Friday, November 16, 2007


5 out of 5 stars

The Holy Temple of Food Lovers

For many, the best restaurant in Manila would never be reconciled. Some would say Red, the others, Antonio's. Then you'd probably hear Tivoli Grill, or how about that newly transferred Sala? Although food lovers everywhere would have their own personal favorites, there is no doubt that an excellent restaurant would merit in each person's top five list. So much so that even a person who's not into dining out would notice the quality and work put into each dish.

Dsc01241_2 Nevertheless, my own number one winner would be Lolo Dad's. Tucked in a small corner in Leon Guinto by Quirino Avenue, it looks pretty unassuming from the outside with its black grill gates leading to a small garden by the front. I ate here for the first time with my family because I heard so much about this place. Good thing it was with them considering it cost a pretty penny --- around three thousand per head to be more precise. This is probably why a lot more expats and foreigners dine here than locals; the latter stay away from this place except for special occasions.
Anyway, one of the unique features that they boast of is their open kitchen, where you can even reserve a table fronting it. Service is impeccable and unobtrusive (except for this time where I had to practically demand the wine/drink list from a certain waiter) and the ambiance is perfect for a good conversation or a romantic date.

Dsc01248_1 Pao and I decided to get the traditional 8-course degustacion menu, so that each dish is small enough so as not to overwhelm, but at the same time sampling each course in bringing out a different flavor and texture. As we waited for our courses to come, they served us with freshly baked bread which was quickly replenished when it was fully consumed, with two really generous servings of flavored butter, one creamed and the other herbed.

We started out with an appetizer of Marinated Salmon, Smoked Scallops and Grilled Prawns, served in "Iron-Chef" grandiose style. The first was done with a technique that is akin to a traditional ceviche, marinated delicately in lime and served with fresh salsa to bring out the freshness of the fish. As for the scallops, it was served on top of a grilled watermelon and garnished with caviar. As much as Pao didn't enjoy the watermelon with the scallops, I found that it served a good contrast between the natural coolness and sweetness of the fruit with the juicy meatiness of the scallop. Lastly, the grilled prawn was served with a pesto bruschetta. It tasted really good because the pesto that the bread was baked in was also the same one used to marinade the shrimp. I thought the presentation of this dish was genius, with the application of different methods of cooking bringing out the best in the food --- from the least invasive, which is marinading, to smoking, to totally cooking the meat by grilling. Also, this dish wouldn't be signature lolo dad's without painting the edges with their special sauces and oils, and finishing off with a microgreen salad. This hors d'oeuvre certainly started the degustacion right, and raised the bar for the next courses to come.


And our Espresso of Roma Tomatoes passed with flying colors. Pao liked this dish the best, sipping our soups from small teacups served with a small puff pastry baked with cheese and parsley. The soup was deliciously tangy, and it tasted like a burst of freshly shaved parmesan cheese, which picked off the puff pastry well. I was surprised to check my menu and find out it was actually blendered tomatoes because the soup tasted so creamy and cheesy, two adjectives that I love. It was presented simply with a delicate froth atop the soup.


As our next course came, we took a sip of our wines. Pao got the Merlot, a dry red to match his main course of lamb, while I got the sweet rose-colored Zinfadel to match my sea bass. Each of the house wines were served with individual decanters, so that one does not overfill their wine glass, as one can pick off the aroma from its wide rimmed glasses. Mine was a pretty cordial wine, with a long finish and obviously low on acidity.

Pao with the wines

If the espresso was Pao’s favorite dish, this was mine. Described as Pan-fried liver and sautéed Mushrooms Flower Scented Jus, it was simply foie gras heaven!! A big piece of perfectly seared foie gras lay atop a couple of portabello mushrooms, and drizzled with foie gras drippings and pine nuts. It was prepared with such simplicity, but the ingredients were so fresh that it was best that they left the cooking uncomplicated. One knows that portabello mushrooms are one of the meatiest mushrooms, and its juicy texture blended well with the foie gras that melted nicely into the mushrooms when you chewed on it. There was also a pleasant crunch and a new layer of taste brought about by the pine nuts. Really, in terms of presentation, this was the simplest, but in terms of taste, this was the most delicious!


Our palate cleanser sorbet was called Smoke Belcher. I had to take a picture of it several times because the presentation was superb! It was a small scoop of raspberry or some other fruity sorbet spiked with something like Campari. It was placed on a cup on top of a clay teapot where the latter’s inside was full of dry ice so it looked as if it was belching out smoke (hence, the name).


The sorbet gave way to the fish for me, and lamb for Pao. The sea bass was so succulent and firm that it almost tasted meaty (it did not flake), yet it was tender enough that you don’t need a knife to cut through it. It was one of the best sea bass I’ve ever tasted, and the potato terrine was a good siding for it. Though I must admit I did not taste the truffle it claims to have at all. Pao didn’t feel as estatic as I was about his lamb, saying that it was good, but not worth the extravagant price. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Pan-fried Fillet of Sea Bass with Truffle Potato Terrine

Roast Rack of Lamb with Truffle Potato Terrine

Our next course of Roquefort cheese flan with tomato marmalade was probably the most unappetizing of all. The flan was just built bad, and mixing it with the tomato puree probably salvaged some of the tartness. But overall, this is a course I’d rather not elaborate on because I wouldn’t have much good things to say about it, albeit the remarkable plating.


To be fair with the degustacion, the last course was probably the only off course. Everything else was magnificent, and the dessert definitely brought the whole meal back to its glorified perspective. Described as Poached white chocolate brulee, Crushed mochaccino and Strawberry-balsamic ice cream, I’d rather call it a deconstructed crème brulee a la mode (which it really is, anyway). Its amazing how they’re able to poach the custard of a crème brulee, which is usually put in ramekins and baked. Unfortunately, it looked better than it tastes, as it gave off a weird flavor because of the white chocolate. The plate was beautifully deconstructed, as there was even this peach slice that looked like it slipped off the plate, with the liquid custard being used as skid marks. Again, it didn’t look as good as it tastes since the peach slice was too tart, and the runny custard was actually bitter. What saved it was the ice cream, which actually tasted good with the balsamic sauce swirled to its side. And as long as you dab the ice cream onto the poached crème brulee, it tasted like a great dessert. And the mochaccino line running through the entire length of the dessert was more for presentation than it was for taste, since I barely tasted it, and I even thought it was pepper at first. Nevertheless, the dessert was capped off right with coffee and lots of lounging around while we wait for our food to digest.


All in all, the Lolo Dad’s experience is a great experience, but it may not be for everyone. For those who would rather feel like they got their money’s worth, it would be better eating in well-known buffets like Spiral or Heat. If they want more rustic and heartier meals, but with the same quality of ingredients, stick to Antonio’s. But if you’re into dishes that experiment with ingredients (i.e. playing off fruits with the savory) or love complicated cooking techniques that are well executed (i.e. a great bouillabaisse, a great seafood terrine or a meat undergoing several layers of cooking), then Lolo Dad’s is your thing. As for me, this resto has been and is my number one choice of restaurant. And it still hasn’t fallen off its pedestal.

seafood menu. click on the pic to magnify.

meat menu. click on the pic to magnify.

ate in:

Lolo Dad's Cafe, Malate
899 Pres. Quirino Ave corner Leon Guinto Street, Malate
Manila City, Metro Manila
(02) 522-2941
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

other branch:

Lolo Dad's Brasserie
G/F 6750 Ayala Ave.
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 813-6750
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

*Be sure to reserve before dining.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


3 out of 5 stars


These days, there are always touches of originality with most eateries that it is ordinary to be original. Be it the famously touted brick oven pizzas in A Taste of LA; the sole provider of chilled steaks in Red; the deli-turned-restos Terry's, Galileo and Mickey's; or the boho ambience of Cafe Juanita and Fat Michael’s…I’m not complaining, just observing. The food and wine industry in Manila has matured in leaps and bounds that establishments have started to carve their own distinctive niche in the industry.
Enter Mamou. Named after the owner, Mamou Fores, also the brainchild behind Blue Kitchen, this place advertises down-home cooking. But of course, home cooking with a twist as value added. One may not realize this from the industrial feel of the place, but being the literate folk that we are, read it from the straightforward slogan of “a home kitchen.”

So what does Mamou offer anyway? You can’t really discern the cuisine. It’s a bit of this and that, a sort of mish-mosh of influences where I guess Mamou takes comfort in cooking. Perhaps these are her favorite dishes that she prepares in her home gatherings, but her taste must be pretty extensive considering what I was holding was the October Menu. I assume that since it is dated, she must revise this every month or quarter, to say the least. Please scan through the menu and give me your opinion on what binds the theme of these dishes together, if you’d like ☺

Dsc01284 We started with an appetizer of Truffle Oil Vegetable Mushroom Dip with Whole Wheat Melba Chips. It’s pretty good, though I was having bread overload since they already served us complimentary bread and butter. Before I go on to the dip, I liked the free whole wheat and white combo breadbasket that they give, especially when it’s served piping hot and freshly baked. As for the dip, Pao said that although it had a hint of truffles, it was too faint to give the dip that truffle punch that I love. Maybe it’s because they use oil and not shavings (which are really expensive anyways). But still, we finished every single bit of the dip while waiting for our main. Then and there, I realized two things: First, I’m not personally fond of melba chips, and second, I still prefer the spinach dip of Cibo. But that’s just me.
Mom had half a serving of the Roast Pork and Chicken (345 PhP). It was citrus-rubbed chicken and pork that came with Spanish rice, a side of beans, grilled plantains and onions. I suggest getting the pork over the chicken. The chicken didn’t marinade as well, and it was somewhat dry. But the pork was juicy and soft, and really flavorful. There was nothing spectacular about each of the sidings per se, but they all blended beautifully with the roast pork. It had a Cuban feel with the plantains and the beans. Though maybe they should include grilling the onions with the plantains next time because the semi-raw onions were too pungent.

Dsc01288 Pao got the Native Duck with Red Chorizo Rice (395 PhP). The menu said that it came with steamed veggies and a chili plum sauce. The duck was, well….duck. You know what I mean. Ducks have that unique taste that wasn’t messed up by bad cooking. It was either pan or depp fried and it tasted well enough, but not spectacular. The red chorizo rice was the same Spanish rice, but had chorizos in it, so it was delicious. But I found it hilarious to think that their concept of steamed vegetables was a single steamed stem of bok choi on top of the chorizo rice!! And the Thai-inspired chili-plum sauce was probably just store-bought plum sauce and chili sauce combined in equal parts. Or at least that’s how it tasted to me, and I carry and use both sauces at home.

As for me, I had the Beer Batter Fish n’ Chips with Malt Vinegar (255 PhP). YouDsc01287 have several sides to choose from, but I chose fries, because that’s how one normally eats it anyway. The English-inspired Fish fillet tasted great, though I could never really discern if there was beer mixed in the batter. It tastes even better if you squeeze the lemon wedge provided on the fish. It came with two sauces, tartar or malt vinegar (where the latter came again, from a Borges bottle that the waiter hastily shook into my sauce bowl). I prefer the malt vinegar to the tartar sauce, as the tanginess somehow matches with the neutral taste of the fish.

Over-all, Mamou is okay. To be honest, I find the hype (i.e. resto to celebrities and politicians) overrated, and I’d go back to this place only if I happened to be in Serendra (like Chelsea). To weigh the pros and the cons: The cons would be the cramped spaces, long waits if one doesn’t reserve during the peak hours, the mismatched industrial chic ambiance and the less-than-generous servings of food. The pros would be the eclectic food flavors and a good play of ingredients in a dish. Oh, and the frozen Mamou iced tea is better than its unfrozen counterpart, only that the latter has one free refill. Now, that’s a pros and cons debate all unto itself!


Mamou - a home kitchen
Unit 1C-15 Ground Flr., Serendra
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(63-2) 8563569

*Be sure to reserve before dining. It gets pretty packed sometimes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Places I’d bash….with pictures!

1 out of 5 stars (for all 3 restos)

I wrote in my resto list that I’d most likely bash these restaurants because of all the factors that you look into one, be it ambience, presentation of the food, the cost or the remarkable service; there is really no redeeming factor to speak of. Of course, I may be wrong now, but I wouldn’t want to go back to these places again to see if I truly am.

And off we start to number one: Gran Caffe Casanova

Dsc00809 Bern and I tried this place only because it was near my house, being located in Corinthian Hills. It serves authentic Italian cuisine, as I see the Italian owner many times roaming around, but that still doesn’t save it for me. The prices are extremely expensive (i.e. your Hawiaan (?!?!?) pizza will cost you 385 pesos, while a 4 cheese one will cost 435. Note that this is only a small pizza that can fit two people who aren’t hungry at the most. Or how about a seafood main course Grigliata Mista di Mare della Riviera? That will set you back 640 painful ones, excluding tax!) and the place is physically stifling, a cramped room evoking Hollywood boudoir that feels out of place with its surroundings.
I got the Capelli D’Angelo al Tartufo Aspargini e Speck described as homemade angel hair pasta with truffle cream asparagus and cure ham. The pasta was average, and I was grudgingly willing to forgive paying the 400 pesos for it, if only I didn’t recently eat in La Grotta, having their tagliatelle al tartufo, a truffle cream dish that was 10 times better, fit for 2 and only cost around 300 pesos!!! (post to come)

Compared to the latter dish, this one had very little truffle essence in it, and the sauce was runny. I guess you cant expect a heavy one to pair with mild angel hair, but it’s the chef’s fault to even pair it with that type of pasta anyway! Truffle cream has a robust and rich flavor, and the best type of pairing would be with equally thick pasta such as bucatini, linguine, bow tie, or even tagliatelle (like in La Grotta, though this choice may still be contentious). I barely tasted the sauce, and there was nothing special about the ham or the asparagus --- they could be easily bought in any grocery. Even the cheese used was your kraft-processed parmesan…sheesh, they couldn’t even buy it in its original form and have it freshly shaved over the pasta.

Dsc00807 Bern had the Papardelle Nere al Granchio described as homemade squid-ink colored pasta with crab meat in olive oil and white wine. Considering that this is a thick pasta, you’d expect the sauce to be creamy and rich, but again, the sauce was thin and runny. There wasn’t much crab meat, the red sauce looked unappetizing with the color of the squid-ink pasta, and the tomato toppings was exactly the same as the one used with our complimentary bread! It doesn’t make things any better that her dish cost 395 either.

Better alternatives: La Grotta
Galileo Enoteca

So that’s that, on to the next bashed resto: Paloma

Patty, Bern and I tried Paloma in Shangri-la, expecting it to be nice considering it lied on the same hallway as Cyma, SumoSam or Tender Bob’s (haha, plugging!)…. But it failed to meet our expectations.
Our appetizer Boquerones in Olive Oil (120 PhP) described as fresh anchovies with vinegar and oil dressing, was just okay. It was presented nicely on a wooden block with beds of lettuce, but the taste was nothing spectacular. To think fresh, raw anchovies would be exciting like carpaccio, but it tasted too salty and had a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste. I wouldn’t pay to eat this dish, even if the price is reasonable.

Dsc00455 We also had Gambas al Ajilo (155PhP), a very typical dish in any Spanish restaurant. You’d think that the most common dish of your theme restaurant would be the best tasting one. Unfortunately, there was nothing special about it, with the small prawns drowning in oil and garnished leaves. It’s neighbor, Cyma, would carry your known eggplant moussaka, but unlike the gambas, was the best moussaka I’ve tasted thus far.
Our main dish, Paella Paloma (495 PhP for sharing) which had lobster tail, mussels, jamon serrano, squid and sausage, write better than it tastes. Our cook at home who makes paella often, can do a better job of the paella than the one in Paloma. But I guess one thing that it never fails to do is make it look pretty, as can be seen with the picture.

Dsc00461_1 Finally, we had the Caramel Cheesecake (140 PhP). Again, it was presented nicely on a wooden artist’s palette. But by far, this was the worst-tasting dish of all the ones we’ve tried. The cheesecake was too rich, and the cheese component didn’t blend well with the rest of the cake. Also, the cream and chocolate sauces shaped as circles of paint did not taste good at all. We left it uneaten, which is unlike normal dessert sauces where people would usually lick it clean.

Better alternative: Segundo Piso/Terry’s Selection
(get the really yummy chistorrado --- Spanish rice similar to paella
with a capsicum sauce and melted cheese on top….yum!)

Last but not the least, we have: Massimo’s Café, Cliffhouse (Tagaytay)
Kit, Gia, Melo, Nina and I went here after Nina’s party because we heard about their wagyu burgers from a friend. Considering that this is an established restaurant in Tagaytay, you’d expect its extension in Cliffhouse to be just as good, right? Wrong!! This café aims to disappoint….their wagyu burgers (255PhP +35 with cheese, +75 with fries), the supposed centerpieces of this café, tasted like ordinary beef, and it was such small serving for its price, albeit sandwiched in between foccacia buns (they tasted stale, though). There was no good dressing for the burger, only a huge dollop of mayonnaise on the plate, and if you order the extra 75 PhP fries, it’s just those frozen fries that you buy in the supermarket.

Dsc00792 Our other friend got the tenderloin with brandy cream sauce (295 PhP). It was two small pieces of tenderloin, a scoop of mashed potatoes and a huge side of salad that had mere lettuce and tomatoes to accompany it. The tenderloin may have been good, but I wouldn’t pay the price for it. Or if I did pay the price such a quantity, there must be something special about it. But really, it tasted like your ordinary tenderloin which was probably local beef, and there was nothing spectacular with its cooking technique, being pan-fried.
In addition, the iced tea was more than a hundred, but it tasted like that sickeningly sweet Lipton, while the dessert cakes did not look appetizing at all... the place wasn’t remarkable eating in, either. The dining table had a tile top (it felt like a bathroom), and the café itself looked too plain, as if you knew it had a lot less overhead being just a small stall instead of an establishment where you can eat even on the inside.

Better alternatives: more pricey but excellent wagyu ---- Malcolm’s Place
less pricey but more cowboy settings ---- wagyu in Salcedo Weekend Market

Gran Caffe Casanova
The Clubhouse, Corinthian Hills, Temple Drive
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 638-2989
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 12:00 mn

6th Flr, The Ledge Shangri-La Plaza, Shaw Blvd. cor. EDSA
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
(02) 910-4096
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


***I lifted this from Resto List 2006, but tweaked it to accommodate for new restaurants. Enjoy!

A lot of people ask me about which restaurant they should go to for their dates, birthdays or any other random occasion. People who know me well know that I love to eat, as well as eat out, so I’ve decided to make a rough list to a few of my favorite restaurants. Hopefully, it will inspire others to love food as works of art, or help settle debates that go on to forever on what resto to go to. If I have time, I’ll try to write about each and every one of them (Don’t depend too much on it, though, considering I rarely have time to blog). Happy eating!

(LEGEND: F = fine dining; M = mid-range; C = casual dining; D = dessert; W = wine cellar/bar)

NEAR (relative to Corinthians)
CAFÉ JUANITA (try their toffee dessert) (M)
CYMA (try their flaming cheese, moussaka and family style greek salad) (M)
BODHI (Vegetarian) (C) ---> CLOSED (the one in greenhills)
P 45 (PARALLEL 45) (F) ---> CLOSED

A TASTE OF LA (try their brick-oven baked pizza, esp. the spinach and bacon)(M)
GREENS (Vegetarian) (C)

CANTINETTA (the one in Pasong Tamo, not power) (M)
SEGUNDO PISO (not Terry's in Podium, try the arroz con gambas al cognac) (M & W)
OLD SWISS INN (get the fondue) (M)
L’OPERA (try their pizza with cream, salmon, capers and caviar) (F)
TIANANMEN (try their Manchurian Calamares & Lechong Macau. MMM!) (M)
ZIGGURAT (try their lamb with couscous) (M)
LUMIERE (Sunday Brunch) (M) ---> CLOSED
M CAFÉ (Bern said the Sunday Brunch is not as good, but i like their Japanese-cooked steak) (M)
AMICI DI DON BOSCO (cheap, yummy gelato) (C)
MALCOM'S PLACE (try the Wagyu) (M)
RED (the only chilled steak in the country) (F)
LA GROTTA (if only for the truffle cream pasta) (M)

CHELSEA (sister resto of M) (M)

BLUE FROG (try the Grand Marnier Souffle) (F)

Restos I'd like to bash:
MASSIMO CAFE (overrated wagyu)

*disclaimer: I can’t guarantee the opening hours of these restaurants. Most are closed on Sundays, which is a loss for those Sunday family lunches, so be sure to call ahead of time. And also, reserve when needed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


*3 out of 5 stars


One of the better mid to high-end restaurants in Serendra would be Chelsea, affiliated with M Café of Greenbelt. Serendra is already architecturally pleasing in itself, so a great restaurant ambience wouldn’t be too difficult to keep up unless the restaurant was physically deteriorating before you.

It is very bright and cheery upon entering, with shelves of different spices and ingredients for sale. It looks as if the kitchen not only flowed to the dining area, but was part of the restaurant.

Dsc00820_1_2A nice touch was that the restaurant served us complimentary Lipton iced tea, that was served with our bread starter. The bread was fresh foccacia with a whole roasted garlic on top served on a wooden chopping block. When one roasts garlic on low heat, it brings out its maximum sweetness and cuts through garlic’s tangy afterbite. The garlic served as its “spread” as one cuts off a few cloves and mashes it to the bread (without too much effort as the garlic literally melts in your mouth).

Dsc00822_1 I got Grandma’s Crispy Duck Confit and Mushroom Risotto (295 PhP) as per Anton’s recommendation in his blog. The duck was pan fried and baked till crispy and slathered with a peppercorn gravy sauce. It looked really pleasing to the eye, as it was served with a siding of roasted organic vegetables and mushroom risotto, and the sauce was artfully placed circling the meat. But it looked better than it tastes. The flavor was overcomplicated, with cumin, coriander, and oregano marinated in the duck. It even had something sweet that tasted similar to anise or cardamom pierced through the length of the duck’s thigh. The gravy was good, and was probably reduced with some alcohol, but it did not pair well with the Indian-tasting semi-sweet flavor of the duck. And the mushroom risotto was also good, but where did it all fit in with the dish? People may think that risotto paired with any pricey meat maketh a fine-dining dish, but this is not always true. The roasted vegetables may have gone well with the duck since its bland taste neutralizes the meat’s sharp bite, but you forget all about it since the entire thing is one complicated mess. To top it off, whole colorful peppercorns were strewn about the dish. It was so hard to separate it from the edible portions because there were too much peppercorns for its own good. And once in a while, you’d accidentally eat a peppercorn, and then gag as you grab that glass of water to swallow it down. In defense of the dish, you could see the effort put in, and the ingredients that were used were nothing but fresh.

Similarly, my friend Mika’s seafood starter plate (around 380+ PhP) also used freshDsc00821_1 ingredients. And you can never go wrong with fresh seafood, which is why it was still delicious even with its very simple sauce of lemon and vinegar. It had a really light taste, and had a julienne of carrots, radish and cucumber as a siding, with some quail eggs. My friend Mika said that the sauce reminded her of a Thai salad vinaigrette her Mom would make out of lemons, as well. And though this dish was delicious, I found it extremely overpriced, as the seafood wasn’t that plenty, and the preparation of the dish was quite simple.

Dsc00824_1 My other friend, Moe, had the Slow Cooked Norwegian Salmon (350 PhP). It was served on a dark Japanese-inspired plate, with salsa verde, roasted tomato rice cake, toasted pine nuts and blanched asparagus spears. The steamed fish looked kind of bland, and Moe said it was just okay. He agreed with my comment on it looking like it tasted “healthy” (Oh no! Spa food :S) . The salsa verde reminded me of pesto, because that was what was usually paired with pine nuts, though I never got to taste his dish because I was too full. I’ll just assume that he liked this dish enough to not leave a crumb on the plate. But still, Chelsea reminds me of a cooking school where they have all the freshest resources at their disposal, but then the complicated cooking techniques were somehow a bit off, as if we’ve got the end result of the culinary students, and not the chefs. Dsc00826_1_1

It may seem like I’m bashing Chelsea, but I actually enjoyed this restaurant, even if there were cooking blunders. I charge it up to the newness of the restaurant, what with Serendra being put up only recently. Nevertheless, this is a restaurant that I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit. I’d only eat here if I happened to be in Serendra, and I felt like splurging on food. On a more positive note, if you’ve never tried this restaurant, I urge you to, and you can share your comments with me. At the very least, this is a must-try restaurant for those who’ve never eaten here.

Chelsea Part 2

Chelsea Market and Cafe
Serendra Piazza Ground Level Mc Kinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City, Metro Manila
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm

*No need to reserve, but it wouldn't do any harm to.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


4 out of 5 stars


I know I already wrote about M Café’s Brunch Buffet, but here’s another Sunday brunch you should be sure not to miss --- in Lumiere. Lumiere is both a gallery and a restaurant, very elegant and minimal with their style of architecture, and they carry this style into their food. Their set brunch menu is put into one simple equation: 1 brunch entrée + 1 drink + 1 dessert + coffee or tea = 715 PhP.

It may be pretty pricey, but the quality is evident in their dishes and service, and every single centavo is worth it. For example, their entrée garnishes are baked tomatoes sprinkled with thyme and olive oil, which is just as yummy to eat as the real food. The mimosas or orange juice taste freshly squeezed, and is probably made by them since you can even see the orange segments through the drinks. The pancake syrup is light and transparent, of the Grade A type that is often termed as “fancy.” The tea brand that they use is Twinning’s, always a safe bet. As for the service, your water glass is never left empty, each course is presented with perfect timing and the waiters are very attentive of a customer’s call.

Dsc00625Always wanting shortcuts and using the least amount of effort, I’ll quote heavily from the descriptions that they use for the brunch entrée. First, we have Eggs Benedict, described as freshly baked, home-made, fork split English muffins, served with a choice of Smoked Salmon, Smoked Ham, Spinach or Home made Corned Beef (no hollandaise) and poached eggs blanketed with a creamy Hollandaise Sauce. Next is the Oeufs Phillipe, a delicate balance of Baked Eggs, Fresh Cream, and your choice of Dulong, Talangka or Foie Gras baked to mouthwatering perfection. It is served with freshly baked, home-made fork split English Muffins. Third, we have the Quiche Royale, a traditional French Quiche beaten to an “unbearable lightness of being,” flavored with a choice of Australian Bacon or Arugula and Mushroom. Next, we have Ricotta Pancakes, described as hot off the griddle, fluffy Pancakes cooked with Ricotta Cheese, flavored with vanilla cream plus Basiled Scramble eggs. The fifth choice would be Truffled Eggs with Anchovy-Garlic Sauce, and the final one being Steak and Eggs (additional 25PhP). I joined the last two together because there was no description of either, where I can’t say much about the first because I’ve never ordered it in the times that I’ve eaten there.

Dsc00639For drinks, you have a choice of 1 Mimosa (Champagne with freshly squeezed orange juice), 1 Bloody Mary, 1 Orange Juice or 1 Soft Drink. The dessert of that day was Banana Crumble, and there’s either Coffee of Tea, with a choice of Green Tea, Chamomile, Earl Grey or Mint.

I got a Mimosa, as I always do when I eat here. It wasn’t so cold when they handed it over to me, but they were quick to accede to my request in chilling it a little more. While waiting for our entrees, the waiter put down two bowls --- one contained a salad with a Caesar dressing, the other contained deep fried potato croutons sprinkled with parsley. Both were so simple to make, with the salad merely containing lettuce and dressing, but it was still delicious and carried us through our wait.


For that day, I got the Oeufs Phillipe with Foie Gras, while soon-to-be-foodie Pao got Steak and Eggs. Before I start with how it tasted, I’d like to apologize for the pictures. We were so hungry that we forgot to take pictures of them before ravaging our meals. Anyway, the Ouefs Phillipe stood true to its description in the menu. The foie gras blended well with the baked egg, and since it was cooked this way, the entire thing was infused with the foie gras. The sauce may have been a little runny even with the addition of fresh cream, and the foie gras piece not as large as I expected, but the dish in its entirety was delicious. I think the reason why I thought the foie gras didn’t seem as big was because it was put as an entire chunk in the eggs. They didn’t dice it within the dish, which is usually what cheaper restaurants do to extend their expensive ingredients. Moreover, the muffin was the perfect sponge for the yummy sauce that I drizzled over it upon finishing the baked egg with foie gras.

The Steak and Eggs was also a good choice for a filling Sunday Brunch. The grilled steak tasted very rich, and it was probably marinated very well, where it carried two eggs on top. It was accompanied by a mustard-horseradish sauce that brought out the smokiness of the meat. And of course, we gobbled up everything, even its tomato garnish baked in thyme.

At this point, we were so full, but I really had fond memories of their ricotta pancakes, so I got a side order of it with an extra glass of mimosa (I also got this because I downed the first one without taking a good picture of it, haha!). For side orders, one may get English Bangers (pork sausage), Australian Bacon or Ricotta pancakes for 175 PhP, or English Muffins for 70 PhP. An additional soft drink or OJ will cost you 55 PhP, coffee or tea 85 PhP or an alcoholic drink for 170 PhP. They also have a kid’s menu, which is a half portion of any of the set menus for only 350 PhP.

Dsc00638The Ricotta Pancakes were just as good as I remembered them. It was really light and fluffy, and you could taste the delicate flavor of the ricotta blending well with the sweetness of the pancake and maple syrup. Pao described it tasting like bibingka, though I could see why because of its rich taste, even without having to put the slab of butter and syrup that came along with the dish.

We were so full that by the time the Banana Crumble arrived, I was only able to finish half, even if the dessert was just a handful. Not that it wasn’t good…I really just didn’t have any more room (which is a surprise because I eat a lot). It tasted like an apple pie crust, only that it was bananas, and they sprinkled heavy cream over the top to make it even more decadent. Good thing we had mint tea and coffee to wash all that sumptuous food down.

Lumiere is definitely worth a try, if only to experience what a true brunch is all about. And to cap off this review, I’d like to lift off what this restaurant has to say about their take of a Sunday Brunch (cos it’s wittily hilarious):
What’s Eat All About

“Few dishes rival eggs benedict in their ability to simultaneously cement friendships and arteries.”

There is no more apt description of what Sunday Brunch is all about. Eggs Benedict --- standard fare of those cooler than cool New York Sunday brunches --- is the perfect meeting of breakfast and lunch. Mixing elements of one and the other, Eggs Benedict originated in the 1900’s in New York’s lower Manhattan where a certain prominent gentleman, after a late night of socializing, rising too late to catch breakfast yet too early for lunch requested this culinary discovery. Since then, it has become the foundation of all good, upright, self-respecting Sunday brunches the word over.

This brings us to the Sunday Brunch story. Sunday Brunch is the soothing palliative to the morning after the night before, to end of the week-end blues, start of the work week angst, or simply, a dose of more cholesterol to dull the effects of a hangover. Floating in time, neither lunch nor dinner, Mimosas or Bloody Marys --- intrinsic to a brunch menu --- work well with the food to create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere that encourages “food for thought” conversations or non-conversations, catching up on that thick wad of Sunday Times or just plain hanging out with family or friends.

Now what better way to spend a Sunday?

Indeed! Couldn’t have said it better. Happy eating, everyone!

Caveat: Since it is near the British embassy, it can sometimes turn into Caucasian Land.

812 2976
A. Locsin building, Makati Avenue corner Ayala Avenue, Makati City (right beside the PLDT building,& across Greenbelt 4)
(no need to reserve, but it never hurts to do so)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


4 out of 5 stars

There are a few places where you really feel like you’re away from the city. This place exudes that feeling, along with the likes of Lavigne and Barcino (more of the latter to come). I compared them to each other because they all fall under the “secluded wine cellar” category. And as much as I’m writing about this, I do hope they maintain that comfy niche that is often taken away by popularity of the masses.

Simply put, Galileo is your “wine and cheese” barkada hangout. I would not actually recommend this as a date place because as a couple, you’d share communal tables with strangers, and no perfect lighting or ambience (which this place does have) would compensate an irate neighbor who eats sloppily or talks noisily. Thus, I invited my foodie friends over, all nine of them. That way, we were able to reserve a whole long table for us at the end, which had its own almost private room. By almost, I mean that our table had its own alcove connected to a main hallway through an arched opening.


Galileo is a charmingly rustic place, with aged red brick foundations, and fancy murals and extensive wine vaults housing their specialty wines that decorate their walls. Upon entering the place, a small glass-encased deli storage rests on the left that houses their cold cuts which they use extensively in their dishes. The main hallway is to the right, and there are small nooks, housing the long communal wooden tables that remind you of a basement in Italy.

Its menu is simple but put-together. You either order “Galileo’s set menu” (which includes wine, antipasto, a pasta of the day and coffee at 400 PhP/head), or an assortment of bruschettas(220PhP for 4 pcs.), paninis (around 130-160 PhP), cold cuts (around 140-350PhP), cheese (from 145 PhP to 350 PhP), wine (120 PhP for house red/white and 150 PhP for Spumanti) and coffee (55-100PhP). They also have an a la carte menu, but it comprises mainly of sidings like salad (120-220 PhP), prosciutto with melon (200PhP), a cheese platter (150PhP), a cold cut platter (190PhP), sundried tomatoes(190PhP), olives(190PhP), sardines(190PhP), fresh mozzarella (390PhP) and pesto pasta (270PhP). (insert menus here)

Never to skimp on food, all of us (except for Patty, who ordered a salad since she had dinner already) ordered the set menu. We began with a simple broth laced with basil and macaroni noodles. Quite a good start as we picked our house wine (or a 50 peso upgrade to Spumanti) as we talked over plans of our careers, our friend Rosh’s wedding plans and reminisced of our carefree college and high school days. We also nibbled on their fresh bread which we dipped in a tomato-sardine ragout, balsamic and olive oil mixture, or porcini gravy mix.



Our individual antipasto plates arrived next, and the pictures do not do justice to its taste. There were three types of cold cuts, one salami, the other prosciuitto, and another smokier meat of two slices each. It was accompanied by generous slices of manciego and crumbled pieces of a firmer and saltier type of cheese. They all fit well together with the bunch of olives and a huge sun dried tomato atop a bed of lettuce.


I was full enough as it is, but of course I would save room for their pastas of the day (penne con porcini, spirali con salsiccia [Italian sausage], penne con gorgonzola [blue cheese] or spaghetti con melanzanie [eggplant]). Being a mushroom freak (in a wholesome way, of course ;P ), I got the porcini. It was delicious, though nothing spectacular. The pasta was properly cooked al dente, the gravy complemented the rich flavor of the porcini mushrooms and pancetta. Its presentation was simple and elegant with Italian parsley or basil on top. By the time our coffee came, we were stuffed silly.




Over-all, I had a great time in this place, and would gladly come back, but only as a big group when we need catching-up. The food was good, but what really stood out were their wines and cold cuts, which they really pride and specialize themselves on. So, to fellow foodies out there, be sure to reserve for your barkada or family In Galileo for that “wine and cheese” experience. This is just about as steady as it gets.

ate in:
Galileo Enoteca

Ground Floor, Reyes Gym
Calbayog corner Malinao Streets
Mandaluyong City Philippines
Tel. Nos.: 719-1038, 534-4633, 532-0482
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm

other branch:
Galileo Enoteca, Makati
Unit 14 La Fuerza Plaza, #21 Chino Roces Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 817-9118

*please reserve before dining.

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