As an avid reader of food and lifestyle blogs (fine, mostly food), I was wont to try some of the restaurants they recommend. Last Sunday, I met up with the usual suspects, Jerome & Pat, as well as some not-so-usual suspects (Paula & Ceres) to sample some of the fares these blogs raved about.
I am aware that there might be a difference in quality on what is served to popular food bloggers vs normal people, or if you’re getting your food for free (some of them get free food which in return gives the resto free publicity), you may not be as unbiased when judging it. Well, I’m neither a popular food blogger and I paid for everything with the meager wages of an outsourced employee.
Our first stop– sans Paula and Ceres– was the New Zealand film festival in Shangri La Mall. I usually don’t go to Shangri La except for special circumstances like free movies. After we watched “Whale Rider” (I have another entry planned for the movie review, calm yo tits), we went over to Megamall Bldg A in search of the Japanese tea kiosk Akiba Cafe. Some foodies swear by their signature trifle drinks, so that’s what we ordered.
Jerome went for the Matcha Trifle Tea, if I remember correctly, and Pat went for the Chai Trifle Tea. Since I barely had enough sleep, I went for the coffee-based variant of the trifle family, the Signature Trifle Kohi.
Signature Trifle Kohi
Since the waiter recommended we don’t stir the drink so we can get “the full trifle experience”, we sipped
daintily at our respective drinks and had a unanimous reaction: The creamy trifle top was too sweet. It was supposed to be a bit salty, but I hardly got a taste of that. It wasn’t bad, really, but reading through the reviews from foodie blogs, I expected to hear a choir of angels upon my first sip. Pat’s Chai drink was better than mine. I recommend you buy this if you want to try out their trifle drinks.
The upside is that there are free cake slivers (not really big enough to be considered ‘slices’, but just enough to pair with the drinks) for each drink. Considering the drinks only costs PHP100 each for the large size, that’s very sulit. The staff were all very nice too. They even let me eat my Spam Jam meal on the premises. (Spam Jam was directly at the back of Akiba.)
We then skedaddled to BGC to meet-up with Ceres and Paula. Our restaurant of choice was Chef’s Lab in Burgos Circle. We wanted test tube drinks, damn it! We were there before the dinner rush crowd, so we had the whole second floor to ourselves. This resulted in unrestricted behavior, such as singing along loudly to Boyz II Men and dancing to… Boyz II Men. I think they played the whole discography!
Trollface was exactly how I looked like that day.
I just had a meal at Spam Jam, but as soon as the Shrimp Mango Salad arrived– this was recommended by someone I know in real life, and not a random blogger on the internet– the first bite made me hungry again! It was so good! It had tinapa bits and it all came together with the shrimp and the mango. Best dish of the bunch, in my opinion. It was a bit pricey, around PHP300++, but there were five of us sharing anyway.
Shrimp Mango Salad
For our main dishes, we ordered the Pork and Chicken Adobo and Lechon Sisig. The pork used in the adobo was the rib part and the chicken is stuffed with rice. Nonetheless, the dish was just so-so. I probably wouldn’t order it again. My mother’s garlicky adobo is so much better. I liked the Lechon Sisig, it was crunchy and tasty and without the mayo that popular chains drizzle their sisig with. As a Kapampangan, I would not stand for mayonnaise on my sisig! Ew. Anyway, I reckon the Lechon Sisig would be awesome as pulutan. Both the adobo and sisig are of the PHP200++ price range. I think the sisig is a bit cheaper.
Pork & Chicken Adobo
After the meal, we had our test tube drinks served. The way they named the sets was fun. We ordered the It’s Complicated set (PHP188 for the entire set), which is a mix of the Love Set and Friendship Set. Get it? 😉 The other sets were named along the same themes but I’m pretty sure one of them wasn’t called “Fuck Buddies”, which is what comes to mind now when I try to recall the name of the third set.
It's Complicated Set = Love + Friendship
The test tubes contained the vodka (with gummy worms). We paid an additional PHP50++ for Stolichnaya, because that’s what Anton from OAP recommended. It was worth it; I hate Antonov vodka. The Erlenmeyer flasks contained the “potions” (chasers). The darker red one was the Love Potion, but Ceres, Paula and I liked the Friendship potion better. It tastes like liquid apple pie and went well with the vodka.
I LOVE this people. They're my good FRIENDS. But IT'S never COMPLICATED among us. Whaaat? #leaveityeah #DFI
We decided to have dessert elsewhere
for more foursquare check-in points because we fancied nothing from Chef’s Lab dessert menu. Burgos Circle is not lacking in the way of dessert choices, but we wanted somewhere we haven’t tried before so we settled on Bar Dolci. It is primarily a sweets cafe with a few savory items on their menu. The interior of the store, especially the second floor, was ideal for lounging around (there’s free wifi). It is even a good place to hang out in big groups; there are areas for that at the second floor (read: long couches!).
We were all pulled in by their gelato selection thought I want to try their macarons next time. I read belatedly that they have one of the best ones in Manila. You can ask for free tastes of the different gelato flavors, and you better take your sweet time deciding on the flavor(s) you’re going to get because the small cup is PHP120. I was satisfied with the small cup though, they allow you to combine two different flavors and don’t scrimp on the scoop.
(Front) Mine was Ferrero + White Chocolate Wasabi; (Back) Jerome got Salted Caramel + Pistachio*
*not sure if it was Pistachio or French Vanilla or something else
Except for me and Pat, who got the exact same thing, we got different flavors. I loved loved LOVED the Ferrero gelato, with the Hazelnut a close second. I tried the White Choco Wasabi for something different, and I enjoyed it in contrast to the heavy Ferrero gelato. Salted Caramel was good too, but probably better if paired with something lighter. Next time, I will try the Thai Tea and Eggnog! Maybe not together though. Also, I’d like to write on the walls, which they allow their customers to do.
And then it was off to Heckle and Jeckle for me, Jerome, and Ceres to watch Arsenal thrash Spurs while drinking hot tea. I mean, we drank hot tea, not the Arsenal players. No beer for us this time, we were too full already!
P.S. Apologies for the crappy pictures. I only had my android phone with me, and it takes such awful pics in low lighting.
P.P.S I know that I’m supposed to write about my Singapore trip before this entry, but I’m having trouble condensing that entry and choosing which pics to include.