Saturday, February 20, 2010


3.5 out of 5 stars

Heard about this in other blogs, so I wanted to drag my friends to this new dive which opened either early this year or last year. There was much expectation from this restaurant, since an apple doesn't fall far from the proverbial tree, the tree being his father Juan Carlos di Terry who owned the popular "Terry's Selection." With everyone meeting up after-office hours, we were famished and looking forward to an authentic Moroccan experience.

The interior wouldn’t necessarily hint of its culinary origin, what with the hanging industrial lamps, whitewashed walls and sleek colorful furniture. But is certainly looked cool and hip, a great backdrop for fashionable people visiting Rockwell to dine in. Meanwhile, the menu was flirty and playful, with headings that were obviously leading innuendos. Some like it (drinks) "steamy" (hot), "dirty" (cocktails) or "complex" (wines). Or how about starting with a "tease" (appetizer) from "my green mind" (salads), where there's always "time to spoon" (soups) when you're "smack in the middle" of a situation" (sandwiches)? It follows with pasta, meat and seafood, wrapping up with dessert as a "happy ending."

My friend started with LU’s homemade paprika fries (140 PhP) as a tease, while I shared a single hummus beirouty (120 PhP) with another friend. The fries were pretty average, the fries being paired off with a citrus-mayo dip. To be honest, I preferred the cayenne fries of Good Burger, where the wedge fries had more meat to it and the flavor had more zing and spice. They also used the same side-order in LU’s naughty fish and chips (325 PhP) and Mexican steak frites (675 PhP). As for the hummus, its presentation in a clay pot was remarkable, and tasted really good considering that they didn’t skimp on the quality of the ingredients. The chickpeas were blended well with the tahini, with a splash of rich olive oil and black olives, chopped parsley, paprika and a chili fruit as garnish. But the unleavened bread that a friend commented tasted like hostia was sorely lacking, as if you had no choice but to order another side of it just to finish the hummus. It wasn’t even pleasant to re-order since the bread tasted quite raw and powdery, but we did anyway since it ran out before half of the hummus was even consumed.
LU’s homemade paprika fries (140 PhP)

hummus beirouty (120 PhP)

Good thing we ordered us some "dirty" drinks, cheekily named "diabLU" (280 PhP). A merry mix of lemon, mint and gin, it tasted fruity, masking the treacherous gin which was actually quite a lot in the drink. By the time I slurped this down, my face was heating up a bit. My only side comment was that our drinks looked like this:

But when i checked other pictures of it, it was supposed to look like this.
I think our drinks were sitting out a tad long before it was served to us. Tsk, tsk.

At least one of our companions loved his Lu’s Ultimate pork chop (520 PhP), because not everyone was too pleased with theirs. The chop was slathered with tangy orange-achuete sauce, paired with sweet potato mash and caramelized onions. It’s actually pickled onions, though in the Mexican steak frites order, they say it’s caramelized, since we had the same side order.
Lu’s Ultimate pork chop (520 PhP)

Another friend got the poached white flounder on lemon risotto (475 PhP). She enjoyed the fish thoroughly, but only toyed with her risotto, leaving a big portions untouched. She found it too wet, and didn’t agree with the way it was cooked.
poached white flounder on lemon risotto (475 PhP)

LU’s naughty fish and chips (325 PhP) was ordered by my last friend, who complained of how little it was from the get-go. It was basically 8 pieces of the same homemade paprika fries and 3 small fish sticks, with tartar and honey mustard sauce. She wasn’t blown away with it, and probably finished it in less than 10 minutes because there wasn’t much to eat with.
LU’s naughty fish and chips (325 PhP)

My Mexican steak frites (675 PhP) probably looked the most impressive, as written, the arrachera hanger steak, caramelized onions and melted cheese placed in a huge wooden block. It also contained a salad, the same paprika fries and onion rings as the starch sidings. Garnering much ooohs and aaahs from my tablemates, I didn’t feel as awestruck once I dug into it. The two steak pieces were thin and miniscule, one containing the melted cheese. They were only generous with the salad, which had a tasty vinaigrette. Even fries and onion rings were spread out so that it looked more than it seemed.
Mexican steak frites (675 PhP)

I surely spent more than a grand, while the others spent roughly a grand, but most of us still weren’t full. We ended up ordering more food in Reserve, while the others we met up with were in the middle of their nth tequila shots. Apart from the discrepancy of the price and amount of food, the service was slow and inattentive. No one minded us when we were calling out to the waiters (we drank our cocktails and ate our starters outside), two of us having to go inside and walking up to the waiters on separate occasions. We had to ask for water, because they didn’t provide us with any, and we had to call them to refill our glasses. Our entrees were at least half an hour wait, even longer for some of us. It could have been an off or busy day, but my companions said they wouldn’t be revisiting the place anytime soon. I might try this place again with another set of friends, giving benefit of the doubt that it might just be too busy at a Friday night. Hopefully, it will be a better visit since the mix of ingredients and the rich flavors of some dishes seemed promising.

Menu. Click to magnify.

LU Restaurant, Rockwell
G/F Joya Bldg., Joya Drive, Rockwell
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 403-3991
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thursday, February 11, 2010


3.75 out of 5 stars

Romulo Café is a relatively new restaurant which opened late last year along with good company near its streets: A Taste of LA, Zuchinnni’s and Katre. The architecture is cool, clean, chic and predominantly white, all thanks to the skills of famed designer Ivy Almario. Her husband, Yong Nievas (of the former Salumeria, thanks Noni) is the proprietor of this establishment, which serves Filipino comfort food, the name of this place coming from the grandfather’s surname. Admittedly, you can’t really tell that it’s Filipino food that they’re serving since the place is a little too modern. The only trace of Filipino art is a floor-to-ceiling poster of the poem “I am Filipino” halfway up the stairs.

"I am Filipino" poem


The menu is brief, but put-together, consisting of only two pages worth of Filipino food with a modern twist. Even if their specialty is the Boneless Crispy Pata Binangoonan (PhP 595) (which I shall try on my next visit), it was only Martin and I, and we weren’t that hungry to eat something fit for 4. So we settled with the Flying Tilapia with 3 Sauces (290 PHP), Honey-Garlic Pork Spareribs (235 PhP) and the Pinoy Nachos (75 PhP) as our appetizer.

The nachos looked better than it tasted. It was kamote and taro chips drizzled with melted kesong puti, keso de bola and tomato. When we ate it, all we tasted were taro chips. The queso de bola sauce was surprisingly bland since queso de bola is normally salty and piquant, and the kesong puti was sparse, with only around 5 small cubes of tomatoes. Fortunately, the main dishes were tastier than the appetizer.
Pinoy Nachos (75 PhP)

The fried tilapia came with three types of sauces: sweet chili garlic sauce, honey bagoong and pickled ampalaya & soy vinegar. We left the chili garlic sauce alone, as Martin preferred the honey bagoong, liking bagoong to begin with. I preferred the third sauce of pickled ampalaya and soy vinegar. As much as it sounds unappetizing, it was pretty tasty and reminded me of a soy-based dipping sauce that Chinese restaurants serve.
Flying Tilapia with 3 Sauces (290 PHP)

The honey-garlic pork spareribs was also delightful. Contrary to the Pinoy nachos, this dish tasted better than it looks. The boneless pork ribs were simply placed in a white bowl. What brought it to a different level was their secret honey garlic sauce, which gave a tangy sweetness to the meat. Thankfully, this also didn’t seem too high on fat since the transparent sauce around it came from sticky honey, and not from oil-based sauces like adobo.
Honey-Garlic Pork Spareribs (235 PhP)

All in all, this resto has clean, no-frills comfort food, with an ambience perfect for barkada gatherings or quiet, intimate dinners. Check out this place for a new dining facet in Tomas Morato. Oh, and props to foodie Noni Mercado for giving me first dibs on this resto lead several months ago!

Menu below. Click to magnify.

Romulo Cafe
Scout Tuason cor. Sct. Dr. Lazcano
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 332-7275
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm


4.5 out of 5 stars

Sinn’s is named after the proprietor of the restaurant, Tomas Sinn, who is also the owner of another award-winning restaurant, Blue Danube. This restaurant is located at the new trendy Wembley Square Centre, where it takes the elegance of fine dining and makes it more approachable by offering affordable prices and professional, friendly service. It actually reminds me of Serendra or Bonifacio High Street Area, where it is newer, smaller and a little more edgy as compared to the VA Waterfront of Cape Town that could be likened to Greenbelt. The concept behind this restaurant is to have it capture the ambience of an upmarket inner city hotspot. It was very successful because of its location, where Wembley Square is located within an industrial site, sort of like NY’s meatpacking district, as well as its interiors with its geometric light fixtures, metal columns and walls layered with wood, mirror and slate.

When at Sinn’s, one should also try the Sbar (adjoining the restaurant), where this cocktail lounge offers tapas style snacks and a wide range of classic cocktails and boutique style wines. After your delicious meal, one can go to Sinn’s Deli beside the Sbar, where you can get fresh bread or tapenades to bring home to your loved ones. They also do they do free wine tastings here every Friday from 5-8pm.

We started with a Rocket Salad with Crispy Bacon and Pecorino (R 65 / 387.89 PhP). The salad was really tasty, tossed with a light vinaigrette dressing, as well as generous amounts of bacon, pecorino shavings, herbed croutons, cherry tomato halves and alfalfa sprouts. Their alfalfa sprouts look different from ours since the seeded ends are dark, but the taste is very much the same. Rocket leaves are basically arugula, so it is very spicy and nutty and are great raw as salad leaves. Overall though, I think what made this dish delicious was the addition of bacon and cheese. You can’t really go wrong with that, and adding these to a nutritious salad makes the salad more than just tolerable, but enjoyable.
Rocket Salad with Crispy Bacon and Pecorino (R 65 / 387.89 PhP)

For main, we had two Grilled Prawns (R 99 / 590.78 PhP), Fillet of Salmon (R 119 / 710.13 PhP) and Prime Aged Karan Beef Sirloin (R 99 / 590.78 PhP). All were beautifully decorated, but the Grilled Prawns were the least attractive, even if it did have an interesting flavor. Taking from Indian influence, it was basically eight prawns served with a light curry sauce and curried basmati rice. It tasted better than it looked, though, and was very light and healthy, where the shrimps did not drown in the rich yellow curry sauce.
Grilled Prawns (R 99 / 590.78 PhP)

The Fillet of Salmon was grilled to perfection and served on a whole grain mustard mash and Hollandaise sauce. It was decorated with the same black sesame lavash as in the prawns, forest mushrooms, beet chips and a protea flower, Africa’s national flower. This dish may be even more luscious and fatty than the prawns, as the hollandaise was poured all over the base of the plate.
Fillet of Salmon (R 119 / 710.13 PhP)

I liked my Prime Aged Karan Beef Sirloin the best. You had a choice of rösti (German/Austrian potato patties) or French fries and a selection of these sauces: wild porcini mushroom, Dijon mustard, garlic butter or red wine. I chose the rösti with red wine sauce. Karan beef is basically an integrated beef production organisation in Africa, much like America’s USDA. The steak was juicy medium well, and sopped up the red wine sauce beautifully. It came with a side of porcini mushrooms, 3 rösti patties and a whole grilled onion. The meaty taste of the steak, with the creamy mushroom side order, piquant flavor of the red wine and the sweetness of the onion woke up all the taste sensations in my mouth. Not only was there a good flavor explosion but also a combination of texture, with a thoughtful touch of crispy string sweet potatoes on top as garnish.
Prime Aged Karan Beef Sirloin (R 99 / 590.78 PhP)

Sinn’s is not only a great dive to eat in, but is also cool to be seen in. I would head back to this restaurant in a heartbeat next time I’d take a trip to Cape Town!

Menu. Click below to magnify.

Wembley Square
McKenzie Street
Cape Town, South Africa
Open from 9 am to 11 pm

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