn’t you say?

If you’re looking for a place to meet with friends, enjoy good food and perhaps have a drink or two, then this newly opened and somewhat hidden restobar in San Juan would be just the thing.

Varra, San Juan

A namesake of P. Guevarra Street where it is situated, Varra Restobar offers food lovers new reasons to make Little Baguio in San Juan their next foodie destination.

Together with my foodie friends, I ventured to Little Baguio in San Juan to check this resto out.

Getting to the resto is quite easy (it’s already on Waze, peeps!), but finding the entrance may be a challenge. Here’s a tip: go straight to the back of the building (where the car wash is) and climb up the stairs straight to the third floor. And then, you’re there!

Here’s what you can look forward to:

One: A chill place to hang out

The place has a relaxed vibe that is conducive for friendly get-togethers or chillin’ out with your favorite drink and bar chow.

It has a sprawling dining area with an abundance of power outlets. If ever your gadgets are low on battery, you can easily juice up again without having to leave your table.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Want to party in style? Reserve the stately Lounge and hold your celebrations for up to 40 pax for Php35,000 (fully consumable).

Varra, San Juan

Or you can let loose with the gang in privacy and comfort in the VIP Room for just Php20,000 (fully consumable). Aside from the well-appointed interiors, you and your friends can enjoy your own private comfort room and a buzzer to summon the service team for your requests and orders.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Two: Mouthwatering comfort food

Whether you’re after a feast or a snack, Varra offers you a well-curated array of sure-win familiar dishes or fresh twists on the classics.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

These include:

Crispy Shrooms (Php130). Deep-fried and crispy oyster and enoki mushrooms that you will want to pop into your mouth again and again.

Varra, San Juan

Spam Chips (Php210). Thin slices of spam deep-fried to crisps accompanied by garlic aioli.

Varra, San Juan

Messy Fries (Php150). Fries served with beef, lots of cheese and garlic aioli. It’s the kind of mess I certainly wouldn’t mind!

Varra, San Juan

Varra’s Nacho Overload (Php350). Crunchy nacho chips doused in cheese sauce and overloaded with beef, tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives. Perfect for munching while chatting with friends.

Varra, San Juan

Soy Garlic Chicken Poppers (Php240). Fried chicken balls served with coleslaw, rice and fried egg.

Varra, San Juan

Beef Tapa (Php240). A classic breakfast staple, this consist of garlicky marinated beef served with salted egg, salsa, rice and fried egg.

Varra, San Juan

Chicken Pesto Marinara (Php380). A tomato-based pasta topped with grilled chicken flavored with pesto sauce.

Varra, San Juan

Classic Carbonara (Php290). A creamy iteration of the carbonara loaded with ham pieces and served with poached egg.

Varra, San Juan

Wings Basket (Php230). Six pieces of juicy and flavorful fried chicken wings flavored with your choice of sauce – Buffalo, Sou Garlic, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory BBQ, Chili Cheese and Honey Sriracha – that go so well with rice. We got two baskets each of Soy Garlic and Garlic Parmesan.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra’s Steak Salpicao (Php380). Ooh, this is definitely the star of the show! Tender and flavorful slices of steak sauteed in garlic and oil and served on a sizzling plate.

Varra, San Juan

Three: Refreshing drinks

As you enjoy the tasty viands and bar chow, quench your thirst with Varra’s Signature Cocktails (Php200 each) which include: Blue Cruise (white rum, lemon and triple sec), Rosee el Varra (tequila, sour mix and Hoegaarden Rosee), Varra Mountain (gin, gin de cacao, sour mix and triple sec) and Basil Slush (blended basil leaves, rum, lemonade and sugar).

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

If you don’t feel like imbibing alcohol ot if you’re the group’s designated driver, you can also opt for non-alcholic drinks such as Varra Iced Tea (Php80), Frozen Peach Iced Tea (Php100) and the cranberry and citrus-y Sunset Spritzer (Php130).

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Well, it sure looks like San Juan just got itself a new go-to place for munchies, drinks and chillin’ out!

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Many thanks to Ms. Lovely Tan and the crew of Varra Restobar for the invitation!

If you and your gang can’t get enough of wings, take advantage of Varra’s Unli Wings & Rice Promo for only Php359 per person, available from Sundays to Thursdays.

Varra Restobar is located at 333 P. Guevarra Street, Little Baguio, San Juan, open from Sundays to Thursdays from 6pm to 2am, and Fridays to Saturdays from 6pm to 3am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 916 5870345.

Varra Resto Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other bars and watering holes in the Metro: